Monday, 17 June 2013

A well earned night out and reflections on week 1

It has been a fantastic week to introduce us to Sheffield and some of the countryside around, but I think everyone was looking forward to the weekend for a night out and more crucially a sleep in. Night life in Sheffield on a Friday night was great, busy, vibrant and no one letting the rain or cold tell them that it isn’t actually Summer. One noticeable difference being that to get dinner anywhere after eight was a challenge, I take it for granted coming from Melbourne that you can get a meal well into the night. Of course to compensate for not being able to get dinner past half six, you can of course just continue to sample the local ale. Perhaps by my second week I can move on from only being able to finish a half.

Our visit to Chatsworth House was wonderful and was everything I would have expected of an old country house. The house and the surrounding gardens were glorious. The details in the guest bedrooms were really interesting and to be a guest in such a house would be incredible. Though it is generous to allow people to traipse through the house and have the opportunity to admire their extensive art collection and furnishings, I would have loved to be able to see where the staff that worked in the house would have lived, and the real guts of the house like the kitchen. I would like to link this to my love of history, but in all honesty I have probably just watched too many period dramas. Continuing this thought there was a small part of me that was disappointed that Mr. Darcy didn’t come riding over the hilltops to rescue me from the rain…hmm.

Also took the tram out to the infamous Meadowhall, not the most exciting place to go while in a strange city as you can shop at home, but the tram ride out to this shopping centre was interesting in itself. The view from the tram was more consistent with my preconceptions of Sheffield than any other parts of the city I have seen. It was difficult to picture Sheffield as a whole before arrival, and to imagine what will still remain of the industrial city. As you travel along in the tram you can see small industrial sites, waste lands and mass produced housing. Even though I have now seen this different side of Sheffield, I know that the beautiful buildings of the Town Hall, Sheffield University and the Cathedral are much more likely to be the images that I associate with the city I have become so fond of.

My group visited Kelham Island for a second time in order to decide on some sites for our project. Returning to this area at a different time of day, for us it was early evening, and also how much more aware you are of your surroundings on a deeper level than the first most obvious attractions. Taking time to walk around an area and see how it looks, feels and is used by locals while you have time to soak it all in is an valuable experience. This visit made me much more fond of the area than I had been on our previous brief visit; even if I did meet the first rude Northerner…though perhaps he was visiting from another town!
- Stephanie Chiswell (Bachelor of Arts, Sociology and History)


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