Wednesday was a packed day. I woke up very early in order to catch the eight o'clock bus to town so I could catch the 8.45 train to London Waterloo (this is one of the big stations in London, for those of you who don't know). It was so foggy when I left the house that the sun was just a gold disc in the sky and you could look straight at it without even blinking, but even as I was standing there watching, it began to burn through (Salisbury is in a river valley, hence the fog). I got on the train about ten minutes before it was due to leave, which was nice, because it meant I could find myself a nice seat. I was facing backwards, but I don't mind that, too much. I prefer to face the way the train is going, but it's not like I'll be sick if that doesn't happen.
I was going to write some more of Watching for Wolves on the way up, but I ended up chatting with the lady sitting next to me. It turned out she also lived in Salisbury, in Exeter Street, so she had a view from the Cathedral Close on one side of the house. She asked me if I was artistic and when I said "yes" (because I suppose I am), she said that I had an 'artistic look' about me, which rather intrigued me, because I wasn't exactly dressed artistically since I was going to an interview. Then we basically talked about art (she'd just come to it late in life, after being the odd one out in an artistic family), the Tate Modern and she gave me the website address of a young girl who does these huge, beautiful abstract paintings. She was going to have tea at The Ritz (yes, that Ritz), so I looked up some other places she and her friend could visit. Since The Ritz is in Mayfair, there were a lot of museums. She wished me luck with my interview when we got off the train and I thanked her and said I hoped she had a nice day. It was an interesting encounter, serendipitous almost.
Since I'd already checked out the street on Monday, I knew exactly where I had to go, and I was a bit early, but they didn't seem to mind. (Bob Marley lived on the street in 1978, there's a plaque there to prove it!) They're in a residential Victorian townhouse, so it's all plush carpets, long staircases, thin corridors and high ceilings. It's a tiny company, only three full-timers, but Marie and Nina, who interviewed me, seemed very nice (Nina especially, and she's the one I'd be working with if I got the job). They interviewed me about my BA (which led to a big discussion about being in Madrid when the bombs went off) and my MA. They asked me why I was applying for this job when I could be working in Brussels or somewhere else. (I wanted to snort and ask them if they had any idea about actually working as a translator.) I told them that any translation agency or company wants a minimum of 3 years' working experience and that it's very difficult to get that, that I enjoy proof-reading and I want to expand my skills. Not sure if this was the right answer or not, but it seemed to work. They gave me a paper to proof-read, which I did (and given that I'd only had one hour of sleep the previous night, I think I did pretty well). After that, they told me that they'd let me know by Friday if they wanted me to come up for the second interview, which was good, because I hate waiting for that kind of thing.
Then I met up with jo_blogs and we went for lunch at the Brunswick Centre. We'd been there for lunch a month before, but this time, as it was the two of us and we both like to try new food, we went to the Giraffe restaurant. Price-wise, it's not too bad and I had the special smoothie (papaya, passion fruit, strawberry and banana). The passion fruit just about managed to stop the banana from being overpowering (I can't eat bananas, never could, they always make me gag). Dogstar had cranberry juice (which is another drink I love). We both had salads (she had green, I had Caesar with grilled salmon as an extra, very nice). We then shared a dessert. I was more impressed with the food than she was, but she has very high standards (we think it's the French genes).
After that, it was time to go and see Equus. Yes, Daniel-Radcliffe-naked Equus. I read it yonks ago when I was still in secondary school and taking drama lessons and still remembered a few scenes and lines from back then, so I already knew what it was about. It was very strange to watch Daniel come on stage at first, so I kept my eyes on Richard Griffiths, who was so at ease on the stage that it was a pleasure to watch and listen to him. Once Daniel actually began to speak (instead of sing) his lines, I really became absorbed in the play. I think it helps that he knows Richard quite well, I'm not sure he'd have the same chemistry with another actor (which is not a comment on his acting skills). Now he's not hampered by playing Harry (and after watching him in this, I can't help thinking that role hampers him), you can take notice of his intensity and those amazing blue eyes. He's nicely toned for the part, especially in his back, but considering he's always hoisting himself up onto boxes for the part, that's understandable. I also liked the girl (she's much prettier than in the photos). As for the naked scene, I shall simply say that it was nice to see actors with body hair and that you forgot they were naked after a while, because it's very intense. I would certainly recommend it for those who are curious, as pretty much everyone is excellent. Plus, the men who play the horses must have incredible stamina to wear those masks and hooves. Afterwards, we went to a café nearby, where I had some cake (for the first time in ages) and talked about the play and Harry Potter.
And then I went to Waterloo and got the train home and actually wrote a bit on the way, because talking with Dogstar always inspires me to write.
Another early rise, as it was my graduation day (for my MA). We were left the house at ten past eight, which wasn't bad, considering. Unfortunately, I had no idea where the robing was taking place (there was nothing in the e-mail), so when I got dropped off at the Cathedral, I had to run all the way down hill to the other end of the campus because the robing was taking place in Austin Pearce (which is where I had the majority of my translation classes as you may remember). I got robed (forgot to print out my e-mail but had my photo confirmation, so everything was okay in the end), said hello to Clare, Katherine and Anne, who were also getting robed, then had my photo taken. Then I made my way back up to the cathedral and took my seat. It was good to see everyone again, although strange. I had to sit next to Tala, which was amusing, because we never had much to say to each other. It was nice to sit next to Andrea and be near Alice, though, Alice especially, because she was always so nice and I wanted to know what was happening in her life. She has a boyfriend now, a French one, which made me feel a bit envious (because I'm lazy enough to want a foreign boyfriend from the language aspect). I met him after the ceremony and he was nice. The ceremony itself was a bit of a mess, because the organist was stuck in a traffic jam, so everything happened in silence. It was only at the end that the music started as we all filed out.
I did finally manage to get to talk to Laura when we went outside and feel smug about her getting a Distinction, as I'd told her she would and she'd poo-poo'd the idea. I felt a bit down about Clare, Katherine, Claire and Anne getting a distinction, but then Nick didn't get one and he's lived in France since he was ten. Alice got a Merit as well, so I felt happy. I'm a competitive procrastinator, not a good combination: I feel irritated when people do better than me when I have no one but myself to blame. But I didn't feel envious about Laura, which was good. We all grouped together while Vassilis took photographs and then we finally got to throw our mortarboards in the air, which was fantastic, as I didn't get to do that at my undergraduate graduation ceremony (on the other hand, that was in Canterbury Cathedral and the weather was gorgeous, so it's swings and roundabouts). It was great to catch up with Laura: she doesn't have a job either, so we felt better about our mutual jobless condition - I get the feeling her mum nags her about this as much as mine does, since that was the first question her mother asked me! Laura's parents decided to walk into town, so I collected my parents and we all walked down to the PATS* building (as I was the only one who knew where it was: parents didn't know, obviously, and Laura only had a vague idea). We'd thought it would be a small informal party for just us translation students, but all these other people turned up as well, and the building really wasn't big enough to hold them all. Plus, the buffet wasn't exactly amazing (I know, I'm fussy). There was supposed to be prize-giving, but nobody had any clue about who was getting the prize. On top of all this, my period declared its arrival with that horrible tight feeling. Fortunately, I had an ST and there was only a tiny bloodstain. I stood outside with Laura while she smoked a cigarette (she rolls her own) and we talked about how the job market sucks. Then we headed inside and they finally gave out the prizes. Claire got one and I was happy for her; but I was also annoyed because she's an extremely talented translator and where is she working? A BANK. It's a waste. James got one, because he's a smarty-pants (Laura really wished he hadn't, because she thinks he went around the whole year rubbing people's faces in the fact he went to Oxford, but I think that's just because he's socially awkward). After the prizes were given out and I'd congratulated Susannah (who shares my birthday), Claire and James, I left with my parents and Laura, because we couldn't wait to get out of our robes (our colours kept slipping down our shoulders, which was very annoying).
After divesting ourselves of the things, we put on our coats with relief (it was very windy because the university's on a hill) and my parents drove Laura into town (because she was meeting her parents there and what was the point of her walking when we were going in the same direction?). The car park we normally use was full, so we had to park up by the train station and walk in. This made us late for our lunch appointment, but Laura found the street where her family were apparently waiting, so that was all right. And fortunately, Café de Paris had kept a table for us. I was annoyed that I couldn't enjoy the meal as much as I normally would have enjoyed it, but Mum and Dad were messing around and acting like kids, which made me laugh (Dad kept rocking the table and pretending that it wasn't him, very juvenile, but very funny). After that, we went home. It was a bit anticlimactic, I suppose, but I was happy to see everyone and catch up. Nick's in Switzerland, teaching (he and Susannah are still together, and I'm happy for them).
*PATS = Performing Arts Technology Studio
And finally, the BIG news: yesterday, the translation agency phoned me back and they want me to come in for the second interview! YES! SECOND INTERVIEW, BABY! I couldn't quite believe they'd asked me back. I was preparing myself for the inevitable rejection. But I have a second interview, next Thursday at 11.30am! My parents were incredibly proud of me and I am incredibly proud of me! XD I can't help but think that meeting that woman on the train was a good omen somehow. Soo... anybody interested in meeting me for lunch afterwards? *lol* I can't stay too long, obviously, because it's Maundy Thursday and London will be crazy with people leaving for the Easter Bank Holiday, but I can stay for a couple of hours. :)