Arrival

Day 17: Televisions and Kitchenware

The weekend had arrived. It was time to go through some of the seemingly final errands to be settled in. Now my bank account set up, and my maintenance cheque was cleared, so I could and purchase those last few things. The previous day, I’d purchased my television licence and bicycle insurance, so I endeavoured to go out and purchase for myself a new television. I went past the bank, to fix up an issue with my bank card. Whilst walking into the bank, I checked the exchange rates on the wall. I was perplexed by the number. Pre-Brexit, the rate would have been about 1 GBP buys 2 AUD. Post-Brexit, I’d been used to numbers around 1 GBP buys 1.7-1.8 AUD. But today, the number started with 1.6. I was quite confused by this, but a quick lookup confirmed it was correct: pound sterling had crashed further. Seeing as I have not yet transferred my Australian funds to pound sterling, this is short-term good news for me, especially compared to the position pre-Brexit. Long term, perhaps not so much, as my economic position is now directly tied to the UK.

Nonetheless, I carried on, heading up to John Lewis to browse new televisions. I ended up with a 22″ Samsung smart-TV, at the bottom end of the range of televisions. Given where I wanted to put it in my room, it was just right for what I wanted. I carried it home, unboxed it, and set it up in the corner. Turning it on, I browsed through the seemingly endless number of channels available.

Soon after everything was set up, I settled down to watch the international football match between England and Malta, a world cup qualifier. Here, I wanted to support Malta, because as an Australian its always satisfying to see England loose, and to support the underdog, but given that England is 9th and Malta is 157th in the Elo rankings (being far more predictive than the official FIFA rankings), it was almost a foregone conclusion. Nonetheless, I was quite surprised as Malta’s defence stonewalled, and England played it around the forward third but struggled to get a decent shot away. In the end, the 2-0 result balanced the strength of the English side with the performance of Malta’s defence.

It being Saturday, the college kitchens are not open for dinner, so I endeavoured to make myself a simple bowl of spaghetti bolognese. I didn’t have any of the ingredients, so I rode into town to visit Sainsbury’s. In Cambridge, Sainsbury’s is in the centre of town and in the ground floor of a number of old-style buildings, that have been adjoined. Hence, the floor space is a lot smaller than the typical supermarket. I found the mince, spaghetti and sauce easily. However, I needed a saucepan in which to brown the meat, and a pot to cook the spaghetti, my accommodation came with neither. But though I could find oven trays and casserole pots, I could find no pots or pans. I left, googled the next-nearest supermarket, and rode out to Waitrose, to the east of the city, near the Grafton centre. But when I arrived, I discovered that this was a Little Waitrose, something halfway between a convenience store and a supermarket. It had no pots or pans either.

Getting somewhat desperate, I tried again. The next-nearest supermarket was a Tesco, a further 5 minute ride. When I arrived, I discovered that it was a large superstore. The sheer size of it made a typical Bunnings store look small. It combined everything you could find in a supermarket, with everything you would find in Target and more as well. Whilst searching for the pots and pans, I discovered the spreads isle, and consequently stocked up with a supply of Vegemite. I eventually did find the pans, and stocked up with enough such that I didn’t need to ride out there for a while again. I stuffed everything into my bag, and rode back home around the river.

I walked back into Gwen Raverat House, and as I unpacked my new purchases, I heard noise from upstairs: there was a welcome party organised in the kitchen upstairs. I finished unpacking, and ventured up and mingled with yet more people. Some keen cooks had brought food, rendering my requirement to cook spaghetti later moot. After socialising, I retired to my room for a quite late-evening.

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