May, You’ve Done Me Good

It’s May and I’ve done it. I’ve completed three years at university studying for my English degree. It feels like I’ve reached this point far quicker than I ever imagined. It’s a cliché, but the day I moved to Liverpool in September 2014 honestly feels like it was yesterday. Although saying that, I am happy these three years are drawing to their end. Not because I haven’t enjoyed my time here, it’s definitely been a fun three years, however, I feel like I’m ready to move on. Move on to what? I’m still unsure, but I’m ready for the next phase of my life.

the alchemMy last assignments were submitted a couple of weeks ago, so now it is just a waiting game to distinguish exactly what level of degree I am leaving Liverpool with. However, that is not something I am thinking about just yet. I am simply happy to have a free mind and so much free time to relax and do what I want to do, without the pressures of assignments. Luckily for me, the end of my degree has tied in with my 22nd birthday. I have not been out a lot during third year so a night out was one hundred per cent needed. Since going out is a rare occasion, I thought it was only right to go to The Alchemist for a meal and cocktails. If you have been there before then you will understand what I mean when I say it is a beautiful place. – in all areas: aesthetics, food, drinks, people.

Following that, we went to one of my favourite night time destinations in Liverpool: Mathew St. And, I am fully confident now that I have been to every pub/bar/club that is down that street. – well, that is apart from the Cavern Club. (what kind of student residing in Liverpool has not been to the most famous drinking establishment in the city? Really. I’m such a sorry excuse for a student) I’m confident, however, I will get to the Cavern Club before I leave Liverpool for good. So, Mathew St was great. I highly recommend it if you want to be away from the student populated night life. Although, a lot of the time the lack of students is replaced with tourists. So, I guess it’s all about preferences.

sister actAs well as celebrating my birthday in Liverpool I also went home for a few days. I went to see Sister Act, a musical directed and choreographed by Craig Revel Horwood, at the theatre in Stoke. Which was honestly so good. I didn’t know what to expect, when you’ve watched the original films so often it’s sometimes hard to separate the characters from the original actors (i.e Whoopi Goldberg). However, the cast behind the Sister Act musical were fab, so thankfully I didn’t find myself making comparisons between the portrayal of the characters in the film and the musical.

Following my birthday celebrations, I also had my English Graduation Ball, at the Bluecoat Chambers. I wasn’t going to attend this as it didn’t sound like something that I would enjoy. However, a few of us decided ‘I’ll go if you go’. So, naturally, I found myself attending the ball. It was an enjoyable night with course friends, prosecco, a three-course meal, dancing, moreball 1 prosecco, a photo booth…oh and more prosecco. It has been so long since we’ve had a chance to dress up nicely, that it was great to have an excuse to make a bit more an effort than the usual jeans and trainers. Though, by the end of the night, and when I found myself sat in a tequila bar, shot in hand, I was majorly regretting not wearing flat shoes. Nevertheless, it was a great night and just shows that although I may think something will be… meh, it can turn out to be enjoyable. So, mental note taken for the next time I have doubts about an event or the like.

Well, that’s been my life over the last month or so. – I’ve completed university, I’ve turned 22 and I had a couple of enjoyable nights out. I have had a great May, however, now that I have finished I am finding myself with little to do. I am currently working one day a week on an internship…which I realise I haven’t spoken too much about, so maybe that’ll be a future post. And, although I am working for that day, the rest of the weeks have been a mission to fill, which hasn’t been made easy with the terrible weather. However, I have been productive, and I have planned the best week ahead. I will not go into detail about this yet, as I will save this for a future post. So, keep your eyes peeled, and i’ll leave you with these fantastic pictures from my solo, drunken trip to the photo booth at the grad ball.

photo booth 1

Until next time…

x

So much history…

I am going to use this post to talk about a separate project I am currently working on. Usually I would not blur the lines between my personal blog and the blogging I do for university. However, it is a project that I enjoy taking part in, and it has taken up much of my life, so it would be wrong not to have it mentioned here.

This project is called Writing Lives. It is a module on my English course at Liverpool John Moore’s University. The aim of this project is to make working-class autobiographies available to the public. To do this, each student is required to pick an author from the Burnett Archive of Working-Class Autobiographies and write weekly posts regarding the author’s writing and life experiences. I have an interest in the first world war, so I made it my mission when searching through the archives to find an author who talked about their experiences of the war. As a result of this search I came across a man called Walter John Eugene Elliott (1890 – 1977). Who, to my excitement, served in the first world war 1914-1918 and had a lot to talk about regarding his experiences in the war.

Following my selection of Walter’s ‘Untitled’ memoirs, I spent a great portion of my time researching his family history and where he grew up. Luckily, he provided a lot of detail of his family ancestry prior to beginning his written memoirs. However, what I was really intrigued about was the family he did not list, the family that came after him, his children,
and grandchildren. This is because I was eager to find photographs of Walter and some more information about him that he did not necessarily divulge in his memoirs. Unfortunately, this search has not been of great success, I am yet to find a living relative of Walter. However, I am continuing to research aspects of his life that are mentioned inCaroline-Place-c1948-Royal-Oak-Hotel-awaiting-normal-demolition. his memoirs. For example, Walter goes into detail about some of his hobbies as a young adult. He names a hotel where he spent Wednesday evenings attending the Hastings Bird Club. I have from this come across a website that features many old photographs of the Hastings area and found a photograph of this hotel in the 1940’s.

I wanted to talk about this project here, on this blog, for two reasons. One, I wanted this project to reach an even wider audience that would not necessarily stumble across it otherwise. This is because I find a project like this to be so vital to our history in the United Kingdom. We often hear about the big events and the famous people, but why only them? These working-class autobiographies provide an insight in to the everyday, and how most people lived their lives at various points in history. Therefore, surely these accounts of life are just as important, if not more important, than the accounts of those who were considered remarkable and exceptional.

The second reason why I wanted to talk about this project is because it has led me to become more interested in my own family history, and where I came from. Thus, over the last few months, I have carried out research into my own heritage. I have always been intrigued in ancestry but I never believed I would get much further than my grandparents. This was mainly because I was unaware just how many sources are available to an amateur researcher. By this I mean I did not realise what I could access from my bedroom, using only my computer: from census, to marriage records, it is all available to us! It was the Writing Lives Project that opened my eyes to all of this “hidden” information. I began to realise how easy it is for me, and everyone else, to access the documentation needed to trace my family footsteps. Granted, there are some documents that you either cannot access or you need permission to access, but what there is out there is plentiful. Therefore, I wanted to bring this to light for those that were, like myself, also unaware of all the information available at our fingertips.

family tre

Researching real people, whether they be connected to you or not, is an extremely satisfying and rewarding process. I know many people myself who have considered researching their family history, but have believed it would be a fruitless task. So I know for sure many of you reading this will believe that too. However, I assure you, it is not! I therefore encourage you to take this journey, to discover where you have come from, if you have not already done so. You may find some fascinating stories, from your own history, and I promise you, it will not be a wasted effort!

  • You can find all my posts on Walter John Eugene Elliott here on the Writing Lives website
  • Check out my Writing Lives Twitter page for all the latest updates regarding my research on Walter, or check out the Writing Lives website Twitter page for updates on the project as a whole.
  • If you would like any advice or information as to how to go about beginning your own search, please don’t hesitate, contact me!

Until next time…

x

Such a Cliché

everybody’s journey is different, and everything happens for a reason.

I am coming up to the final couple of months of my university experience so understandably I am feeling a little bit reflective. I cannot help but look back over my three years of university and acknowledge both, what I have and have not achieved during my time here.

I started my university experience in 2014, moving from a relatively quiet rural town in Shropshire to the lively city of Liverpool. It was a big step, but one I am whole heartedly glad I took. Liverpool John Moore’s was not necessarily my first choice when I began looking at universities, in fact it was probably the last university I considered. However, from my first visit to the city I loved it. And I am glad to say that adoration for the city has continued throughout my time here.

When I think back to how I have spent the last couple of years though, I cannot help but feel a little bit of regret that I did not take advantage of the location more. I spent most my first year drunk, or hungover, and wrapped up in the freedom of doing next to nothing after the stress of A Levels, that I failed to immerse myself in what Liverpool had to offer – And my second year was hardly any different. Though, I did begin to explore the city further than my usual attendance to Concert Square three times a week, but in hindsight I do not feel I explored enough.

I feel that since September, in my final year, I have really come into my own though. Through putting drinking and nights out on the back burner I have discovered a whole new side to myself and to university life. I have immersed myself in my studies far more this year than I ever did in the previous two years. I have visited attractions and explored more of what the city has to offer – it definitely helps that I brought my car with me this year! I have also began thinking about my future, and where my life is going, something that I have heavily avoided for most of my life. As a result of all of this I managed to secure myself an internship, running the social media accounts and writing blogs for a small interior design company.

Even though when I think about my time at university I do hold some regrets over how I managed my time, I cannot help but feel pleased with the journey I have been on. After all, the clichés are always right: everybody’s journey is different, and everything happens for a reason.

Until next time…

x