We arrived in the UK last Tuesday and after a couple of hours in London calling on friends and walking around Trafalgar and St James’s Park we took an evening train to Plymouth.
My son Edward is also with me because he is going to do his BA in English Literature here at Marjon and we are both staying on campus. The staff of the International Department at Marjon gave us a very warm welcome and they have been really helpful in these first days of adaptation. We have already got our way around the campus and the departments, sorted out the settling in tasks and have already started to enjoy a bit of the city life.
Last Friday we visited the Hoe and the Promenade. These are the seafront areas of Plymouth where the famous lighthouse stands and where there is an impressive monument to all the Navy troops who fought in the First and the Second World Wars. It was here that Sir Frances Drake played bowls while waiting for the Spanish Armada!! The area is now a huge park overlooking the sea and it was created in Victorian times. The view of the bay is simply breathtaking. We also visited St Andrews Cathedral. The original church was built in medieval times but the whole of the city centre was bombarded during The Blitz in the WWII and the Cathedral was almost completely destroyed. Few parts of the original building remain, but the people of Plymouth did not surrender and started rebuilding it even before the end of the war.
Last Saturday we went to the Barbican. The Barbican is the historical part of the city where Drake and Raleigh once weighed anchor and it is now the marina. It was from the Barbican Steps that the Mayflower left England taking the Pilgrim Fathers to America. It is full of pubs and quaint little speciality shops selling antiques, jewellery, pottery and paintings. It also hosts an Elizabethan house which first belonged to a prosperous Plymouth citizen. The house has undergone restoration work and is now a period house open to the public. We wrapped up the visit to the Barbican with a pub meal of fantastic British homemade food in The Navy, the oldest pub in the area.
I’m looking forward to meeting the other Hornby Scholars – there will be five of us this year at Marjon – and I’m also looking forward to meeting my tutor and starting my studies. Certainly, I will not have much time available for travelling around but we are determined to get to know as much of the country as we can and make the most of our new “British way of life”.