Wednesday, March 31, 2010

There's no place like home...

...even though it's snowing at the moment. Last week I was in England and June was busting out all over the place. Below is a picture of the daffodils blooming on the banks of the river Cam while my best buddy Sandor and I went punting.

Sandor is the big brother I never had. I've known him for almost 10 years and we have this funny tradition that we always go to Cambridge when I'm in the UK. We generally go punting, and then to Evensong at King's, and sometimes wind down with a coffee and CD perusal at Borders, but now that all the Borders bookshops in the UK have gone out of business, that part didn't happen. Sigh.

Now I'm back in my cozy mountains, the week before Easter, and it's snowing. At least I have a good reason to drink the leftover peppermint hot chocolate from Christmas. I've spent the last two days since we got back putzing around, getting the house back in order, and generally getting comfy at home again while catching up on some sleep.

Whilst puttering, I was catching up on one of my favorite podcasts, In Our Time. Melvyn Bragg may not be the most energetic guy in radio, but dang, he's brilliant. The episode I just listened to was on Boudica, who used to be known as Bodicea, but I guess that's changed recently. She is this amazing, mythical (and possibly real) woman who led tribes of Britons against the Romans in AD 60-61. She sacked Colchester, Roman London, and St. Albans where she was finally defeated. Throughout the centuries she's been used by Queens like Elizabeth I to show the strength and power of the British.

Speaking of British History, I've been spending a lot of time reading the Henry III Fine Rolls Project - a giant list of concessions, payments and petitions to the King from 1216-1272. It's a little window into what people wanted from their King, and just the type of admin-type of work that was done on a day to day basis. For example, on 16 November 1226, the Sherriff of Leicestershire was ordered to answer the king for a forfeiture of 10 pounds in which Robert Butler fell by judgement of his county court for the unjust vexation he made against the abbot of Croxton, Oh what I wouldn't give to be a fly on the wall in that meeting. It blows my mind to think that 800 years ago people were just going about their business the same way we are today. We tend to think of people eight centuries ago as foreigners, aliens, not people we'd have much in common with. But I think we would have a lot to talk about with those folks, and the juicy gossip of whatever Robert Butler said about the abbott of Croxton.

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