I’m sitting in an internet cafe between the British Museum and Trafalgar Square. I’ve been strolling around this area for a bit, after having gone to the British Museum. The BM has too much stuff. I’m only moderately being facetious. It’s overwhelming to enter in there. It’s a daunting feeling realizing you could spend weeks there and not properly see all there is.
Of course I went directly to the European and Medieval exhibits. I have now seen the Sutton Hoo helm from 6 inches away. Hopefully, they can clean my drool from the glass case. It’s not like any of us have not seen it but it is a little magical to see it that closely and really appreciate the detail. I’m planning on coming back again and looking at it again, but it was awesome to see.
I have to come back as I did not even see the Rosetta Stone. I simply walked through the Egyptian, Roman, and Greek exhibits to get to the Medieval one to see the Sutton Hoo exhibit. Did I mention there’s a lot of stuff.
I did make a tactical error. I went to the bookstore. There were several things that I’d been wanting and some stuff I hadn’t been aware of. I’ve already put all that I bought (a bunch of books and some souvenir stuff) in the post to send back home. It’s going by boat, so who knows how long that will take :).
The one souvenir thing I think I’m going back for is the Rosetta Stone puzzle 🙂
Three days into England. I’ve felt the dirt and grass where Anglo-Saxon England died and seen the exhibit of its greatest archaeological find. I’m not saying this to make any of you jealous, though many of you will be. I’m saying it because I still have to remind myself that this is really happening.
Thanks mom, dad, Irene, and Ed.
Well, I have successfully avoided the Sambuca for one evening.
Nevertheless, I’m still tipsy 😉
To those of you who said I might not like English ales because their warmer and flatter than what I’m used to, my liver regretfully informs you that’s not the case.
We went back to the Black Horse, by the way, and drank with Eddie and Mia’s friend Ian, who’s an absolute hoot. Their Rocky Horror Picture Show story is one to hear, so remember than Halv :).
Well, I’m off to bed.
Cheers, mates 🙂
PS: My luggage was delivered this morning, so I’m all set.
What a day. Eddie and I drove down to Battle to see the Hastings battlefield.
It was fantastic. Battle Abbey itself is very impressive. The shop is in the main wall, and the museum is over the main gate. The main building is now used as a school. Much of the old Abbey has fallen into ruin, but the buildings that remain are impressive. The Dormitory is a series of beautifully vaulted rooms. The Cistern is fascinating. The remains of the Chapter House, Chapel and Crypt are all neat as well. There’s a plaque where the original altar was built supposedly on the spot that Harold died. Incredible.
Eddie and I did the walk around the battlefield itself. The hill is substantial. Between the hill itself, the thick, high grass, and the Saxons, simply charging up the hill was an impressive feat. In the Bayeux Tapestry, there’s a second hill that Harold put some troops on. As I was standing in the field, I was looking but I couldn’t find it. The only thing that might have worked was on the other side of the battlefield from where I expected it to be. I asked a tour guide and he pointed right to where I had originally thought and said that there used to be a hill there but likely was quarried for stone to make the Abbey. That’s the hill they think is the one referred to on that panel. What was once a hill was moved up as a fortified abbey. Fascinating.
I have lots of pictures and as soon as I can I will be putting them on the web somewhere.
I bought a few things in the gift store, but I resisted the £80 tapestry showing the sailing scene from the Bayeux Tapestry. I thought about it, though 😉
The Abbey walls and trees shut off the field from the mundane world. Once into the field, you can’t see anything that isn’t medieval. However, it’s right next to a road and the front is right in the middle of the town. There are a series of shops and pubs and restaurants out in front. Eddie and I had a pint and he got the steak and ale pie while I went straight to dessert and didn’t pass Go by having the toffee pudding with toffee sauce. Delicious.
Anyway, the plan is to lounge about for a bit and then later hed on to the pub and meet with some of Eddie’s mates. I will not drink Sambuca tonight. I will not drink Sambuca tonight. I will not drink Sambuca tonight. At least I hope not 😉
The Win? I had a great time last night. We went to a real nice pub called the Black Horse and watch England in the World Cup. It was a great experience seeing true soccer fans in their element.
The Tie? The game was a great game, with lots of action, three great goals plus the game tying goal in the 89th minute, and a lot of drama. In the end, it was a 2-2 tie, which was probably appropriate given how well both teams played.
The Loss? I fought the Sambuca and the Sambuca won.
I had a great night. Mia is Swedish, so there was all sorts of tension in the England-
Sweden World Cup Match. We were at the Black Horse, a nice little pub with a landlord named Terry.
Once again, to reiterate: I was in an English pub for an England World Cup game. How cool is that?.
The rest of my stuff should be here tomorrow. Then I’m going to Hastings and then to Portsmouth.
I’m a lucky and, currently, drunk man.
BTW, 2-2 England and Sweden. Both scored goals in the last 10 minutes. It was
a very good game.
Did I mention how much fun I’m having.
Tomorrow: On the Road 🙂
With fresh horse and harness
And armor bright burnished
Our ships tossed by tempest
Made sail for the east
OK, so I had quite a bit of tempest sailing for the east. The flight from Milwaukee got into Boston at 6:35pm (originally scheduled in at 4:55) and I literally had to run to catch my flight to London. I have discovered that I run faster than my suitcase. Hopefully, it will show up here tomorrow 🙂
Overall the flights weren’t bad, especially on Midwest. I have to give them their props for comfy chairs, even for me. American held the entire flight for a few minutes for me while I hustled through Logan and the inflight TV had a flight tracker showing speed, altitude, and location.
I noticed a couple of things. First, I’m pretty sure I’ve never gone 676mph before. Even in the thin air at 38,000 feet, that’s not bad. Second, as we were halfway over the Irish Sea, the flight tracker said we were about 250 miles from London. 250? That’s essentially driving I-70 across Missouri. And we had half the Irish Sea, Wales, and the Midlands to cross before London. It’s all about context and perspective.
Eddie and Mia, two Viking re-enactment friends of Halvgrimr, picked me up at the airport and have welcomed me with open arms. I’m going to go nap for a bit, but we’re planning on hitting a pub and watching England in the World Cup. Should be a fun experience for this sodding Yank. Tomorrow, Eddie and I are probably going to drive down to Portsmouth and see the HMS Victory. Tomorrow evening is a big get-together of Eddie and his friends at the pub.
Anyway, I’m sorta off my sleep schedule and I think its time for a nap.
Well, I’ve made it to Milwaukee. I’m pretty confident I can make it to Boston. I have no clue after that.
My flight is now supposed to arrive in Boston at 6:15 instead of 4:55, and my outgoing flight is 7:05. We’ll see what happens.
On a different note, the landing here in Milwaukee was kinda cool. I’ve mever flown into here before and you come in over Lake Michigan. It’s a nice day here and the lake was very pretty.
All I can say at this point on getting to London is: Wyrd bith ful araed.
Well, here I am at KCI. I’ve still got an hour to my flight but I’m ready and waiting.
It has, however, been a very odd morning.
First, I get a call from the History Department while on the road that a student is contesting her grade and they need to see my gradesheet. Umm, could I have heard about this two hours earlier instead of while I’m on my way to leave the country? Ironic indeed. I think it will be OK, as I believe Dr. Cook does have a copy as well, but we’ll see. I may have to send someone to send the file from my computer.
Second, it was very odd to be driving by the Smithville exit this morning. It’s less than 24 hours since I got on to I-435 at that exit from Lilies yet it seems like weeks. Some of that is the missing being at the war part, but another is just the mental shift of changing from the SCA to traveler.
Third, I go a tremendous scare at the check-in. The guy was staring at his computer and said: “that’s odd.” Odd? I don’t want to hear odd. Another guy comes over and says: “Oh, that always happens when a flight is delayed and the person might miss their connection.” WHAT!?! No, no panic there, none at all. Really.
Anyway, I’m here and soon will be there.
Well, I’m nigh unto packed for the trip to Europe. I’ll be leaving tomorrow at 7:30am and will be in Heathrow at 6:35 their time.I’ll be using my LiveJournal page to record my memories from the trip.
Right now, I’m pretty tired from Lilies, though I had a great time. I got my Swan, the Calontir AoA Arts award for in His Majesty’s words being good with my mouth.
I also picked up my new helmet from Waldryk and it is beautiful. He intentionally designed it with hammer marks. The dragon crest is hand forged brass. It’s heavy, but it’s awesome. I can’t wait to wear it at Pennsic.
There were also a lot of good friends who got peerages: Duncan and Clef were knighted, Seonaid was laureled, and Constantia, David, Cara, and Aoibheann were all announced for their laurels as well. It was a great war.
Anyway, to get back to the root of this post, I’ll be updating here with some regularity the progress and interesting things during my trip, and yes, to those who insisted I should get a camera, I did get a decent one and will be adding pictures.
Next stop? Well, maybe I can find wi-fi in Boston tomorrow afternoon.
I’ve been struggling to find what to say about Lilies. There was so much going on and so many memories.
But we go to SCA events in the hopes of finding those 15 seconds where we’re actually a part of history, not simply spending a day dressed in funny clothes doing funny things.
I had not only 15 seconds, but several minutes of being part of Alfred’s scipfyrd. I got my chance to row in Dongal, Brockman, and Halvgrimr’s longship. It was a lovely calm night, with the moon shining off the ripples in the lake.
And as we rowed, we sang songs, and I did my version of the Wanderer. For those minutes, especially the parts in Old English, I nearly lost myself. I did a horrible job because I was continually remembering where I was and the beauty of the moment.
All of Lilies, for that matter all of the SCA, all of the work and fun and silliness and everything else condensed in that incredible moment for me. There was so much more to Lilies, but all that happened was overshadowed by being in the right place at the right time.