July 6th, 2008


End of the York pub tour

Yesterday was an interesting travelling day, most especially notable because I've rarely gotten so wet before. It wasn't just my shoes - we inadvertently got caught on the York wall during a shower that turned into a full-blown thunderstorm. We were initially doing quite well huddling near the crenellations (and under a tree and under our umbrellas), but then this carpet of water began to fall from the sky and I started getting soaked through from the bounce off of the stones and the river running off of my umbrella (and thence down my bag, to be deposited on my butt). At one point I could feel the water running down my leg _inside_ of my clothing. This eventually necessitated going back to the B&B for a complete change of clothing, _right down to the underwear_ (because I finally realized the progress I was going to be able to make with a hairdryer was completely inadequate given there were nice dry ones available).

That said, it was still a fun day and a good evening. J and I avoided the rain for much of the day first by shopping (L'Occitaine summer sale, various charity shops, a game store where we picked up a copy of Brass, and finally a New Look, home of my new pair of dry shoes), then by going to the York castle museum, which had nothing to do with the castle and everything to do with the more recent people's history of Yorkshire. (I got kind of excited about the Roman history - of "Erbacorum," I believe - and wanted to find out more about it). And despite the weather, Shadowdaddy just isn't a whinger, so we were just able to laugh about it and make do. He really is a very fun person to travel with and this trip has reminded me a lot of what an excellent team we make.

Before our 730 concert, we went to dinner at the "Evil Eye," a quite spectacular drinking establishment. Upstairs they had a room furnished in Indonesian things including two platform beds that drinkers were lounging on langorously as the sipped their drinks. We were, however, downstairs, which was good enough for our quick dinner - we'd chosen the place for a welcome respite from standard pub fare and it exceeded our expectations. I found my bowl of Nasi Goreng quite tasty - it was hot enough to slow my eating down and so big I managed only half of it. Yum!

The concert itself was held in the main nave of the Minster. This gave us lots of opportunity for sightseeing before the show. Once we sat down, though, I found my ability to focus (on Handel's "Israel in Egypt") not good - the rain had sapped my energy and I wanted to be somewhere warm. So I proposed we cut out at intermission if it weren't raining - and, as it was not, off we trotted to the Guy Fawkes Inn.

Now, this pub was a real find. The walls were all painted black (like gunpowder!) and the interior was dimly lit, with some natural light coming in the large front window and from the giant back window overlooking the patio. As we walked in, some silly man in period costume (think "Fawkes") was ordering a drink for himself and his cutie goff companion. I sat down to wait for J and noticed ... the lights in the sconces, they were gas! The whole place was lit with gas! You could hear it very softly hissing in the quiet of the back room. _Wow_.

picture.jpgWe settled down with our drinks (Addleston's premium cloudy cider for me, Copper Dragon for J) and played Punto. J got feisty after he won the first round (14 to 10, so not much of a spread), and I then proceeded to wipe him off the map with a 13 to 1 "one horse open slay." He consoled himself with a pint of "No Eye Dear" (which reminds me, his dinner, the special, was "Khik Mee Hod") and I had more cider and some chili honey nuts (yum!). We managed a third round, 12 to 9 (remember, gloating leads to sure defeat), and then it was time to call it a night.

We're on the train now with some lovely pies from "G. Scott of York" - it was just not the right weather to go to Castle Howard or do the boat tour or pretty much anything else as I just couldn't face trudging back to the B&B a second time through the kind of downpour we had yesterday. York will still be there and we can go back - hopefully with my nephew Drew some day so he can see the train museum.

Back to reality

Well, I'm sitting in my flat, going through my email, tagging my pictures from York - I'm using "Erboracum" as I get a kick out of the old Roman names ... I've got a yen to see a Roman road now that I've been so close to them.

Note to my dad: er, thanks for letting me know I could join the Daughters of the American Revolution. I think that the comedy value of being a member of this organization while living in London cannot be overstated, but, despite this, I don't really feel inclined to join as I don't know what the purpose of this group actually is. (My guess is that it's about trying to feel superior to other people, and, since I grew up white trash, that is not really my bag.)

Dear everyone who lets rooms in St. Ives: thanks for nothing, since that's what you've got available. I'm sure this is all a deliberate plot to keep me from spending any more money.

Note to my cousin: of course when you send me something called an "Amber Alert" I think you're passing on some news about my sister. I hope my response to seeing a picture of a lost tot in America is appropriate.

Oh mighty NHS deities: what appointment on June 25th? I had an appointment? I thought you were going to send me a letter telling me when my next appointment was, and I didn't get one - so you just discharged me? What is up with the whole "calling people to check about their appointments" thing? Is that just an American thing? And if I set up an appointment, why don't I remember doing it?

To James LeMaster (jamesl@redtech.com) at RedTech: sure, I'd love to chat with you about your needs for a Technical Support Analyst at Microsoft (Redmond campus). Any day you're free to meet me near my office off High Holborn, I'd be pleased to join you - just let me know what your availability is.

To Orange: DeadJournal is not an "over 18" site any more than LJ is. Give me a break.

Tonight: enchiladas, and, I suspect, Brass!

Things I did tonight

1. Made enchiladas. Yum!
2. Tried making sangria with white wine. Yum! (It doesn't really taste like sangria but whatever.)
3. Beat wechsler and shadowdaddy decisively at Through the Desert. (I was making it up, however. I will be beaten again the next time we play.)
4. Bought tickets for two more movies in the Guy Maddin series: Archangel (Friday 18 July 2008 at 18:30, seats F5 - F6), and Brand Upon the Brain! (Tuesday 15 July 2008 at 18:20, J4 - J5, and only 5 quid). If anyone else wants to come to these shows with us, please do!
5. Tried and failed to get tickets to see Faeries, which is well on its way to selling out. I am not happy about not being able to get tickets to this show on a schedule convenient to me because the show requires that adults bring a child. What's up, if I went to this show as an adult I must be a pedophile? Is this really legal? To me it's blatant discrimination against the childless and it pisses me off.
6. Bought a second copy of a Proust book, Following Proust: Norman Churches, Cathedrals, and Paris Paintings, that I'd ordered before as a present to me from my dad.
7. Tried to get a copy of Finding Time Again, as I'm getting darned near to the end of my current book and it's become very interesting.
8. Put in some laundry, including all of the clothes the rain soaked through while in York.

Oh, also I found the program from Friday night's Emma Kirkby show, and I'm going to reprint a poem from it (though what I should be doing is writing it up for my other blog). I found it, on Independence Day, a sort of 9/11 reflection on a fallen America, but I'm now much better able to understand what they mean, in a pre-Christian era tribal society, when they are talking about someone being a widow and what that has to say about what would happen to their status in society. It was sung in German and I found it very moving. Anyway, Lamentations 1: 1, (2,) 8, (9,) 12, (20, and 21) for the original.

How desolate lies the city/ Wie liegt die Stadt so wuste
that was so full of people/ die voll Volkes war.
She is like a widow/ Sie ist wie eine Witwe.
She who was a princess among the heathen/ Die eine Furstin unter den Heiden
and a queen in the provinces / und eine Konigen in den Landern war
must now serve/ muss nun dienen.

She weeps in the night so that (Look and see!) / Sie weinet des Nachts (Schauet doch und sehet!)
tears run down her cheeks / dass ihr die Tranen uber die Wangen fliessen,
and no one among all of her lovers / und ist niemand unter allen ihren Freunden
will comfort her/ der sie troste.

All those who were close to her despise her/ Alle ihre Nachsten verachten sie
and have become her enemies / und sind ihre Feinde worden.

Anyway, from this poem to the Trojan Woman to today, the tale of being left desolate by war and death and crying to yourself hopelessly really hit me. It was really lovely listening to the three gambas and two violins of the London Baroque accompanying Emma Kirkby and baritone Peter Harvey (the "beholds" above) as they sang this song, the "Klaglied" by Buxtehude and written upon the death of his father. Sadness, it is truly something that transcends all history. Is joy not the greater surprise?