Sunday, June 29, 2008

English experience

We are indebted to our most excellent hosts, Steve and Alan, for making our arrival in England much softer after our difficult trip. They provided great food and a gathering with colleagues from my sabbatical at the Univ of Newcastle in 2006. Steve organized for me a presentation ("PowerPoint: Readin', Writin' and Rhetoric")at the Univ of Durham which was well attended with engaged and thoughtful scholars.

Beyond that, Steve took us on a tour of Hadrian's Wall which we couldn't manage in 2006. The weather was pretty raw, but occasional stops in pubs and tea rooms made it all quite enjoyable.

This is part of a Roman encampment--remains of the grainery. Notice the little columns which held the floor. Warm air was blown underneath to keep the grain dry. (Officers got similar quarters, but the regular soldiers did without.)

Here's view from the back gate of one of the forts along the wall. Notice the wall continuing around the trees on the right and proceeding to the summit of the crag.(See if you can follow it by clicking on the picture to expand it.) All this to keep the Scots from attacking from that direction.

Life got a bit better in England during the Victorian age. We visiting Wallington Hall(appropriate name--most every town or estate has some reference to the wall here). Here are some "classic" images of a Victorian estate and gardens:

A second excursion was to the homestead of the (George) Washington estate. Interestingly, it is in a town called Washington. The family roots were here, but George's family had moved to the colonies two generations before. The first picture is the kitchen; the second the outside of the hall; the third is the gardens in front of the hall.

Twenty-four hours later we are in Lugano, Switzerland.

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