November 05, 2003

Travelin's Done!

I'm back. I went to Salisbury, England, for a conference, hosted at the Royal School of Artillery, Larkhill. Beth came over as the conference ended and we did the Salisbury area and London...

We stayed at a cool place, the Red Lion Inn (a Best Western, built in 1200 in house workers building the Cathedral - which is widely regarded as the best medieval cathedral in Britain. Nice rooms, complete with a stuffed lion named Brutus. Who, alas, had to remain behind.

Upon arrival, I went scouting about (trying to stay awake so I could semi-synch my internal clock) I wandered into Salisbury's Charter Festival, and had my first shot at English chow. More on English chow in a later post. I should note the prices are in pound sterling, and that was trading at about $1.75 to £1 (on average) during my stay.

While prowling about taking pictures of the cathedral at night, I went inside - and found myself in a High Church choir service - this is what is was like to attend church in a world lit only by fire.

Having a distant family connection to the events at Runnymeade (as about a bazillion people do, given how the spread works over time) I was curious to see the Magna Carta. The cathedral has what they claim to be the best-preserved example of the Carta of the four surviving. Given that this document is the great grandfather of our Constitution, it was a thrill being able to see it. And to see what the nobles of the land thought important... Despite it's somewhat quirky nature - it was at Runnymeade, and through the Magna Carta, that the english principle of a rule of law to which even the Sovereign must bend a knee was established.

I admit to admiring the handiwork - go back and look at the link - 3500 words on that not-quite 8.5 by 11 inch page. Tiny words, wonderful skill in the scribing.

In addition to Larkhill, home of the Royal Artillery, which has lots of cool guns laying about, I and/or we, got to Stonehenge, Avebury, and Woodhenge, along with Silbury Hillfort (one contender for Camelot) Durrington Walls and Old Sarum, the original site of Salisbury (William the Conqueror slept here...) That marked out the limits of our Stone Age to Iron Age travels. I am impressed with the engineering acumen (though they did make some mistakes, perhaps because they were rushed) of the builders of those places.

During the conference, which was a collection of military analysts of many nations, I usually came out of a day looking like this fellow.

We did get into London. Sparing the wife, I went to the National Army Museum and Imperial War Museum before she arrived. As the Imperial Armorer, I only wish this was my basement!

I think I'll let her blog London after she got there.

Comments on Travelin's Done!
gunner briefed on November 5, 2003 06:21 PM

The rather large weapon that you wish you had. Looked impossible to move so is it coastal artillery?

John of Argghhh! briefed on November 5, 2003 07:17 PM

Nope. It's a howitzer! Took a day to emplace and a day to move, but it's a land weapon. Everybody in that war (WWI) had 'em but us. The kind of weapon you can only use in static (trench) warfare.

Ghost of a flea briefed on November 7, 2003 10:13 AM

I am glad Argghhh!!! is back and it is great to hear how well your time in England went. The artillery museum is on my iterary for my next London visit...