Thursday, August 23, 2012

Jesse and Andrew visit Stratford, and my friend Andrew (who works at The King Edward VI School) gives us a tour of the school

Jesse and Andrew moved to London on Monday and decided to come visit me for the weekend.  We took a small tour of the town and had some fun.  Enjoy!

Andrew looking adorable as usual.


LOOK!  Its a church!!!!  Tom is confused.

The giant key to unlock the door between the King Edward VI School (where Shakespeare went) and the guild chapel.  

The inner courtyard of the old part of the school.  

This is now the library, but it was once the guild hall, where the town guild met.

This is the room above the library, where Shakespeare went to school.  The desks are 18th century and the room is still used for classes today.  

School Master Jason.  It just feels so right.

In 1736 there was a plague throughout the country.  These three sets of initials represent the only three students left in the school at that time.

This is part of the library.  The desk (Andrew, on the left, is unsure of the age) is covered in graffiti.  

Drinks at The Bear!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Kensington Palace with emma

emma and I went to see Gatz in London.  Gatz is a play version of The Great Gatsbey.  It lasted 8.5 hours and included two intervals and a dinner break.  The play was a reading of literally the entire book, with the actors (from Elevator Repair Service) acting out certain scenes.  The next day we went to Kensington Palace.  Enjoy.

The palace through the garden.  Pretty?  Yes!

emma reading about the Glorious Revolution.  In case you did not know about this important event in English history, apparently there was a revolution...and it was GLORIOUS!!!

Each chair represents a dead child of Queen Anne's.  It was sad, especially with the sound of children coming form the next room.

A puppet show depicting Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee.  I was checking to see what puppet scotsmen wear under their kilts.  

We were playing cards, and I was using my best courtier pose.

More card playing.  Some of the courtier/guides came over and taught us a game from the early-mid 18th century called Commerce.  It was fun.  

This is Queen Victoria's actual wedding dress.  She was tiny.

We taught some courtiers a 17th century masque dance, so they showed us one they learned.

My 14.5 hour Day

There was a large screen set up in the Bancroft gardens, just in front of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, to watch the opening ceremonies of the Olympics.  We were afraid that we wouldn't get a spot, so I arrived at 10.30am to stake our claim.  It was a long, but very good day.

Ingenuity dear emma, ingenuity!

We watched the same looped set of interviews for 11 hours!

The mayor of Stratford giving a speech.

Everyone standing for God Save the Queen.

There was a collective sigh at this point.

The American outdoor cuddling team.  We took home gold!

Team GB enters...never mind the fact that I forgot to take pictures of the American team..

We might have been imbibing a bit before this picture was taken...14 hours into the day.


Kenilworth castle (see earlier entry to explain what it is, if you don't know) had a medieval joust a few weeks back.  emma, Tanya, Red, Jamie and emma's friend Clare and Zach and I went.  We enjoyed it which I mean with mead.


More minstrels!  Well ok, they are the same minstrels, but just be ok with it.

Enter the frilly trousers! 


Knight on a horsey!

The joust master, or whatever the official term is.

You can barely see the two horses running at each other.

Jamie and Tanya, enjoying the sun.

emma and I, also enjoying the sun (never you mind the empty mead bottles behind us...and remember, there were six of us).

The entry way back into the castle.

To the North (and back again)!

My friends emma, Red, Tanya and I took a few days to drive up north.  We left on Sunday morning and arrived in York for the day.  I gave them a tour (me being me, and having been there twice before) and then I left them to watch The York Mysteries (more on that in a second).


The girls in The Shambles.  I clearly caught emma off guard.

My attempt at being artsy with my camera; though I really do like this picture.  She was looking down the street at the Minster.

Red was a little bit tired as we took a walk on the city wall.

This is the Minster (in the background) and a hotel in the foreground, seen from the city wall.

A sign for the York Mysteries 2012.  The York Mysteries are what I am writing my thesis on.  They are a series of plays portraying stories (mostly) from the bible that have been performed in York since the 14th century, though there was a hiatus from 1567 to 1951.....THE REFORMATION STRIKES AGAIN!!!!!!

This is a cake.  I want one.

Red with her Disney avatar.  

The set for the York Mysteries.  The back wall is the remains of St Mary's Abbey.

The set, yet again.
After the show we made our way north to Newcastle-upon-Tyne.  This is where Tanya's g-g-g-great-grandma (I think) was from.  The next day I dropped the girls off at Alnwick Castle, where the first two Harry Potter movies were filmed.  I was not with them, but I was told their day involved wand making, broom flying lessons and dress up, among other events.  I, on the other hand, drove further north to Holy Island.  This is were Christianity first came to England, from the Scottish island of Iona.  This is where Lindisfarne Priory was located until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1537.  Lindisfarne is where the famous illuminated manuscript, The Lindisfarne Gospels, was made in the 7th or 8th century.  St Cuthbert was prior here and later became the Bishop of Northumberland.

Lindisfarne Priory.  The only village on the island still uses the graveyard.

The remains of the west entrance.

A very weathered, Norman column.  Lindisfarne was under the control of Durham Cathedral,  a connection that can be seen in the design of the building.  The columns in Norman buildings where large and round, usually decorated with geometric patterns.  You can still see the chevron pattern on this column even after centuries of the sandstone being exposed to the weather of the North Sea.

This is the remains of the crossing.  There was once another arch that crossed this, creating a vault, but it has since fallen down.  Seeing just the single arch, off centre from where it would normally be, creates a very strange look to the building....especially if you are a religious architecture geek, like myself.

This is the castle of  Holy Island, high up on a rock.

The priory from the south.

The west entrance from the interior, complete with information booth.

This is the parish church on the island.  You might be able to see that the wall on the right is leaning out.

St Cuthbert was buried on the island, and his shrine was in the east end of the church where pilgrims would come to pray.  When the monks left the island, fleeing the Viking raiders, they took the bones of the saint with them.  Eventually the remains where reburied in the east end of Durham Cathedral, where they are today.

The priory.  The reddish stones are the church, in front of which are the two sectors: inner (where the monks lived) and outer (where the public would come. 

This is the first souvenir I saw on the island.  Hundreds of miles north of Stratford I see this!

These were my lunch companions.  

Holy Island is just that, an island.  Twice a day the tides recede, revealing a causeway connecting the island to the mainland.  I missed visiting the island last month because we didn't time the crossing right.

I was stopped at the end of the causeway going back to the mainland while waiting for a train to pass.  This just looked pretty.

  The next day we woke up un Newcastle, had lunch with our friend Drew (he is American and did his MA at the institute last year and now lives in Newcastle...he followed a girl there [insert sappy giggle]).  Then we drove to Durham Cathedral (they filmed part of Harry Potter there as you see a possible theme for this trip?).   Our last stop was Manchester.  Guess why we went there.  Taco Bell.  No joke.  Taco Bell.

This is a monument to Early Grey, Duke of Northumberland.  Yes, he is the Early Grey of tea fame, which explains my posture.

This is the old Norman castle in Newcastle.

Newcastle Cathedral

The Edwardian arcade.

Durham Cathedral cloisters.
West front of Durham cathedral.  The Galilee chapel is in the background.

More cloister action.

Me in front of the tomb of The Venerable Bede, the first English Historian.
This is the door to cathedral's chapter house.  This is where the potions class was filmed in the Harry Potter movies.  Red was sneaking a peak through the key hole.