Well, since Mom is a gold card member of Marriott, they keyed our room cards to let us in to the executive lounge. Free broad band internet, and a continental breakfast. I checked email, slurped down coffee and cereal, and hit the road walking in the rain to the Tube station. (Ox and Maggie ate a proper English breakfast and then went sight seeing.)
It was strange trying to work today on the manuscript. I've been staking out a table under the skylights so that I have natural light to work in. They keep it very low light to protect the manuscripts. Today it was cloudy and it really effected the speed I could work at. The system they have is that you have to show your reader's pass to a guard to get in the room, then you stake out a spot at a table. Then you go up to the counter and tell them what number the spot you're sitting at is and ask for your reserved materials. They hand you a 14th century manuscript and you carry it carefully back over to your table and put it reverently on the foam cushion that's at each spot.
I reread the article and looked at the book again this morning, and the lady was right in her description. However, she still leaves a lot of quirks about the manuscript undiscussed. I'm pretty sure I've spotted at least two places where there are missing pages and a spot where they've taken a page out, folded it going the other way and put it back in.
I tried looking up information about the manuscript only to find that all they have is a catalog of the collection that was printed in 1808. Cough, cough. I now see why the Harley collection is resisting going into the online catalog. But I wrote down everything they had. I'm so full of information and notes at this point that I don't really know what I've got, or what I know. (If you know what I mean.)
So I walked with Jim to meet Ox and Maggie at the Globe. He didn't have tickets with us, so he paid the 5 pounds to be a "groundling". That means he stood through the whole play on the floor of the Globe and got rained on twice. We were in the upper gallery and occasionally had pigeons fly out past us. It was the complete Elizabethan theater experience.
Actually it was just splendid. There was a lot of music in it, and the musicians kept reconfiguring into different "loud bands." There were sackbuts, there were shawms, there were pipes, there was a hurdy gurdy. (Oh just sneak over and look at the pictures now, you know you want to.)
The actors projected really well. The upright galleries meant that no one is physically that far from the stage, although the angle of view can be extreme. But really, once the play got started, I kind of forgot the bird's eye view. The play we saw was, A Winter's Tale. Kind of a tragedy at the front, that turns into a comedy by the end. A King thinks his wife has been unfaithful, so he accuses her publicly, has their newborn daughter taken out to the wilderness and left, and tries to have his best friend killed. Doesn't that sound cheery? Well, everyone was in splendid garb (which I was not allowed to photograph) and their performances were very good. I got teary eyed when the Queen's lady in waiting talked about how good the Queen was.
They had lots of farce towards the end with a comic character who is a pick-pocket and sometime ballad seller. Since I wrote a paper on Blackletter Ballads last semester I hooped at how Shakespeare was making fun of the Street ballads of his day.... "A ballad about a fish that was found floating 40 feet above the water and singing a ditty about a love lorn maiden."
Saying Goodbye to Jim
So we all walked to the London Bridge station and parted company with Jim. He said goodbye to us in Welsh. Well, I said, "Why don't you say goodbye to us in Welsh?" And he did after he thought about it. Which really was quite good considering that he brought 4 Guinness Stouts in his raincoat pockets and quietly became polluted in the groundling section. He's off to Wales for an 8 week course.
Must get to bed soon. Tomorrow is Ox's ALL DAY Cathedral marathon. Ely, Lincoln, oh heck there are so many, I can't remember. And we have to figure out how to get the rental car early tomorrow morning.
Photos for the Day