Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Drs Donald Ellis and Caroline Getaz write from London

Last time we contributed to Historians on the Go [click here to read the report] we were planning the trip to England. We have now been in London for three weeks and have packed a lot into that time. Caroline and I went to the British Library to renew our reader's cards and to see the exhibit of London maps which was really stunning! We've been going to concerts and enjoyed them as you never could in Land of the Redman. The Royal Concertgebouw orchestra did Schubert's third Symphony followed by Bruckner's Third Symphony. The Schubert was like hearing it for the first time! The Bruckner was.....well, Bruckner (if it sounds like Mahler but is bombastic, loud, repetitive and lacking in continuity it has to be Bruckner). That he was Hitler's favorite symphonist doesn't help. There was an exhibition of Hogarth which was great and packed not only with Hogarths but representatives from the world over. That's the trouble with great things, you are not the only one who wants in.

On the 17th of February we innocentlly went to see what we could see in an afternoon in the British Museum. The trouble was that we didn't realize that the biggest celebration of Chinese New Year outside Peking is....you guessed it, in Soho and Trafalgar Square.

They have just imposed another expanded congestion tax on anyone intrepid enough to drive a car in central London. What London needed in 1945 was a Baron Hausmann who could have opened up the 16th-century rabbit warren infrastructure, or failing that simply close off the central city to all but pedestrians as Munich did.

At the end of the month we're off to Somerset and Glocestershire where the congestion is not so great and the prices not so high. A standard lunch at the cafeteria of the British Library is about $16.00! So if you come over, bring money, preferably not dollars which are falling against the pound.

We're having a great time and will send a couple of pictures when we are back with that capability. Meantime we have our laptop and electrons do really exist and will cross large bodies of water. [Dr Ellis' e-mail address is hugoeckner@hotmail.com.]

P.S. I read something in the Guardian which should be required reading for all historians.
click on


Donald and Caroline


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