Two kings and two queens from the Uig, or Lewi...

Two kings and two queens from the Uig, or Lewis chessmen at the British Museum. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today I’ve been to London and back for a meeting of the branches and members committee of the Historical Association.  We finished earlier than expected so I spent an hour and a half in the British Museum.  I had a look round the Mexican gallery, as always, as I wrote my undergraduate dissertation on the transmission of culture in Aztec Mexico and the impact of the Spanish Conquest.  I could spend hours looking at the turquoise mosaic pieces.  I looked at the Sutton Hoo exhibition, wandered through the Enlightenment gallery and found the ‘Cradle to Grave’ piece very moving.  Then I went to the Egyptian gallery, as my eldest son is doing a school project on the ancient Egyptians at the moment.  I bought him a few postcards.  Finally, I went to say hello to Noggin the Nog.  Sorry, the Lewis chessmen.  I love them.  I can’t play chess, but one day I will have a replica Lewis chessmen chess set.

Elizabeth I of England, the Armada Portrait, W...

Elizabeth I of England, the Armada Portrait, Woburn Abbey (George Gower, ca 1588). Other versions of the Armada portrait are by different artists. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I think it’s fair to say that we had the best of the weather.  On several days last week I got messages from friends in Manchester saying that it was raining, while I was sitting on the beach watching the children playing. Where was I?  The Med?  The States?  No.  IrelandDonegal to be specific…  7 hours on a beach one day!

I carried on working on that one ballad for a day or two, finally managing to make the first paragraph of the article into something vaguely suitable and finding a brilliant primary document that gave me a lovely juicy quote.  Unfortunataly, my efforts to transcribe the said document were something like the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back –  I gave up trying to combine work and holiday and decided that I was as entitled to a break as the next person!  On the ferry on the way home I read through my paper for Histfest, which I am looking forward to presenting this weekend.

While I was away I read Caroline Dodds Pennock‘s ‘Bonds of Blood‘, which I very much enjoyed.  Something of a blast from the past, it reminded me why I found the Aztecs and the Spanish conquest so fascinating as an undergraduate.  Perhaps I’ll turn my attentions back to them for my post-doc…  Perhaps not.  I also started on Anna Whitelock‘s new book, Elizabeth’s Bedfellows, which I haven’t quite finished.

Priorities for this week include practising my seminar paper,  finishing off my article, going to a careers fair and catching up on some Historical Association paperwork.  Oh, and finally applying for a young person’s railcard… possibly rather belatedly given that I’m no longer a young person in anyone’s vocabulary!