December 8, 2009
Just came back from the pub, which I didn't have to go very far for. I'm in a little town called Sr. Just right on the South Eastern tip of England. The town is very small and the city square just got it's X-mas tree. The city square is pretty much it for the town. The square is surrounded by 3 pubs, a couple of convenience stores, and the Bed and Breakfast I'm currently staying in. The name is the Commercial, and yes, it has a pub, which my room is just above.
It's been a couple of active days. Yesterday I drove into the town of Bath. Mostly known for the Roman Bath ruins in the middle of town. The B&B I was staying at was about 7 miles from the city center, so I started up the Peugot and headed for Bath. It turned out that traffic in the city was a bit of a nightmare. I thought, stupidly, that surely there must be a huge parking lot right by the town's most famous attraction. Not so. I blindly followed the GPS directions, and somehow ended up driving on pedestrian streets. I'm sure I got caught on several CCTV cameras. I finally found a parking garage and walked over to the Roman Bath ruins. It was pretty remarkable how the way they were using these baths for both hygiene and healing as well as a social function. They operated pretty much like a modern spa, with hot/cold baths, grooming, and massages. The guide told a funny story about how the neighbors were complaining about the noise of people screaming, when they had excess hair growth removed. I don't see how they can possible know that the neighbors were complaining 1700 years ago, but I let it go. The audience seemed to enjoy the thought of big fat romans having their hair plugged out.
It found the tourist office in town and read that the world famous astronomer William Herschel was from this town... World famous? I had never heard of him, I must admit. It turned out he was the one that first observed Uranus. That discovery increased the diameter of the solar system by a factor of 2, so at the time it was pretty significant. There was a little museum in the house he used to live in. Again, I was the only one there, so the custodian gave me a 15 minute speel about good old Herschel (and his sister). The sister seemed to be a big part of his life. I almost asked if there were some incest/inbreeding going on, but that would've gotten me kicked out. Anyways, he didn't have any formal education and was more of a hoppyist. He was able to make the largest telescopes of his time by reading Newtons papers on light reflection in curved mirrors. He was all self taught, which I found pretty impressive.
I drove back towards the B&B castle, and stopped for some pub food on the way. I had ham and eggs and chips, which pretty much was the same as I had for breakfast, except for the chips. Hurrah for variety!