Sunday, 13 February 2011

Christmas Wales and Oxford

So as one final trip before Christine returned to America to finish her degree, she Peter and I took a trip to Wales. We celebrated Christmas in Cambridge then left the next day. The trip was full of adventure and beauty, but my favorite was spending two nights with a beautiful family in Wales who were kind enough to let us eat the traditional Boxing Day dinner with them. They lived in a secluded Welsh farmhouse with a fireplace big enough for us to walk around in. Afterwards we visited St. Davids Cathedral and drove up the Welsh coast to Snowdonia, traditional birthplace of King Arthur. On the way back to Cambridge we stopped off at Stonehenge and took the guided tour. The mist was our constant companion on our trip, and it added a layer of mystique.



We spent a couple days in Wales, a day in Bath, and on our way home stopped at Stonehenge.



Bath was beautiful. Lyndon and I had finished reading Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey which takes place entirely in Bath. It was fun to see where her story came to life.


Stonehenge was interesting. The day we went the whole country was covered in thick fog. When we got to Stonehenge we actually could not see it because the fog was so thick. We did not see it until we walked up right next to it. It is located in the middle of this field just off the road. There are sheep in the field too. Everyone gets an audio tour device that had some really interesting facts about Stonehenge.


Our last couple days before the new year involved packing and cleaning up our flat. We manage to have some fun as well. We stopped at Trinity square where the epic race in Charriots of Fire took place. We spent New Years Eve at our house's party. We brought in the New Year with a kiss.

2011 started out with me leaving to come back to Provo to finish school and Lyndon spending the rest of his break in Cambridge.





In order to assuage my lonliness when Christine left, I spent a couple days with Peter in London (where I watched Beaches for the first time) and a couple days with Tim. With Tim we visited many colleges and cloisters including where some of Harry Potter was filmed, although everyone knows that in order to be truly wonderful and excellent they should have filmed the movie entirely in Cambridge...

And a note of domestic concern: My father's optical recently went online. Check it out at Plothow.com

Anglo-Saxon Norse Celtic Studies

So Christine has left England to finish her studies at BYU and I am here finishing my degree alone. So I've decided to make my mark on our blog and inform the world about my studies.

I am pursuing a Masters of Philosophy (MPhil for short) in Anglo-Saxon Norse Celtic studies. As the name suggests it incorporates a broad area of emphases from history to ancient languages to paleography to numismatism (studying coins). Specifically I study Insular Latin (that variety used in England), Anglo-Saxon History, and the literary and academic written works of the English, Norse, and Celts (and some Roman) from 300 AD to 1200 AD roughly. So Bede, Beowulf, Norse Sagas, Geoffry of Monmouth, William of Malmesbury, Eusebius, and the lives of many a saint come within our perview.

My dissertation, which will command the majority of my time while here at Cambridge, is taking a very close view of a law code issued by King Cnut and drafted by Archbishop Wulfstan of York in 1020 AD. The code is exceptional and important as a compilation of many ancient laws as well as a basis for future law codes well into the Norman rule. One section of this code outlines the responsibilities of the king toward his people, and I am examining the reason for its inclusion in the code as well as any resulting effects.

Many of my professors are leaders in their fields. My supervisor is the relative of two world-renown Cambridge scholars: great nephew of John Maynard Keynes and great great grandson of Charles Darwin. He has promised me an indepth debate of creationism and evolution, but as yet I've managed to escape.

Actually the Downing College Chaplain, the Reverend Doctor Keith, has been giving lectures on the shape of reality and this past week spent an hour reconciling evolution and creation. His conclusions, always eloquent and frequently beautiful, have allowed me to reflect on God's creation. I am grateful for modern revelation, both personal and to his prophets, gives us a deeper view into the nature of reality than can be reached by logic unaided by inspiration. I attend Bible study every Monday (in lieu of FHE) with Keith, and I have some questions to ask him about his theories.








On thing that continues to amaze me about Cambridge is the amount of green stuff everywhere in the middle of winter. Most grass is just as green now as it was in October, and daffodils and other flowers are even now (in the middle of February) bursting out of the ground and creating beautiful fields of yellow and white across Cambridge. If it weren't for the lack of sunshine, and the constant drizzle, and the inevitable wind, and the ever-constant 40 degree temperatures, I would think it were summer!

I recently accompanied the Young Adults from the ward to the cliffs of Dover and Canterbury. The trip was a success, eventhough I had not slept the day before because I worked in the Churchill Spring Ball (which was full of Casablanca, chocolate fountains, mountains of stinky cheese, Goldeneye, drunks, and a rousing and extremely talented tour through modern pop music by a drunk piano man who looked like Billy Joel.)

The the words of the prophets, ancient and modern, have been an important source of strength for me these last couple months. I would especially like to bear witness of Genesis 2:18.
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