Hear Ye! Since 1998.
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Dec 00

Farewell England

Finally, on the last day, I have found affordable net access at “only” £1.00 an hour, on a quick broadband connection (and a flatpanel monitor!). Today we escaped the smoggy air of London and made our way to Warwick, home of Warwick Castle which dates back to 1068 when it was commissioned by William the Conqueror. After one train decided to die on us while chugging out of Marylebone Station (pronounced with a silent “y”), we switched platforms to another train and were on our way.

The English countryside is very picturesque. In typical English weather, misty with light drizzle, the lush fields and gently rolling hills are quite an eye-pleasing sight. Warwick is a small British town. We arrived there looking for lunch, and, because most of the other shops and restaurants were shut (at noon on a Tuesday!), we stumbled into a pub, soaked by rain and ate there.

Warwick Castle was wonderful. It was a medieval castle, straight from the fantasy novels and computer RPG games that had captured my imagination over 10 years ago. Now, I was walking the grounds. A brief desription doesn’t do it justice, but nonetheless, a brief one is all I have time for. The dungeon was everything you’d expect it to be – dark and dank, only, it wasn’t a twisting labyrinth. Contained within was a “dungeon within a dungeon” – the oubliette. It was a small pit into which particularly disliked criminals would be shoved into (crouching room only), locked into and then forgotten (as the name implies, from the French, oublier, to forget). The opportunity to climb the battlements and parapets was also worthwhile. After climbing and descending 530 steep steps (most of them spiral) we gazed through the out from the crenellations on the castlewall over the misty countryside. We gazed down the murderholes to the ditch surrounding the castle, some 100 feet below. We walked the grand dining rooms, bedrooms and dining rooms. The armoury, a display entitled “Death of Glory” contained an “interactive” display of arms and armour. I felt how heavy a 7lb one-handed Great Sword was, and how taut a long bow’s bowstring was (up to 50 kilos of force needed to draw the largest bows! And archers could fire as many as 15 arrows a minute.)

Tomorrow we leave for Frankfurt, staying there very briefly before taking a train to Paris, France. Although the other have had negative impressions of England (or London, specifically), it is everything that I had expected. I have definitely enjoyed the heritage the place has offered.