Sunday, May 07, 2006

westward, ho

The last time I went to Bath I had a four year old and a two year old with me. What I remember about that visit, chiefly, were Christmas Trees around the Roman statues, Father Christmas at the Bath cathedral, a falconer downtown, and eating lunch at the Bath Burger King. It was drizzly and Christmastime, and we got Lord of the Rings action figures with our kids meals.

We went to Bath again this weekend, but the weather had slightly improved and I actually passed up the Whopper in favor of a baguette and some juice. Father Christmas was gone too, but we did see a gypsy telling fortunes and some guys playing Vivaldi's Four Seasons on the marimbas, which is basically the same thing.

I'm really impressed with the Romans. They built these baths centuries ago, and Americans still come to look at them. I'm impressed that the Romans were so clean. I know a certain nation of people, and I'm not naming names, who could stand to take a little lesson in bathing from the Romans. Again, I'm not naming names, but this nation of people have a tube system, and on that tube system you have to hold a pole over your head for balance, which requires you to extend your arms, which exposes your armpit, which I don't know if this group of people regularly wash. If we try to emulate Roman architecture in some of our modern constructions, might we not do well to also emulate their bathing capacities and rituals? I'm just thinking out loud.

Other places we went to this weekend included the Salisbury Cathedral, Old Sarum, and Stonehenge. Salisbury Cathedral has the highest spire in England. It houses one of the four remaining copies of the Magna Carta. There was an informative woman there who told me all of these fascinating things about the Magna Carta, and later admitted that she had made some of those things up. I appreciated her candor. I think tours are always more interesting if people make things up, because you gotta spice history up a little, savvy? One of these days I'm going to make up a big fancy tour and fill it with all sorts of decadent and shocking stories, and then when everyone has paid up I'll say, 'Well, I hope you all had a terrific time. And mostly I was just kidding.'

The English countryside is as beautiful as always. You forget. This time of year the rape is blossoming, which turns entire farms and fields bright yellow. Did you get a little nervous when I used the word 'rape?' It's a plant. They make oil out of it. It's really pretty.

When we went to Stonehenge I had an odd experience. I bet you are thinking it's something to do with aliens, because that would be something I would tell you about. Or druids. No. As I was walking through the entry to the park a Stonehenge employee was handing out pamphlets with history and points of interest on them. When she saw me, she grabbed my arm and said 'Excuse me, but I know you. Are you Chris Clark?' I told her that I was, and she told me that she was a BYU student and knew me from the theatre department. Her name is Tarythe, and she was in the dramaturgy major. We had a great chat, and she led Bob, Fallon, and me on a personal tour of Stonehenge. Isn't it strange to run into someone you know, or who knows you, in a different country? I had that experience this morning at church as well. There's George Tate. There's Dax Craven. There's David Sealy. There's Fallon, with bed bug bites all over her legs! (Gross.)