I had a lovely couple of weeks recently. I was lucky enough to have one of my best friends from Canada visit me at the start of her grand tour of Europe. She arrived safely, but without her baggage, which was lost in the flight transfer. Unfortunately it took almost three days to get her luggage back, even though the airline knew it was in the UK the evening of her arrival. It was Valentine’s day when Kelsey arrived so I made steak salad for lunch and toad in the hole for dinner (and we had cupcakes to celebrate the occasion). I had to work all week, but we got to spend the evenings together walking around the city and having supper and on the weekend we went on a trip to Cardiff. We went out the Friday night to visit Janice at her new place of business – the illustrious flaming grill establishment called The Old Colonial. Flaming Grills are pretty similar to a Kelsey’s in Canada – pretty mediocre. Janice looked very cute in her black and orange uniform and Kelsey and I played on the quiz machine (and lost badly) while we waited for Janice to be done her shift. Frankly I maintain the pub quiz wasn’t a fair contest because of the random British celebrities and politicians that we’d never heard of… we were unfairly handicapped!
Later the next week Kelsey made some day trips by herself to the lovely city of Manchester with its Victorian edifices and fantastic museums, and Kelsey came back wishing she’d gone to university at the beautiful Manchester University campus! She also visited the sweet town of Lincoln with its Cathedral and famous (and not so sweet) story of Little Saint Hugh who was a nine year old Christian boy whose body was discovered down a well in 1255. His death began a blood libel after a local Jew admitted under torture to killing the boy. The man was executed but due to the political situation at the time, almost one hundred Jews were arrested and held in the Tower of London for being involved with this ‘ritual murder.’ Some of these people were hung for refusing to take part in a Christian trial but the remainder were set free eventually. This is an event I covered in one of my seminar classes at university about the History of Satan and really shows how the prejudice against the Jewish population could spiral out of control. The story is best known through Chaucer’s The Prioress’s Tale (in case it sounds familiar and you don’t know why!) Here’s a quote:
“O yonge Hugh of Lyncoln, slayn also
With cursed Jewes, as it is notable,
For it nis but a litel while ago,
Preye eek for us, we synful folk unstable,
That of his mercy God so merciable
On us his grete mercy multiplie,
For reverence of his mooder Marie. Amen.”
That Friday the three of us went out for dinner – we tried originally for the only Vietnamese restaurant in the East Midlands (to keep in the tradition of the lunch dates Kelsey and I used to have back home) but found that it has since closed and thus settled on a Japanese restaurant. Their raman bowls were pretty good, but a bit overpriced. We had a night out in Nottingham afterwards and met up with one of Janice’s friends from work as well as a Canadian living in Leicester and the next morning, Kelsey set out of the bus for Heathrow airport to fly to Munich. So long and come back soon!