• Archbishop Cranmer’s lion heads have nice smiley faces.
  • In one manuscript from today, I found a pasted-in slip explaining the comments in “modern ink” on a particular folio as the work of a reader who was later convicted of malicious damage to the MS and sentenced at the Old Bailey to two months imprisonment, in 1891. You have been warned, I thought.
  • There sure are a lot of useful reference works I never knew existed. Indices to this, that and the other.
  • I had lunch with a medievalist I met at Kalamazoo . . . some year or other. I splurged on a big meal at the BL’s restaurant, and it did make it easier to keep going the rest of the day.
  • The lunchtime medievalist has a room in a flat in East London. While it would be nice to be able to cook, I so do not want to spend time and money on the Tube. I hate crowds, and I love being five minutes from the BL.
  • There are many things I love about the density of London (excellent public transportation, for starters, even if I avoid it in peak hours) but being kept awake by young carousers outside is not one of them, nor is being awakened by yobbeaux (I think the offenders are French) thumping up the staircase and slamming doors late at night. (OK, that has nothing to do with either density or the BL. Work on topic sentences, Dame.) I keep telling myself that the nature of hotels is that their inhabitants are transient; thaes overeode, thisse swa maeg.
  • When I left tonight, I was walking near an elderly man who looked just like an ex-colonel out of Agatha Christie, except for the earphones. I don’t know what he was listening to, but as he walked, he was declaiming in something that sounded rather like Old English. It certainly wasn’t any of the modern European languages I know or recognize. I suppose it could have been something else entirely . . . but the stresses sounded so familiar . . . and yet, you know, it’s simply TOO BL a sort of thing to happen. I probably hallucinated it. Not enough sleep lately.

One thought on “Random bullets of the British Library

  1. I *love* the warning about any “modern” marginal additions to mss! I’m glad you’re having fun at the BL…Dame, we must meet one day IRL – I’m interested in what you’re working on, etc!

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