Magna Carta, beautiful religious manuscripts, present buying

After much cloudyness and rain, we again are having lovely sunny spring weather.

We have found a new flatmate (an Italian woman who is an architect who consults on sustainability issues and seems lovely and interesting). She moves in around the 16th of June.

I bought some books during the week and am now reading 1215: the Year of Magna Carta by Danny Danziger and John Gillingham. I was attracted to it because I knew very little about Magna Carta and it gives lots of background information on what England was like in 1215 to explain various clauses in the charter (magna carter means the big charter). I’m learning a lot about English history. Unfortunately the book does assume the reader already knows their English history – with comments like: “…which hadn’t happened since Anglo-Saxon England.” and talks of Norman England which left me thinking: “well, when was that?” But yesterday I looked up on the internet and found out that the Romans were in Britain from around forty-something AD until the four hundreds. The Anglo-Saxons came in the four hundreds and ruled till the Norman invasion of 1066. The Anglo-Saxons were Germanic people (with a Germanic language) and the Normans spoke French. I’m liking learning about the History of where I live. I still haven’t been to the Museum of London but I plan to go there soon!

Where I work right now is in the same street as the British Library and it has a couple of copies of Magna Carta (I think there are only five copies left of the original). I bought the book 1215 from a bookshop across the road from the library! I’m enjoying the book and learning a lot.

During the week I went to an exhibition at the British Library during a lunchbreak. The exhibition is called Sacred and features lots of old religious books from Islam, Christianity and Judaism. There were some really beautiful books and illuminations and lots of really old books too. I didn’t have a lot of time and didn’t realise until I was reading the guide on the way home from work that day that the exhibition has a fragment from the Dead Sea Scrolls! I will have to go again – the exhibition is free. Inside the British Library is really gorgeous and I would like to go back and look at some of its ‘treasures’, like the Magna Carta.

Yesterday, Paul and I went into Soho and Covent Garden and did some shopping. We went to Hamley’s toyshop and I bought a cool present for my niece Lily who turns 3 next weekend. I bought her Clever Cogs, which is a collection of cogs with magnets on the back which you attach to something (like your fridge) and one of them has a battery which makes it turn and you join up all the others to it and they turn too. I hope she likes it. My sister Joanne (Lily’s mum) has said that Lily likes to play with the magnets on the fridge so I think she’ll like it. I also bought a They Might Be Giants CD of kids’ songs from a charity store a while ago which I’m sending as well.

I also bought a t-shirt from American Apparel. And Paul and I wandered around the area of Bank with its new office blocks and old fancy financial buildings and old churches. A pretty cool area that has been inhabited for 1000 years!

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