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The knight before Christmas

December 20th, 2003 (10:05 pm)

current mood: satisfied
current music: noise of adverts on the TV

Well, I've started packing for the great 300-mile drive to my parents'. I must remember the presents. For the first time these include gifts for several of my cousins' children. They are still very to fairly small, and I'm glad that they like books.

Summary of the last few days? The office proved its usual pre-Christmas self. Without explaining any more, much of my work at the moment involves the compiling of lists. The more meaningful lists need checking against authoritative works, because it matters that they are good lists. The other lists are lists of subjects around which I have to build more of the meaningful lists.

As for my free days, on Thursday I meandered through too many hours as usual, sat down to research too late to do very much (although I now have a list of about 55 questions to ask of the first chapter of my thesis which, when answered successfully, should turn it into the first two chapters of a book, or a journal article or two, or some combination of the above) and on Friday went into London. I reached the station just as the train to London was pulling out, but rather than wait half an hour for the next one caught a train that was heading to the south coast with the intention of changing to a London train at Reading. At Reading, we pulled in alongside a London train, which set off just as my carriage's doors opened. There were loads of delays on the lines west of Reading so I had to stand around for fifteen minutes, and got into London only a few minutes before the train I would have waited for at the start of my journey.

After that I did get to the Public Record Office - sorry, the National Archives - and made use of the new National Register of Archives there. I miss the old building off Chancery Lane - the address, 'Quality Court', suggested to me a seventeenth-century housing development on the fringes of the City of London; the middle class could buy houses or rent apartments there in the hope that they would then be among the 'quality' - like the young men who went to study law at Lincoln's Inn opposite, perhaps. It had its arcane habits as well, such as signing in on entering the reading room. Now that it's part of the National Archives, in their 1970s-1990s complex by the Thames at Kew, the barcode swipe system at the gate takes care of that. There's more room though, and the shelves are less crowded. There's even about five metres of shelving still to fill, unusual in any library that I know.

The miracle there, though, was that a prominent private archive that I've used in the past have now placed a summary list of their holdings for my period in the NRA! This is a major step for them, as they have a reputation for holding the public in great suspicion. They still don't have a catalogue as such, or at least not a public one.

Afterwards I did some shopping - Oxford Street and Regent Street were thronged, and I retreated in strategic defence of my wallet at some of the prices in the classier/more pretentious menswear shops - and had a pizza with Clair. This was a civilized meal and we chatted about potentially explosive subjects in a fairly direct fashion considering we were in a packed restaurant surrounded by people. Clair used to go out with me and we can talk in a generally relaxed fashion about general weirdness, though she's the one to push the envelope.

I don't know if I'll get to post before the New Year, so, Merry Christmas and a Happy 2004! Back to packing...


Posted by: Polly (jane_somebody)
Posted at: December 21st, 2003 09:01 am (UTC)

I hope you have a very pleasant Christmas! Best wishes, from Skordh and Jane.

Posted by: Na'Lon (na_lon)
Posted at: January 1st, 2004 07:02 am (UTC)
Ah, I think I see...

Well, Parrot Knight,

I think I've figured it out now! See you tomorrow? (2.1.04) :)

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: January 1st, 2004 03:23 pm (UTC)
Re: Ah, I think I see...

Yes, I'll see you tomorrow - mid-afternoon, say, about 3?