17 November 2009

Studying and Cambridge

Officially, I love Cambridge.... it was brilliant to visit the quintessential university town last weekend with Amanda.  She headed off to classes quite early, and I was able to wander around the town to my heart's consent.  The town was originally a Celtic and then a Roman stronghold, due to the easy ability to ford the Cam River.  The university in Cambridge was founded during the 13th century when dissident scholars left Oxford and established themselves in the well known market town of Cambridge.  After several centuries, the scholars at Cambridge were able to attract the patronage of several of the Tudor Kings and Queens of England.  This patronage resulted in some of the most important structures at Cambridge, including the fantastically high English Gothic chapel of Kings College as well as many of the medieval halls of several of the colleges.  

Travelling to Cambridge with Amanda was also wonderful, because she is a full member of St. Catherine's college (which is represented by the symbol of St. Catherine's martyrdom, the wheel upon which she was executed).  We both went to the formal hall dinner on Thursday evening, which basically means everyone who is a member has to dress in the formal robes.  The dinner was lovely, consisting of smoked salmon as a starter, duck with red cabbage and mixed veggies for the main, sticky toffee pudding for dessert plus a cheese board and port to round off the evening.  We also took our own wine for dinner, and Amanda is great about picking good wines.  

On the more mundane scholarly front, my research and paper regarding St. Mary Aldermary is going well.  I have a huge deadline for my final draft on this Friday.  I think I am in good shape, but am ready to be done.  The church itself is a wonderfully unique example of an ecclesiastical structure within the City of London.  [The square mile known officially as the City as distinct from the city of Westminster which is farther to the West and the other suburbs that have come to form the metropolitan area of greater London.] 

St. Mary Aldermary suffers from a general lack of research based on documentary evidence as well as a scholarly history rife with assumptions, repeated misinformation and generally poor written work.  Although several people have written very nice articles regarding the history of the structure, it has been very interesting to deconstruct previous scholarly arguments rather than just collecting information regarding a specific structure.  I think this assignment has been one of the more helpful in regards to methodological practices as well as just generally forcing me to evaluate my own writing standards.  

On the Thesis, work continues, but I definitely have a bunch of writing to do in the next few months.  I really need to get going, but it is so easy just to enjoy my life at the moment.  I hope to do a bit more work on it in the next few weeks that will really jump-start my progress before the Christmas Break.

Pics tomorrow - when I get a chance to sit down and pick some of the better ones.

1 comment:

  1. If you have an opportunity to attend one of the Cambridge balls in the spring (mid-June, as I recall), you should do so. It's a formal event, each college has one, and the ball lasts until dawn. Wolfson's ball had a Ferris wheel, bumper cars, and even those bouncy blow-up kids' rooms that you jump in. It was a hoot--bumper cars in ball gowns. Besides, Cambridge smells absolutely gorgeous that time of year--everything is in bloom. The lilac clusters are on steroids there!