Thursday, August 12, 2010

7:30am Wednesday August 11, 2010

I am sitting in the courtyard of St Briavel’s castle where we spent the night last night. I t is cool but the sky is blue with wisps of white clouds; a nice change from the rain yesterday. The weather hasn’t been that warm since we got here and it has rained off an on each day. Evenings are usually the best.

St Briavel’s castle is a youth hostel. It was built in the 1200’s as a hunting lodge for King John. He was the one nobody liked because he wanted more power and money than his subjects wanted to give him. The Magna Carta was signed by him. His castle is in ruins now and the only areas still intact are the Royal apartments. We are staying in a room on the bottom floor of the east tower called the Oubliette. It is a hexagonal shaped room with a fire place and two charming recessed windows.

We arrived last night in time to join in the castle’s Medieval feast. Tom, Rhys and I dug up costumes from the chapel. Julia declined a costume. Almost everyone at the feast was dressed for the part. We were served gruel, (a pureed soup, thank goodness) sausages, roast beef, roast chicken and several interesting roasted veggies. For dessert we had a baked apple with custard sauce. We were the evening’s entertainment. Throughout the evening, two guests who sat at the head table would pull a number that corresponded to one at your place and you had to rise and entertain the group. This horrified Rhys and Julia. Julia managed to tell a riddle. I rescued Rhys as he looked like he was going to throw up if he had to stand. There were several families there and all in all it was a fun time.

After the meal, the kids ran off and the couple next to us told us about our room. Apparently, they had been staying in our room the night before and had moved. They story already sounds good, doesn’t it? You see, Oubliette means “Forgetting”. It turns out that under the carpet of our room (we haven’t checked yet) there is a trap door. After the Magna Carta the king could not indiscriminately kill people he didn’t like so he created a “forgetting” place. Under the trapdoor is a very deep cellar where the king would throw people away and “forget” them. Isn’t that lovely? They found out because there was a light left on and one of the kids noticed it. They knelt down to look and saw a foot! Apparently, there is a fake skeleton down there or so they were told when they politely inquired as to the contents of the room beneath the Oubliette. They asked to move as the kids couldn’t sleep after that. We decided NOT to tell the children until we were leaving. I slept rather lightly last night.


Old Sarem

Old Sarem was a big hill with castle ruins on them. It was a great place for a castle, because you could see for miles all alound you and your enimies were always exposed.

Different castle rooms.
The dungeon- The word Dungeon comes from the Latin word Donjon witch meant ‘Lords room’ the lords room was the safest room in the castle. Soon they put their prisoners in their and it turned in to the jail. They decided to change the name from ‘Lords room’, Donjon to ‘Jail’ Dungeon.
The bathroom- They did not have indoor pluming, so the king would sit on a hole and poo and pee would go I to a deep pit. When the king left leaving the toilet unused a peasant would be lowered in to the deep pit and clean it out.


Theese stones were being but up around the same time the pyrimids of Egypt were being built. They were carried all they way from Ireland and the biggest one was 7 tons. The stones are called ‘Bluestone’ the reason they had to have those stones in because when you touch them they are warm. They were built in an intresting form. A circle, so that in July the sun shone through the 7th colom and so on and so forth.


Avebury was a cool henge. It was a huge circle of stones. We didn’t even walk around the whole thing! This time you were aloud to touch the stones. They felt warm, they were supposed to.

Magna Carta

The magna carta was a law, written in Latin, saying that the king could not just do whatever he wants. What happened is the Barrones the made the Magna Carta met the king half way and showed the king their laws. The king approved. When the Barrons backed down the kind turned his back and went to the bishop to say ‘everything should be back in my power, their should be no Magna Carta!’ When the Barrons found out they were obviously outraged. That’s how the Civil War started.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

In Bath, on the first day, we visited royal crescent, then split up and the girls looked at dresses or something, and we went to the museum of Bath works, then we got back together and looked at the roman baths. Royal crescent had all sorts of interesting things and ideas, like servants quarters and masters rooms with secret servant doors. It had all sorts of portraits of lots of people…. At the Bath works museum, there were lots of old machines J and metal gears and junk on shelves J and I thought of what I could make… with those… parts… … and then we went to the Roman Baths. At the baths, there were lots of different sections, the sacred pool, (scorching hot) the grand pool, (hot) the east baths, (really hot) and they had these hot floors (hot) that were hot enough to burn your feet without sandals. We couldn’t go into the pools because they were untreated, coated with lead, and 46ยบ C. The Romans didn’t know that lead was poisonous around year 0. They threw curses etched into a piece of lead into the pool, mostly about stolen items. An example would be: Please have the person who stole my coat’s eyes poked out, and their arms ripped off and bleed eternally, unless they return it to your temple.