The archive innocent was back today. Just before he left with a digital camera full of images for his project, he exclaimed, "This is brilliant! I think I'm going crazy!" I know how he feels. Archives will do that to a person.
I'm not getting enough exercise here, so I took a walk this morning to find the childhood home of the person I'm researching. It was a bit arduous, but I found it. And then it was a bit arduous to figure out how to get onto its grounds, but I found that too and then did my very best "if you look like you know where you're going, no one will stop you" confident walk about the property.
In the afternoon, one of the special collections librarians stopped to talk to me (after several days of barely registering my presence--which brings up a story that I don't have sufficient battery life to tell but will, if someone reminds me, offer another time). When I mentioned I'd ventured out to the house this morning, he asked whether I'd looked around inside it. Within a few minutes, he had decided to call the warden of the house to ask her whether she'd show me around tomorrow. It now looks as though I have a plan for the afternoon.
On my way back to the hotel, I stumbled upon a terrific example of one of my favorite kinds of English domestic architecture: the crescent. Royal York Crescent, to be exact.
I found my way to its pedestrian terrace and was able to catch excellent vistas of Bristol--at long last. (We don't really have vistas in Cambridge, because we don't really have hills.) As I walked along the terrace, I also found the plaque that offered me some explanation of where I was. In the window beside the plaque stood a stuffed dog.
Only a good 30 seconds after I'd taken this picture did the dog shake himself and turn to look at me. I didn't fully understand why the dog was acting as he was until I realized that a white-haired, white-bearded man approaching me on the terrace (you can see him in the picture below--I passed him both coming and going on the Crescent) was the dog's owner. Fortunately he didn't seem to mind that I'd just taken a picture of his home.
Just before I reached my hotel, I passed another white-bearded man; he was talking to a younger man. The younger man said, "What's your name again?"
"Santa," said the white-bearded man.
All three of us laughed.