Friday, December 1, 2017

Hiraeth 2016: Dydd 11, Harry Potter in Lacock and Roman-Georgian Bath

We left Wales again (sigh) but saw some great places.

The A-Team
The village and abbey of Lacock, Wiltshire is mostly preserved in its bygone eras. It has been used as a setting for many a film and BBC series including, ta-dah! Harry Potter. Yes, welcome to Godric's Hollow:

If you throw some dirt, mud, and straw on the street, you can get to "Old English Village" pretty quick.
In the Abbey, a setting for Hogwarts

My wife has no intention of cooking up a Dark Lord
Some in our company would reenact whole scenes from the movies. It was very entertaining.
Then it was on to Bath. It's one of those "must do" tourist things in Britain, especially if you lived in Georgian times. The Roman baths themselves were the most interesting.

Pretty amazing this is still around from almost 2,000 years ago.
Bath Cathedral sits almost on top of the baths and the ancient springs.
It made me wonder how firm its foundation is.
They don't let you bathe any more. But you can get a drink of the allegedly curative, warm water as it comes more pure and directly from a spring. It is nasty stuff.

The Romans developed baths on ancient springs already sacred to the Celtic inhabitants (no Saxons yet). Sulis Minerva was venerated in a temple established by the Romans at Bath. And as the Romans were generally politically skilled and religiously adaptive, they fused the worship of Minerva with the local Celtic river god whose image can still be seen and will haunt me for the rest of my life.

Now, that's a river god! Go, Celts!
We wandered up the hill to see the curved, Georgian buildings. There were devotees of Jane Austin wandering about in period dress. Some of them were professionals to entertain and draw in tourists to their establishments. Others were apparently cos-play fans. I did not think it polite to intrude on their soliloquies

My wife not pretending she is Jane Austen at "the Circus."
The Royal Crescent at Bath.
The weir on the River Avon at Bath.
OK, first of all this is a different River Avon than Shakespeare's Stratford-upon-Avon.
The Saxon problem is that they fail to recognize that "Avon" ("Afon" in Cymraeg) means "River."
So they are calling them the "River River."
This is similar to the phrase found in many a statute or legal document, "the Rio Grande River."
Which means the 'River Great River." So, don't get me started! (I guess I already did.)
The best part of the day was when we got on the wrong highway to get back to Wales. We crossed the Severn on the old bridge and had great views of new new Severn Crossing (which was also a setting for Harry Potter as they camped under the bridge). This is the way to enter Cymru! (either bridge).

Severn Crossing.

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