Thursday, June 5, 2008

My job is cool

I mentioned in an earlier post that while I'm doing my scant three days of research in London this summer, I'm going to add in a trip out to Windsor to look at a manuscript there. I am now totally psyched to do this.

First of all, with a little research detective work I was finally able to track down more about the manuscript and it's chock-a-block full of the sub-genre I'm looking at (not just the one piece I knew about), so even if it doesn't quite have the provenance I think I'm concentrating on, it's an interesting manuscript and so I'm still going to go see it, and look at the bits that haven't been edited. At this point I'm not sure where this project is going, but now that I'm tenured and feel less pressure to produce a certain outcome, I feel the leisure to follow leads and tangents and hope that they'll end in serendipitous discoveries.

But what's really cool about this is that I'm going to be spending the day with a manuscript in a freakin' castle, which also still happens to be an active royal residence. How awesomely cool is that? I mentioned before that I have to pay for entrance to the castle, but I'm not entirely sure that's the case anymore. But I did have to fill out a day pass application form in advance so that they can do a security check on me (because it's a royal residence and all), and on the day of my visit, my pass will be waiting for me with a police officer. OK, I know it's not top level intelligence classification, but I still feel kind of wickedly special. And did I mention it's a castle? And the archives are in a part of the castle called the "Vicar's Undercroft." And the archivists all have very English names of the Rupert Giles type. And work in a castle. In a castle!

So next time some random person asks me what I do for a living, I'm going to say I read medieval manuscripts in castles. And if they want to think I slay vampires, too, that's cool with me.

9 comments:

TheCrankyProfessor said...

Coolness!

The Pastry Pirate said...

oh, great... before, i was consumed with envy because you were going to spend some time in london. now... now... it's too much... i'm opening my veins with my tournee knife right now...

Stephanie Trigg said...

Hey. I spent a day there last year, and would strongly advise not travelling down there in the morning of your day, but go and stay at Windsor the night before. The trains are often slow, and there is quite a palaver about getting your pass and going through security and all. And apparently they often have to close the archives early if there are royals in residence for security reasons, so the working day there can be very short indeed. Good luck!

p.s. I blogged my day, briefly, here: http://stephanietrigg.blogspot.com/2007_04_01_archive.html

Virgo Sis said...

My two cents (pence) to add to Stephanie's advice. The Anne Boleyn obsessed travel writer in the Star had huge troubles with the train in the morning, and ran into hordes of commuters and couldn't get on trains because of the crowds. Sounded like the subway.

Susan said...

I once did a morning's work at Arundel Castle, and it was cool -- though even centuries ago they charged me L5 for 1/2 day! That was close to a week's food money when I was working on my diss. . .

But still, it sounds cool.

Dr. Virago said...

Stephanie and Sis - thanks so much for the pointers! I may end up purchasing a copy of the microfiche of the MS, which will also make up for any lost time. As it is, I'm kind of doing a blitz visit, even with all travel precautions taken.

Dr. Virago said...

Oh, and Stephanie, having just read your post, I have to say -- Hey, I know one of those select medievalists you invited to your picnic (the second one)! What a funny little surprise to go to your blog entry and see one of my old friends!

Anyway, if I don't spend the night in Windsor -- if that's not feasible -- I'll be sure to head out very, very early.

tenthmedieval said...

I had a student once who lived in the Tower of London. They probably still do; their father works there and gets his accommodation as part of the job... It took me a while to work out that this didn't give them some kind of head-start and stop expecting too much from them :-/

Insurditate vero said...

Oh, Windsor is just splendid! I have to echo the comments, though - go out very early.

The real hang-up is the Slough-Windsor train. It's easy enough to get to Slough, but the Slough-Windsor train runs on one track. The annoying thing is it only takes about 3, 4 minutes to get to Windsor, but the train will sit at the station for 30 minutes before making the (equally short!) trip back, so if you just miss the train at Slough, have a book handy as you'll be sitting for thirty minutes.

At the very least, see if you can't manage time to visit St George's Chapel - just splendid.

I found it quite amusing that visitors could walk across the grave marker indicating where Henry VIII and Charles I are buried. (Yes, I'm quite sore at Henry for the Dissolution, I'll admit.)