That's really all I have to say, other than my observation that I almost can keep up on everything that I absolutely need to--email, blogs, etc.--in the one hour's worth of internet access a day that I'm willing to pay for. (This makes me concerned about the amount of time I spend on the internet when I'm not paying for it, but that's a worry I'll push to the back of my mind for now.)
I was rather expecting my time in the U.K. to be low-key: four or five hours of work a day, and then good times at night with the various friends and acquaintances who happen either to live here or to be overlapping with my visit. But lemme tell you: yesterday I got to the relevant archive late, and then spent the next five hours straight transcribing the longer and more important of the two MSS that I came here to copy. And when I say five hours straight, I mean five hours straight: did not use restroom. Did not take lunch break. Did not get up from chair. Today I did take a long, leisurely lunch with a friend-mentor who teaches nearby, but the three hours on either side of that lunch I spent similarly rooted to my chair.
On the positive side? I'm getting really fucking good at reading Secretary hand even in this tiny, cramped (and for the last few pages, increasingly lazy/sloppy) form. There are few words that I truly can't make out, although some do require my testing out different letter combinations on my computer screen to see what might produce something comprehensible. On the negative side? I'm transcribing at a steady rate of barely over two pages per hour. And this MS is more than 70 pages long.
Guess what? Ain't getting done on this trip.
Unrelated observations: every time I come here, I'm reminded of all the ways in which London isn't New York. Today I got stuck behind a crowd of freshly disembarked train passengers at Paddington, and despite the fact that it was EIGHT A.M. and everyone was in a suit and clearly had someplace to be, they all just shuffled slowly along like cattle, no one taking advantage of any openings in the crowd to slip ahead. Similarly, the staff in the coffee shops at Paddington apparently do not understand that their customers have trains to catch. I think I hissed 'Jesus CHRIST' under my breath about fifteen times this morning.
So far there are just two areas in which London emerges as the clear winner:
1. The men here love their suits, and I've seen some very handsome ones (suits, not men) in pinstripes and dark grey flannel. About women's fashions. . . well, I've admired several pairs of shoes, and the totally awesome brown-purple haircolor that one woman was rocking. That's about it.
2. Supermarkets. I especially love the small neighborhood versions of Sainsbury's and Tesco, where they have rows upon rows of appealing sandwiches and other prepared foods. Oh, and those mini bottles of wine with the screwoff caps.