Contrary to Gershwin's song, it was not a foggy day in London town today, and I found that the British museum had lost none of its charm. Having joined the throngs looking at Egyptian mummies on my last visit (2007), today I wanted to focus on the history of Britain to help fill in the background to my historical travels over the next three weeks.
It's impossible to absorb it all, but a few things stick in my mind.
* A flint handaxe that's around 400,000 years old - the interesting thing for me, apart from getting my head around that time scale, is that it was found in Hitchin, in Hertfordshire, where my Crawley ancestors lived.
* A bronze cauldron and fleshhook from around 1000 - 700 BC. Partly it's the care and detail in the workmanship, but also the glimpse they give into domestic life. I wonder what foods were cooked in the cauldron?
* The unusual horned bronze helmet from around 100 BC - it might remind us of the Vikings, but its several hundred years earlier, and apparently the Vikings didn't wear horned helmets (that image comes from Victorian era operas!)
* The amazing torc comes from the same era and was found in a treasure hord (weighs 2 kg, made of electrum, an alloy of gold and silver).
* Lindow man - the preserved body of a man, possibly killed as a ritual sacrifice around 50 BC - 100 AD, found in a peat bog near Manchester.
* Etc, etc - fascinating stuff.
Tomorrow it's off to Norwich, stopping off to see Ely Cathedral on the way.