Wednesday, November 17, 2010

15th Century Newark

Yesterday, Ashley and I were taken to the town of Newark for the afternoon, about a twenty minute drive from Grantham, by our meet-a-family parents Ray and Pat. They wanted us to experience a "real" English town full of history so that we weren't under the impression that all English towns were like Grantham - dull and poor. As far as English towns and villages go, Grantham is one of the most unheard of around the country, and for good reasons. There is nothing there except charity shops, a few stores, and lots of people in the Royal Air Force.

Ray and Pat picked us up before lunch and drove us to Newark, a town that was in the county of Nottinghamshire, that had been in existence since the 15th century. They took us on a "Civil War Walk" that lead us to all the historical buildings and a fallen down castle that dated back to the English civil war with Charles I. We walked around the tour, with Ray and Pat giving their commentary to certain architectural differences between the old and new buildings. We explored the town and enjoyed the beautiful November day. Ray and Pat were very funny in that they needed to comment on everything around us, even though Ashley and I both new a lot from British Studies. But we still enjoyed it.
Remnants of the castle in Newark destroyed in the Civil War

The Beal's treated us to lunch in a small cafe that was in one of the buildings from the fifteenth century. We really enjoyed that because the lunch was not only delicious, but we had fun being inside a building that old. The stairs to the upper level were slanted and all the original oak paneling was still there. We sat and enjoyed our lunch and had great conversations as usual. Our main points of discussion were times around WWII because that's where we're up to in British Studies and Ray and Pat both were alive, though young, during that time. It was great to discuss with them things that they remembered in reference to what we had been learning. We also had great discussions over racism and the difference between Americans and Britons from now and then. Ashley and I had noticed whilst in Paris that mixed-race couples were extremely common and un-thought of. Again, our conversations were extremely enlightening and thoroughly enjoyable.
The upper floors of the cafe we ate in dating back to the 1400's

We finished our afternoon exploring the town center and listening to a jazz group that was hanging out in the square. Both Ray and Pat thanked us for being here because they would never have done the tour if we hadn't been there! Last time we met with them, they had said that they felt really lucky with having Ashley and I paired with them, but I think the opposite is true! Ray and Pat have been some of the most generous people I've met and I've absolutely loved the few times we've gotten to spend together. We have one more meeting with them at the end of the semester (a mere two weeks away!) which will be bittersweet. I definitely know that I'd like to keep in contact with them after I leave, even if it's just a letter here and there. They've certainly helped shape my experience while being here at Harlaxton!

1 comment:

  1. Very cool that you are meeting new friends on the other side of the world. It sounds like your having an amazing time.