Saturday 16 April 2011

The Increasing Velocity of Time and Stumbling Over History

WEDNESDAY: I know I keep going on about my lunches, but I've been distracted from the main purpose of my blog because I've been completely absorbed during my lunch half-hour in a book. It's A Popular History of Sheffield by J. Edward Vickers. It's not because of the writing style, especially Mr Vickers' irritating habit of ending all of his interesting facts with exclamation points! And as the book was written in 1978 it's not completely up to date.

But because I've been living in a historic city, not to mention a historic country, I've become much more interested in history itself than I ever was. More on that in a minute.

My sandwich today is crawdad tails and avocado with horseradish, sun-dried tomatoes, and the tiniest touch of mayonnaise. It's mighty fine, like a stroll through the Garden District of New Orleans, or a barge cruise through the Bayou with green moss hanging from the trees. Fruit is a colourful mix of clementine, kiwi, apple, and mango. Hot diggity dawg!

TUESDAY: Oops, it's the following Tuesday -- funny how time slips away. Everybody I know has noticed that time seems to be going by faster than ever before. And the age of the observer seems irrelevant, as friends from the age of 25 through 63 have noticed the same thing. I think it's probably the 21st Century, with an overabundance of information everywhere constantly blasted into one's face and not enough time to assimilate even a fraction of it. Or else the earth is spinning faster, which is always possible...

My sandwich today is Normandy Camembert with a touch of Danish blue cheese, pine nuts, red pepper and spring onion, basil, cayenne, and black pepper. It's a European Union of a sandwich.

Returning to the subject of history: I've blogged before about how history is much more interesting and relevant when one lives in a castle-ruin-strewn country like England as opposed to where I grew up in a 1950s suburban Southern California enclave. But while I've been reading this history of Sheffield I keep physically stumbling upon the same history I'm reading about. For instance, after my friend Trevor and I walked along the Sheffield and Tinsley Canal out to Attercliffe and Carbrook Hall, the very next week I happened to read about the history of Carbrook Hall and about the industrial days of the canal. And a couple of weekends ago, after making a brief visit to the Walkabout in town to see the huge crowd of India fans cheering on the cricket, I read about what this giant Aussie pub had once been: a Methodist chapel that John Wesley himself had come to Sheffield to set up. On a recent night I saw a ballet at the Lyceum Theatre in Tudor Square, and the next day I was at work eating a sardine sandwich, fully expecting that I was about to read about the history of the beautiful Edwardian theatre, as well as the recent history of the building in which I work.

Not only am I living in a historic city, but I keep bumping into its history even when I'm not looking for it.

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