Sunday, May 22, 2016

Connecting the Dots

We took a fabulous day trip to Stonehenge and Bath yesterday. The ancient stone circle was as beautiful and enigmatic as ever, and the walk there through the forest and rapeseed fields was breathtaking.

It was a little cold and drizzly, but I wouldn't have missed this walk for anything.

The stones never disappoint. A mysterious prehistoric structure that took hundreds or thousands of years to build must have had an extraordinary unifying purpose, with a plan carried out generation after generation, sustained by a community of people working together.

Next stop was Bath. These are the Roman Baths discovered in 1880. It's amazing to think that Jane Austen would have been living and working here in the late 1700s and early 1800s, still with no idea this entire bath and temple ruins were there, 20 feet below street level.

One of the more fascinating parts was this section, where you could see entire layers of history marking the walls. You can see where the Rimsn bath was, and where the Norman monks built their own hot springs bath on top of it, then Victorian buildings atop that. The stains on the walls show the water level on the pump room in Regency times. It wouldn't be fully excavated for another hundred years.

From this vantage point we could piece together so much history in a way that all came together and made sense. It reminded me of the way the restored gospel helps us piece together eons of religious history and suddenly it all makes sense.

Bath is an utterly charming city and we wished we had more time exploring there.

One final observation on the National Health in the UK: On our way to Stonehenge, about ten minutes away, there was some heavy traffic and then we came to a stop. Probably 30 cars gave up and turned around and left. It turned out there was a bad motorcycle accident up ahead. Once all the cars turned around we were near the front and could see exactly what was going on. There was a guy who had been thrown off his bike and was lying face down on the pavement in the middle of the road. No one wanted to risk moving him for fear of a neck or spinal injury, so they stopped traffic and left him there. For TWO and a HALF HOURS. That's right--police got there after about an hour. They called for an ambulance, which arrived after two hours--just a little station wagon mini ambulance with no ability to move the victim. It took another forty-five minutes for a real ambulance to show up and clear the accident scene. The guy could have died!

I didn't mind waiting there--I had my sketchbook and the scenery outside was beautiful. But I was stunned at the slow response time by the national health to an "emergency."

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