We were off to Kings Cross (where we saw platform 9 3/4… we are obviously muggles because we were unable to get through the wall – no Hogwarts for us today!) and on the train to Grantham in Lincolnshire. Dave and I are teaching the girls the card game 500, and the games are getting quite competitive – a great way to pass the travel time. Brian, Dave’s cousin, met us and took us to his wonderful Great Wood Farm in Boothby Pagnell. A lovely farm, and he and Kathryn were wonderful to host us for a week. It was a great week of mainly down time – much needed after a month of pretty much non-stop on-the-go time. We enjoyed a family BBQ, seeing many relatives, helping Brian with the sheep and just relaxing. Jess even helped out at their daycare one day and had a blast (but found it “exhausting” – who knew looking after kids was so tiring 🙂 ) We also snuck in a trip to Lincoln to see Lincoln cathedral and castle. Well, Dave and I saw the castle (including the magna carta and victorian prison), the girls just hung out in the castle grounds and relaxed! And, to try to expand their scientific knowledge, we also visited Isaac Newton’s home where there was a really great museum discussing his theories and contributions to scientific thinking (the girls had to write a short essay on one of Newton’s laws!) – all in all a wonderful time. Thank you Brian and Katherine for a wonderful time.
William Hazlitt observed, in a culture where deference to class was accepted as a positive and unifying principle,  "Fashion is gentility running away from vulgarity, and afraid of being overtaken by it," adding subversively, "It is a sign the two things are not very far apart."  The English novelist Bulwer-Lytton remarked in passing, "Ideas travel upwards, manners downwards."  It was not the deeply ingrained and fundamentally accepted idea of "one's betters" that has marked snobbery in traditional European and American culture, but "aping one's betters".