The British Library is an amazing place to visit and not just for book lovers. The Library has so much more than just books; it is a treasure trove of collections, archives, fascinating manuscripts and just reeks of history. It was my first visit there and Mr.R and I spent a little time going through a fascinating exhibition called “The Writer in the garden”, an intriguing account of gardens through history, real and imagined and what writers thought of gardens, plants and horticulture in general.
Exhibition done, Mr.R took me to the Rare Books section – and it was like walking back in time. The BL has an amazing and incredibly fascinating collection of old (really OLD) documents and manuscripts, maintained beautifully. I was taken aback to see the Magna Carta (still can’t believe it’s the original!). Then there are ancient bibles, the gilt on the pages still intact, in languages that one reads about only in Dan Brown’s novels, diaries, Leonardo’s notebook, Music scores by Beethoven, Mozart, Bach……. Shakespeare’s work……..
Then there is the Indian section – the Rig Veda, diaries from Akbar’s court compiling an account of the Moghul reign, scriptures on delicate palm leaf with drawings, figures and writing – amazing!
I was deeply touched reading the diary of Robert Scott, the famous explorer. The diary is open to his last entry. He knows he is dying. “The end is near”, he scrawls with a pencil. It’s touching and very sad. What must it be like, I wondered, to know that the end was near and there’s nothing you can do about it…
Anyway, that was about my first visit to the BL. I’m sure there will be many more in the coming days.
Finally caught up with pending correspondence to friends left behind. I’ve decided that I’m going to use this time that I have in England to do everything I wanted to do. It’s an opportunity I may never have again, to be young and free. At this point in my life, I have everything and I have Time. So, I am going to look at that list of ‘Things to do before I die’ and do some of it. To begin with, I’ve been spending time writing fruitfully; atleast that’s going well.
Who knows what the future holds – but a good beginning has been made.