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Written on August 20, 2006, and categorized as Secret and Invisible.
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I’ve been away for a few days in North Wiltshire on a Cotswolds Magical Mystery tour, and the kind man we were staying with took us around some lovely places in the damp English weather.

This the unassuming but pleasant-looking Liddell House, which used to belong to a Cambridge mathematics professor, Professor Liddell. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There (1871) are set here – it belonged to the parents of the little girl whom the author Lewis Carroll was obsessed with, for whom the stories of Alice were written and upon whom the character was based. Carroll stayed at the house periodically.

Went also to visit Burford Church, famous for being where the three leaders of the Levellers English roundhead rebellion were shot and buried in May 1649. For three days there over three hundred captured rebels were held captive in the church while their fate was decided.

In fact Cromwell showed leniency remarkable for the time by only doing away with the ringleaders and sparing one the turncoat, Denne, who ‘played the penitent so convincingly – “howling and weeping like a crocodile” – that he was reprieved’.* This plaque fairly recently fixed to the outside of the church commemorates the men, Thompson, Perkins and Church.

Antony Sedley managed to write his name on the font – nice bit of graffitti by a hungry man who probably imagined he was about to be executed.

Found these suspiciously pagan-looking statues in the wool merchant’s chapel, part of Burford Church – look at the leaves lapping up their stone carved bodies in waves.

These are quite unlike the very much more strictly Christian imagery found elsewhere in the church.

As we left, the church people who were setting up for some mystic event involving children and pyramids, were playing Genesis, as sung by Phil Collins, through a small P.A. I couldn’t tell if this was meant to be ironic or not. They all seemed very cheerful.

*M.B. from the leaflet sold by Friends of Burford Church, 30p.

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One Comment

  1. Indigobusiness
    Posted 23 August, 2006 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    In the middle of my art school education, I spent a year in Normal Illinois. I rented a studio that was the top floor of a derelict storefront on Main Street, above Nick Africano’s studio in adjoining downtown Bloomington.

    One day, at the library, I ran across a copy of The Annotated Alice. I was so smitten I fell into the habit at twilight of sitting on the fire escape -overlooking Main Street and the square where Lincoln gave his famous lost speech- reading The Annotated Alice to pigeons and passersby, and occasionally my girlfriend.

    My girlfriend seemed to like it, and the pigeons didn’t seem to mind, but the good citizens of Bloomington thought I was mad as a hatter.

    Alice was a very special inspiration, and an extraordinarily meaningful work of fiction. Thanks for posting the photo of the home of the girl who inspired it all.

    Nick Africano became a famous bigtime artist. I’m still sitting on fire escapes at twilight.

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