By the time I left England last summer, I had already decided that I wanted to go back to Grasmere this February. I knew I wouldn't be able to go to the next summer conference, but I wanted desperately to go back for something, which left the Winter School. It's shorter, and therefore slightly less expensive, and that seemed to me to be justification enough.
The trip over was much less bewildering this time. My flight into DFW was delayed a bit, which meant I had to hurry to catch my connecting flight to Gatwick, but that was as close as I came to having any kind of trouble. My luggage didn't even get lost.
I had a few hours to kill in London, so of course I went to the British Library again. Gawain and Chaucer were no longer on display, but they'd been replaced by the Beowulf manuscript (squee!). It was open to the part where Beowulf brings Grendel's head back to Heorot. I did notice a sign this time that said "no pictures," so ... no pictures. Sorry, Heidi. The Lindisfarne Gospels were also on display, open to one of the fabulous carpet pages.
Other stuff I was excited about: John Milton's "commonplace book," open to a page where he had made some notes about good and bad monarchies; one of Jane Austen's notebooks, with a dedication to her sister Cassandra; a manuscript copy of Jane Eyre, open to the page that says, "Reader - I married him"; a manuscript copy of Handel's Messiah, open to the Hallelujah Chorus; Lady Jane Grey's prayer book; manuscript copies of lyrics for the Beatles' "Yesterday" and "In My Life." It's overwhelming to walk through the exhibit and see so much history, literary and otherwise, in one place. You know you're not in Kansas any more when there's a whole section of the exhibit just for "Historical Documents: Tudors."