This entry is dedicated to…
NF, who changed my life… forever
KT, who is the only other lichenphile I've met
TJ, who was almost killed by a whale

The rest of the week was relatively uneventful as I began to figure out what I was doing.

I fried some gold-plated electrodes using the Sea Salt of Science and water that was, originally, crystal clear (I'll speak more about this later.)…
…I poked around campus some more…
…I discovered the most fantastic handicapped bathroom ever…
…I had a romantic Indian dinner by myself…
…I continued to poke around Bristol…
…and, come Saturday, I went to Wales.

I found myself leaving later than I'd hoped to: I'd woke up at ~5:53AM in excitement and then slept later than I'd meant to as a result. I was skiddadling down Blackboy Hill along Whitelady Road, trying to figure out whether I'd be able to catch the last car of the train with a running leap, when the bus pulled up. Heaving a sigh of relief, I climbed aboard. The kind driver took my money; gave me change. I sat down and the bus flew off… in the wrong direction.

To get to the rail station, we had to take every possible curve and loop and, at every stop, the annoying driver would count out, with slow certainty, everyone's change. Finally, though, we made it and I did catch the train without needing to take a flying leap.

An hour later, I arrived in Cardiff, capitol of Wales.

Walking at random, I found an 800-year-old church on the one day a year its tower was open to climb.
Inside, I saw the big bells, made by pouring molten metal into molds containing hay and horse manure, for that sweet, pure sound. In the distance, a castle beckoned to me.
But, when I got closer, I found that the castle was not free on this particular day and, feeling poor, I stole around the outside instead.
Slipping past the Welsh army, I slunk down into the bushes by the moat…

But found it was still a formidable barrier…


Daunted, I retreated to the safety of the National Museum. Where I discovered the skeleton of a juvenile humpback whale that had perished whilst trying to enter the castle…

…or whose body washed up on shore twenty-five years ago.

It was, obviously, almost the coolest thing ever.
The coolest thing ever was the museum's exhibit on the Lichens of Wales.

Okay, so it was only a single display, but, when it comes to lichen-publicity, sometimes you have to take what you can get.

Beautiful…
The museum also had a Darwin exhibit which meant I finally got to see some of the 15,000 tribolites whose changes are said to support the theory and the famous English moths, whose colour adaptation in response to coal-burning provided the classic case study for micro-evolution. The museum's also leading up a research project to chart changes in snail's shell colour in response to global warming (which we'll come back to later).

Feeling somewhat sick by this time, I went to the park to have a sit down and, while there, watched the most amazing thing…

The Matrix was real.

While his young padawan looked on…
…Master Splinter demonstrated the techniques.

Then the student became the Master…

And there was nothing to do but sit back and enjoy.

As the sun began to set over the castle, I figured it was time to leave.
So I found my way back to the train station and, a couple hours later, was back at home.



Check if this is a private message just for Richard:


Mom - Tuesday, July 21, 2009 at 15:57:28 (PDT)
Wow, amazing adventures here--I'm sure glad you didn't persist in trying to enter that castle--we wouldn't have wanted your bones on display, next to the whale, as a poor Am. backpacker resembling Jesus.

Nikki - Monday, July 27, 2009 at 13:49:20 (PDT)
Richard, I would like to see the lichen museum picture closer! ^_^

home - Saturday, December 24, 2016 at 16:02:02 (PST)
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