Nothing new has been published on the blog the past couple of weeks as Mika and I were on holiday in England from the 10th-25th of September. We stayed in London with our friends Des and Keith. This was Mika’s first trip to the British Isles. I lived there as a boy from 1968-1970 and went back for a holiday on my own in 2005. We had a really good time taking in various historic sites such as the Tower of London, the Monument, Westminster Abbey, Hampton Court, Handel House, the British Museum, the Museum of Natural History and the British Library. I will add I was a little disappointed with how commercialized London has become. The sense of British identity I remembered from my boyhood and wanted to see again really seems watered down in London in the present. There is a plethora of shops and kiosks where cheesy trinkets are hawked to tourists and some of the historic sites, notably the Tower of London, have the feel of a theme park to them. The next time we visit England we will take in more of the sites maintained by the National Heritage Trust as I understand these better represent British identity.
Mika and I are celebrating our fifteenth year together this month, August 2013. In all these years as a couple, we have never gone away together for a holiday. At long last, we are taking a holiday next month, a trip to England for two weeks. This will be Mika’s first visit to England. I lived in England from 1968-1970. I remember upon learning I would be travelling to England with my family imagining England was a land with castles where kings and queens resided and frequently ordered that people’s heads be chopped off. While this was true in the past, it happily was no longer the case by the late 1960s. In fact, capital punishment was no longer in use when I arrived in England with my family. Still, this is one facet of English history and law I find fascinating: the application of capital punishment. Judicial hanging was by far the most common form of execution in English history, although the cruel punishments of hanging, drawing and quartering, burning at the stake and beheading were practiced for centuries also. By the 20th century judicial hanging was the only method of execution (outside of the military where one could be shot at dawn) employed and the English had perfected its practice applying it liberally in executing people convicted of murder and high treason. Continue reading →