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I Tend to Wander

This blog chronicles oddly-themed travel and food adventure in the Americas and Europe

Monday, March 13, 2006

Ordnance Survey Map 80/90, a Hunk of Gloucester Cheese, Several Pints of Bitter, and Thou in the Wilderness: A Valentine's Ramble in the Cotswolds

Oh look. How nice. The swash-bucklers at
  • Go Nomad
  • published
  • our Cotswolds story
  • . Really, a fine time was had by all. We stayed in Bisley-with-Lypiatt, that toddlin' town, an essentially English village containing a church, a shop, a school, and two pubs. With our Ziplocked OS map, we walked from tump to pub in an icy drizzle. We learned a great deal about tumps, burial mounds, rollright stones and Iron Age beacons from the piles of information at the All Britain All The Time web site
  • Britain Express
  • as well as the humble and encyclopedic Ralph Green who writes at
  • Cotswolds-Did You Know
  • .

    This photo of "Windmill Tump" is not ours, but taken by someone named Hamish in the spring of 2003 and posted on the web site
  • The Modern Antiquarian
  • a pool of probably pretty jolly and nap-sacked people who roam the fields clambering over Iron Age burial mounds and through thickets rumored to contain piles of rocks that were once Roman villas lying about in them to document them and sit on them in the sun and have a sandwich from the nap-sack.

    But we never found Windmill Tump. Zipping to Bisley in our rented Fiat Panda (which fit in our suitcase, when we didn't need it) we became tangled in a particularly tricky round-about and shot off in the wrong direction, toward Rodmarton, a great manor house with a beautiful roof full of crags and turrets and an impressive yew hedge twenty feet tall and perfectly pruned even the top. Just the hedge made us want to knuckle our foreheads. Rodmarton is where Arts and Crafts design was conceived and nurtured (Arts and Crafts' clean, nearly Oriental, lines inspired Frank Lloyd Wright.) but is currently keeping ends met by opening its snowdrop gardens to the yoemanry on Saturdays or so said a hand-written poster at the mouth of the sweeping drive.

    Rocketing through English country-side in the wrong direction, we consulted our highway map. What luck! The delightfully named "Windmill Tump" should be just right there in a field at the manor. With great hopes, and no idea what a tump might look like, clutching the map and hanging out the window, I kept up a steady and distracting string of exclamations like, "What's that!? That's it! Stop the car! That's it! No Wait!...That's not it. Is that it? What's that!? That's it!", Brian down shifted with his left-hand from fourth to first, and we cased the fields rolling away from us on this, one of the first sunny days of the English spring, but saw nothing that looked like what might be either a tump or a windmill.

    We turned in at the village of Rodmarton, which is just a cluster of cottages washed up at the foot of big house and its hedge with lots of budding rose brambles and snowdrops coming up and people in their gardens shoveling mulch. And we asked three people who said they'd never heard of Windmill Tump, so we became discouraged and gave up, trailing in to Bisley like we'd lost the first game of the season, only later did we discover that it had been right across the street with a tunnel you can climb in and an official sign, but we didn't know that then.

    Wednesday, March 01, 2006

    That Dress is You! Documenting Mexico's Past Present and Future Through Its Textile Art

  • Mexican Textiles
  • web site and the life, it seems, of its author Robert Freund weave (and that's really the best word for it) anthropology, history, art, and travel that is exhaustive in its documentation, scholarly into an insightful and beautiful to look at site. It's photo- and story-rich, a tapestry itself.

    Freund has lived in Mexico City since the '70's and dedicated his time to identifying and documenting not just the textile styles of Mexico's indigenous groups, but the lore attached to them.

    His biggest fear: Art, history, and culture sewn into dresses gets lost as tourism (no matter how eco), t.v., and jeans seep into a village and tribe's cultural reality.

    He's catalogued Mexican indigenous group alphabetically from the Amusgo of Oaxaca to the Zapatec of the Sierra Juarez, recorded audio of basic language, and video of dances.


    This photo of is from the photography site
  • TrekEarth
  • and was taken by Hadi Zaheer in Bamian, Afghanistan.

    The language Pashto is written like this: پښتو

    and is also called: paʂto, Afghan, Pathan, Pushto, Pashtoe, Pashtu, Pushtu, and Pukhto. It's the language spoken by the Pashtun people in Afghanistan and the western provinces of Pakistan.

    It is thought that about 45% of people in Afghanistan speak Pashtu, although it's hard to know exactly how many because Pathans are nomadic and tribal have a habit of secluding their women.

    It is speculated that Pashtu originated in the south of Afghanistan in what is now Kandahar province. Kandahar is, maybe, originally 'Alexandria' since the capital was founded by Alexander the Great around 400 BC.

    Kandahar is known for its pomegranates, grapes, and Taliban warlords. Oddly, there is a Kandahar in Sasketchewan, Canada by Big Quill Lake.

    Wikipedia says, "Some believe its name is derived from Gandhara, a nearby kingdom along the Kashmir Afghanistan border or even Gandar the seventh satrapy of the Persian Aechminid Empire." And who would argue?

    This Central Asian trading center, no matter what it's called, has been a strategic plum to a colorful stream of invaders: Abbasids, Turks, Muslims (although conversion didn't completely take and many Pashtun tribes still live by pre-Islamic codes), Arabs, Turks again, but different ones, Genghis Khan, Babur the Mughal, whose son lost it to Persia, but whose grandson won it back, the Sikhs, the Brits a couple of times with grim consequences, the Soviets, the Taliban, and now....the Afghanis?