Friday, March 04, 2005

Snow and Castles and the Universe

London has been thrown into chaos by a heavy snowfall this morning. It fell beautifully, stopped around 10am, lasted about 10 minutes, and then typically began to melt. By lunchtime it was raining and an hour after, the sun came out! Wait another hour, it might start snowing again.

There is a series on called Castle in the Country on BBC2. It's all about daily life at Glamis Castle (pronounced Glaahms), the Queen Mother's birthplace in Scotland. The presenters learn about maintenance, secret housekeeping tips, medicinal uses of trees and plants, and family recipes - as well as all the juicy stories surrounding life at Glamis. When Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon's father inherited the earldom of Strathmore, little did she know of the future which awaited her. During the First World War, the castle, as with many British country homes, was converted into a hospital. Lady Elizabeth kept an autograph book for soldiers to sign upon discharge. The presenter showed some lovely entries and sketches on a few pages, and then one shocking one from 1917 which elicited a gasp from me (until I reached the postscript):
May the owner of this book be hung, drawn and quartered.........................................
YES
Hung with diamonds, drawn in a coach and four, and quartered in the best house in the land.
So there you go. The Lady Elizabeth was courted by, and married, Prince Albert...In 1937 he ascended the throne as King George VI with his Queen by his side, and the royal couple moved into Buckingham Palace! What prophecy.

On to more plebeian thoughts...Although the Universe is a rather noble thing...
How many people have come up with a Theory of Everything? Last year I saw a documentary on it hosted by Professor Brian Greene from one of the eminent East Coast universities, who developed it in his book The Elegant Universe. Essentially, scientists are trying to combine Einstein's Theory of General Relativity (large-scale) with Quantum Mechanics (small-scale) in order to come up with ONE equation to explain the universe on all levels.
On Sunday I had a friend over for dinner and he was reading aloud from a book about Ken Wilber, a sort of psycho-spiritual guru who has also come up with a Theory of Everything. Of course, less scientific and more philosophical. It's hard to retain info while cooking, but I gathered that Wilber is seeking a holistic approach to body, mind, soul, spirit in every aspect of life...and the universe.

1 comment:

Rebecca said...

There was a theory some few decades ago, that said that by now we would indeed have a Theory of Everything. Personally I hope we never do. *Shudder*