As a person of messy mind and habitat, I’ve enjoyed reading Tim Harford’s book Messy recently.
Ordinary, unremarkable life is the norm for most places and most people. But sometimes stuff happens, even in remote villages like Little Wigborough, a habitation on the salt marshes of the Blackwater estuary in Essex.
That the Thames once seethed with traffic and that London was once the biggest, busiest port in the world are not quite believable statements in the twenty-first century. The London Thames today is less an artery, more an interruption, a scenic feature rather than the city’s lifeblood.
Like a library in a dream or romance, Thomas Plume’s Library is reached via a stone spiral staircase. Low light and low ceilings, bookcases of solid oak, displays of ancient bindings, oil paintings with muted tones: a pocket of 18th century spacetime somehow enduring on Maldon High Street.