I just came from Prof Nelson’s lecture (a special event, the Gayley lecture, given once a year) and it was quite nice! I’m always amazed at how proficient Prof Nelson is with technology, and how ‘modern’ he is, given the way he looks and talks. He seems like the typical older absent-minded professor, but he drives a hybrid car, invites students over to his house and goes out to eat with them (I’ve been to La Val’s, Jade Villa, and Zachary’s with him), has a webpage, and proved tonight to be totally fluent with PowerPoint to an extent that many younger professors aren’t. What a delightful man. I’m very fond of him. He spoke on people contemporary to Shakespeare who owned extensive collections of books including Shakespeare’s works, and he included many funny or quaint anecdotes from his research. My favorites involved a man accused of adultery, because he read from the arguments given by the woman and a witness, and they were all in seventeenth-century-speak of course, so they sounded extra funny. Stuff like ‘Hee did reade to me of Bawdery.’ I don’t know if the spellings would have been quite that, but you get the idea. And there was a list he showed us that someone had made on the back of a letter, and the books he’d bought were under ‘Household Stuff.’ I had no idea people actually said ‘stuff’ back then. Here’s the description of the lecture.

I also enjoyed all the food aspects of the lecture. Prof Gallagher (Katherine or Catherine, I don’t remember), who writes very well and speaks less well (she reads, and that not very fluidly), introduced Prof Nelson, and in her speech she quoted a line from a Jack London science fiction novella, The Scarlet Plague: “I talked all the time, and for this, food was given me.” I love it. And after the lecture, there was a reception, with yummy food! I’ve never been to a reception at Berkeley that had bad food, but this food was especially pretty and nice, and we got actual china plates and cloth napkins. There was wine and bottled water (sparkling and non sparkling) and coffees and teas, and cheese platters with three kinds of Brie (mmmmmm) and little balls of cream cheese and Thompson grapes (which I’ve been craving) and pears and apples and red grapes, and other kinds of cheese which I didn’t try and one kind which I did try and didn’t find interesting. There were platters of buttered toasts which were lovely with the Brie, and platters of crackers, little buttery butterfly-shaped crackers and cracked-wheat and sesame seed rectangular crackers. And there were two kinds of dessert platters. One had candies, soft cocoa-covered ganache truffles and wrapped truffles and cherry clusters and bar cookies. The other had more bar cookies, and lemon meringue tarts which were wonderful (tender tarts filled with lemon curd and topped with a round dollop of meringue and a candied violet), and adorable tarts made to look like swans, with pâte à choux pastry bases and wings, and little pastry swans’ necks. It was amazing. I’ve never seen a reception like this, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. 😀 (Clearly!)

Now time to do work. I want more Brie.

[This post was imported on 4/10/14 from my old blog at satsumabug.livejournal.com.]