Alfred Duggan on cities

runner, diners Toucan 217.JPG

“Nobody nowadays likes living in a stinking and crowded town, where there is no sport, and the presence of the clergy makes most people lead a far more Christian life than they are naturally inclined to.” (Cerdic, the protagonist of Alfred Duggan’s The conscience of the king (1951), describing Britain in the fifth century after the Romans left.)

Bernard Cornwell, in his Last Kingdom series, set in the ninth century, is interesting about how the Saxons and Danes lived within or outside the remaining stone, Roman, buildings and walls.

Returning to the theme of the quote, though, I am more convinced by the idea that Stadtluft macht frei. I have a friend who comes from a village where people who were having a lie-in felt obliged to set their alarms for 6, come down and open the curtains, and then go back to bed.

The photo was taken the Toucan, on chaussée de Waterloo in Brussels, last February.

Published by

Paul Hodson

Head of Unit "EnergyEfficiency" at European Commission, Directorate-General for Energy

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