November 25th, 2010


Ocean Swimming - Monterey California

Setting: Modern-day, alternate universe / fictitious counter-part to Monterey, California

According to the data I've looked at (from various diving and oceanographic sites, the average water temperature in Monterey is around 55-degrees Fahrenheit or so, during the winter. That seems a little on the chilly side to me for swimming, but I don't live anywhere near an ocean. Can any locals tell me whether or not people swim in the oceans there during January?

Fifteenth-century England; hunting, and probable reactions to the Northern Lights

Setting: Westminster

Question 1: What would be an educated person's reaction to seeing the Northern Lights? Would the English reaction be different from that of the Scots or Scandinavians?

Question 2: I'm sending a king out on a day's hunting from Westminster Palace. Would there be enough suitable land nearby to allow a full-scale hunt? St James', Green and Hyde Park areas might do at a pinch... I'm thinking of hart or buck; it's got to be a fairly impressive quarry. If necessary I can send him out further than a half-day's ride; but where might be suitable? Surrey? Epping?

Books: Encyclopaedia of Magic and Superstition
Cummings: The Hound and the Hawk
Mortimer: The Time-Traveller's Guide to Medieval England
Myers: Chaucer's London

Search terms: various permutations of Northern Lights, reactions, medieval, portents
“royal forests” england medieval chase

Thanks in advance!

PS I'm on dial-up, and in country Australia that's... kind of slow, so Google Books and anything image-heavy are not really possible.

ETA: To clarify: About twenty years ago the Northern Lights were visible on the South Coast. IIRC it made the national news. I knew someone who saw them; I was so envious.

ETA 2: Epping! Thank-you!

Actual Military presence at a military boarding school

I have looked up military boarding schools enough to answer most of my questions but this one:

What is the probability there is actual members of the military there, in a normal situation? Not as teachers, but stationed there. If so, what sort of interaction would there be between the soldiers and the students (it is a coed school)?

If the situation changed and there is a lab associated with the school, which performs human exprimentation (on select students, not the general population), what might the interaction be?

And how might the soldiers treat the suvivors of said experiments?

I have one character who's been a student and an experiment, so I need both sides.

Thank you so much for any help - including further search terms.

ETA: I'm sorry I wasn't clearer. The students who are subjects of the experimentation are orphans or abandoned by their parents.