Tuesday I started a run-through of my draft talk on the Battle of Verdun, however, after 60 minutes I had been through the strategic decision making process for the two adversaries and just got to the initial German bombardment so I stopped. The talk is 90 - 100 minutes long; 60 minutes just on events leading up to the battle, maybe I have too much. Back to the drawing board. As of this morning I have seven days to rejig this.
Yesterday was something completely different. I attended the University of York's Centre for Lifelong Learning course on "Defending York". This was a three hour talk on the development of the castles (yes, York had two, one on each side of the River Ouse) and the city walls, from the initial Roman Legionary Fort to the English Civil War. Much of the city walls are built on the Roman foundations and follow its pattern. After the Norman Conquest, York became the main seat of government and the King's power in Northern England so during the Medieval period the walls were rebuilt and extended to such an extent that York has been besieged but never stormed. A very interesting way to spend an afternoon. There is a second talk in May on the Siege of York in 1644 for which I should book a place.