“…and in a yellow taxi turn to me and smile…”

As the Dennis DeYoung of medievalism-themed blogs, “Quid Plura?” loses its voice from time to time, only to come screaming back amid synthesizer-fueled fanfare. These days, I’m working on two books, one of them a translation of a medieval poem, but blogworthy medievalism is never far from my mind—because I live in what is arguably the most medieval neighborhood in Washington.

I’ll show you what I mean. First, hike uphill through my substitute for a back yard, a nature conservancy named for a 13th-century Welsh market town…

…to emerge beneath the watchful eyes of these elementary school elves…

…before we hurry past the castellated, gargoyle-festooned (and recently shuttered) preachers’ college…

…to explore the grounds of our neighborhood English Gothic cathedral (shown here pre-earthquake)…

…with its thriving garden devoted in part to Walafrid Strabo, tutor to Charlemagne’s grandson…

…and decorated with a medlar tree right out of Chaucer and a worn capital from the monastery of Cluny, all of it just footsteps from a tree grown from the Glastonbury Thorn…

…and across from an apartment house with a Gothic, grotesque-festooned facade.

Touring romanticized reminders of medieval culture can be tiring, so trudge downhill and relax with a pot of mussels and Belgian beer at a joint named for a mash-up of the Merovingian Saint Arnulf of Metz and an 11th-century saint from Soissons.

Last week, I stopped to gawk at a troupe of Morris dancers outside a nearby pub, and sometimes there’s a bust of Dante in a shop window down the block—but why chase them down? I won’t soon run out of material, and this unlikely pageant of saints, gargoyles, and European ghosts only makes it easier to work on medieval-themed books. Even in a neighborhood where few others hear them, the echoes of the Middle Ages never end.

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