tree_and_leaf: Spire of St Pauls Lower Manhattan surrounded by taller buildings (church in the city)
A mixed bag of a week, really. I've been getting a fair bit of reading done for the coming term; at the moment I'm wrestling with Maximus the Confessor, who is hard going (particularly as I'm not used to Eastern theological vocabulary), and trying to make sense of his ideas about gender and how the difference of sex in humanity is transcended in Christ. Unfortunately, although he repeats it several times, he never expands on the point. I'm not sure whether he thinks that (a) femaleness is defective maleness and therefore overcome by incorporation of women into the body of Christ or (b) that maleness and femaleness are both accidents and therefore, although to have a sex of some kind is proper to being human, neither is more or less human* or (c) that Christ is in some sense both masculine and feminine, or (d) there's something semi-gnostic going on where masculinity is equated with spirit and femininity with flesh, or (e) he thinks, also gnostically, that distinctions of sex are fleshly and are transcended by the spiritual in salvation. (d) and (e) maybe overly suspicious readings,, but there are other places where Maximus sounds a bit gnostic and inclined to equate salvation with the transcendence of the flesh.

We didn't, in the end, go to court last Monday, as Trotskyite said the court would be full (looking at the court lists does not provide any information on what the charges are, but he has a number of co-defendants). We will probably go down on Wednesday or Thursday, when he's supposed to be on the stand. I tried googling the case number, which gave me a nasty moment when the first hit was Stormfront and the snippet Google provided - no, I'm not going to go on that website - was something about "gang of anti-fascist thugs beating up German..." but the date was last year, so presumably they recycle case numbers? Though Stormfront is a very biased source and while I can't begin to see Trotskyite physically assaulting tourists, I could just about believe him getting into a brawl with neo-Nazis. He's got enough sense not to start anything, but... Anyway, we shall see.

We walked to Ely; I must sort out some photos to post. It's a magnificent walk, although I was very stiff the next day. I need to do more exercise.

I have bought a bike. Hopefully we're going to test ride it this afternoon, if Lawyer can get the wheel back on his own...

I may have found suitable bridesmaid dresses in the John Lewis sale. As soon as I have confirmation of Lawyer's sister's rough size, I must go and see if they're still there.

Couldn't get Downton on the ITVplayer last night. Hopefully it will work this evening. Sometimes I wonder if I should get a tv licence, but I really don't watch enough to want to bother.



* This is what Aquinas thinks. Aquinas' understanding of gender/ sex can, I think, also accommodate trans/ intersex/ third gender, although it's not a concept which occurred to him, because although he takes the gender binary for granted he's not interested privileging masculinity.
tree_and_leaf: Peter Davison in Five's cricket gear, leaning on wall with nose in book, looking a bit like Peter Wimsey. (Books)
... having had a good but very tiring time in Italy. Didn't get to a post office, but postcards will get posted eventually from the UK!

I read Robert McCrumb's biography of PG Wodehouse, which was good, Natasha Solomon's Mr Rosenblum's List, about a hapless but determined Jewish refugee trying to build a golf course in Devon (better than it sounds, but the author overdid the 'quirky Jewishness' a bit and the 'quirky Devonian yokels' a lot) and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which... can I have that bit of my life back? I'd can think of many things I'd rather have done with it.* I really do not care about Mikael sodding Blomkvist, his alleged magnetic attractiveness to women, and his confused sex-life**, or his alleged world-class journalism, which is better than any journalism anywhere in Sweden, and don't you forget it, buddy, or his solipsism.*** (On an unrelated topic, you ought to be careful with this book if you have triggers relating to sexual assault and violence. There are some very nasty bits in it indeed).

Although I admit I am partly annoyed with it because cut for plot spoilers )

You lot have all been posting busily, so: if you've posted anything you'd think I'd want to see (be that personal news or fic/ fic recs), could you point me at it?

* Incidentally who on earth said it was well-written and translated? It reads like a less idiomatic Dan Brown. (Of course, the translator may have been entirely accurate).

** Not being in an open relationship, I can't really comment on it, but this aspect of the book really did strike me as just a massive male fantasy.

*** Actually, forget Dan Brown. It's more like Left Behind, only with sex, swearing, and worryingly lovingly detailed sexual assault.
tree_and_leaf: Tardis silhoutted agains night sky, with blinking light. (Tardis)
I was going to make a longer review post for Vincent and the Doctor, but have accepted that time constraints mean this isn't going to happen this week.

So: I loved it. )
tree_and_leaf: Isolated tree in leaf, against blue sky. (Default)
On a less elevated and very much more sybaritic note, am about to sit down to cold chicken (slow-roasted yesterday with thyme, rosemary, paprika), cous-cous with sundried tomatoes, and what I suspect may be the last of the English asparagus.

No wine, but after the washing up there will be one or two gins and tonic and West Wing. I've been drinking Blackwoods of late, which is lovely, remarkably delicate (it contains all manner of interesting Shetland botanicals).
tree_and_leaf: Spock looking horrifed; caption "Illogical!" (illogical)
I have been having the sort of day where everything seems to take six times longer than it should (not helped by lack of sleep due to heat), but I have got the major item off my to-do list, so can't really call the day unproductive. Of course, part of the reason that things took too long in the first place was my poor filing, so I suppose I should have a go at sorting that out soon...

Anyway: hopefully that's the last major bit of paperwork that needs sorted for the next academic year off my desk. Yay!

And now for the ironing...
tree_and_leaf: Isolated tree in leaf, against blue sky. (Default)
Am on holiday and thus won't have much time for dreamwidth/ lj for a bit, but must just say thank you very much to the kind anon who presented me with some more paid time for dreamwidth.

I had lunch in Perth today, at a Breton restaurant. Very good (had galette with apples and black pudding). As we were eating lunch, William Hague, Annabel Goldie, and the local Tory candidate (who bore a suspicious resemblance to Alan B'Stard) stopped outside the window for a photo op and to shale hands with passers by. You'd think there was an election on, or something.

Hague is much shorter than I expected. So is Anne Widecombe, who is the only prominent Tory I've ever had speech of, which leads me to wonder how big the rest of them are...
tree_and_leaf: Francis Urquhart facing viewer, edge of face trimmed off, caption "I couldn't possibly comment" (couldn't possibly comment)
Lawyer: There's nothing wrong with tentacles. Tentacles are good.
tree_and_leaf: China cup and saucer with tea.  "Never turn down tea.  That's how wars get started." (cup of tea)
Am still rather failing at Getting Things Done, though I did get to the bank and rearrange my financial affairs, hopefully somewhat more sensibly. My explanation of my soon to be somewhat unpredictable financial state (and the possibility that I might end up an impecunious undergraduate again in the medium term) was met by the financial adviser with some enthusiasm, as she told me about how great her vicar was ("And on the first Sunday, he came into church playing the bagpipes, because he thought that would get our attention." Well, yes, it would, I suppose).

Then I accidentally spent money in Oxfam (next volume of the Dresden Files, and "The Scarlet Gown," a book of mostly occasional verse about St Andrews). The cashier asked me if I would like the free gift of a rather manky looking apple which his colleague had just found lurking at the back of a shelf; I said, no, thanks, I was trying to give them up, at which he looked confused and said "I thought that was cigarettes?"

Then I ran into my supervisor, or rather she ran into me, because she was jogging; she informs me that she is in the middle of my last chapter.

In conclusion: a meme. Ask me to list my five favourite things for a particular category and fandom (eg, five Star Trek episodes, moments of Who, etc). Or - actually - five things, and not necessarily favourites. I don't know. I have lost the original wording of the meme.
tree_and_leaf: Two children playing on mudflats - colourised version of Ransom's pen-and-ink illustration for "Secret Water". (Secret Water)
I should note that it starts with me packing the night before, and that the times are wrong, because I am still notionally tweeting from Tehran.

In which I discover that our Cubs are Harmonians, survive a zip wire, and do not have swine flu )

For the record, the Harmonian song went to the tune of Frere Jacques, and went:

Harry Potter, Harry Potter,
What's he done? What's he done?
Run off with Hermione, run off with Hermione.
Poor old Ron! Poor old Ron!
tree_and_leaf: China cup and saucer with tea.  "Never turn down tea.  That's how wars get started." (cup of tea)
The local ice-cream parlour is carrying out an exercise in customer research. Among other things, the questionaire asks:

Was the person who served you...?

Suggestive? (e.g. topping?* Cream with your hot chocolate?)


The shop is not, in fact, called 'Julian and Sandy's Bona Sundaes,' but perhaps it should be.

* Ooh, Mr Horne, you are saucy!....
tree_and_leaf: Alan Rickman in role of Slope, wearing rochet, scarf, swept back hair, and hostile but smug expression (slope)
Short account of evening:

Went punting; had dinner with [personal profile] nineveh_uk and then went to see Harry Potter, which I very much enjoyed despite the over-excited audience. Rickman particularly good, Broadbent pretty good as Slughorn (but too thin!), Gambon good as Dumbledore (and I normally dislike him). Extraordinarily beautiful film, mostly in (sometimes tinted) monochrome, with effective use of colour as and when.

Broke key of bike in lock, so (a) will be walking home and (b) first order of business tomorrow, find bolt cutters (and somehow move bike from Parish Church to college, that being the most likely source of the aforementioned).

The Grauniad has been helpfully providing a series of Italian phrasebooks. I particularly liked today's, which told me how to say 'I saw you at the lunchtime Mass', 'What did you think of Fr X's sermon?', 'Is there a Mass in English?', 'I need to find a priest' and 'Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned.' It also included the necessary phrases for 'Would you like to come up for a coffee?' and 'Turn over, you're snoring'. Truly, it covers a multitude of.... bases.
tree_and_leaf: Tardis silhoutted agains night sky, with blinking light. (Tardis)
Thanks to [personal profile] sir_guinglain and his car, I spent the afternoon at the Faringdon Arts Festival, which celebrates (mostly) local musicians, artists, craftspeople, etc., and a good time seemed to being had by all - it's free, so it really is a community thing, and the standard of music on offer seemed very high.

The main attraction, however, as far as I was concerned, was fannish: Phil Ford, the chief writer on the Sarah Jane Adventures providing a live commentary track for "The Last Sontaran", followed by Paul Cornell doing the same for "The Family of Blood." Both were interesting; I found Cornell more so, but that's probably down to the fact that while "The Last Sontaran" is a nice episode, it doesn't cut as deep as "FoB".
Cut for length and, i suppose, spoileryness... )
tree_and_leaf: Burne-Jones angel playing trumpet, caption "Make a joyful noise." (joyful noise)
Coming out of the lunchtime Mass, I was engaged in conversation about codicology by one of the other parishioners, and learned how to find out what part of a goat a given piece of parchment comes from (there's a dark mark down its spine and in its oxters, apparently).
tree_and_leaf: Portrait of John Keble in profile, looking like a charming old gentleman with a sense of humour. (anglican)
It's term again, which is good on the whole, though there is a fair bit of busyness and distractions coming up as a result.

One of the good things is morning prayer in college; actually having a fixed time which is non-negotiable is good in itself from a discipline and structuring day point of view, but I like saying the Office with other people (even if this generally means a congregation of two or three), and I like the Oratory (in an oriel window tucked behind the organ loft) as a space, despite the disastrous stained glass. And I like it at this time of year, when we open by singing the Regina Caeli (second translation), rather than saying the Angelus.

Actually, if I am being cold-blooded, I think the Angelus is a better devotion, but the singing and the use of a cheerful tune ("Jesus Christ is Risen Today") is an agreeably festive start to the day.
tree_and_leaf: Photo of spire of Freiburg Minster (14th C broached gothic) silhouetted against sunset. (Schönste Turm)
... is exhausting, emotionally; all the more so because it's a roller-coaster. The Eucharist is a celebration of Christ risen as well as Crucified, so the vestments are white, and we had the Gloria (Lassus) - with the acolytes ringing little bells - as if it were Easter already. But the readings are on a knife edge - the Passover account from Exodus; the Narrative of the Institution in Corinthians (which sounds really weird read by a layman out of the context of the Eucharistic liturgy, so powerful is habit); and then the Last Supper in the Gospel. The sermon focussed on the foot-washing, and on the odd intimacy of the gesture, and how it's generally more difficult to allow some-one to do it for you than to do it for someone else - but the Christian life is not just about loving as much and as hard as you can, but also being willing to accept the love that is offered, for how else can we be saved? He also pointed out that the foot-washing echoes the anointing at Bethany - so in allowing our feet to be washed, we are accepting the way of the Cross, and a love which costs everything.

The foot-washing - I was one of the designated victims - changes the mood of the service entirely. The celebrant - stripped of his chasuble - kneels and washes feet. The bells at the Mass are replaced by a sort of rattle thing, which I find remarkably sinister; and afterwards, the Sacrament is taken in procession to the Altar of Repose - which was covered in white flowers and candles - very pretty, but rather suggestive of a funeral (for good reason, since the ceremony is traditionally taken as symbolic of Christ being laid in the tomb). And then the other altars are stripped, leaving the church looking bare and stark (and rather more Protestant than it generally does); it's almost like turning a house out after a death...

Stayed about half an hour at the watch in front of the Sacrament - the church in complete silence and lit only by the candles on the altar (well, and the streetlights outside). Rather disconcerting to come out into the town centre...

... bother

Mar. 4th, 2009 11:15 pm
tree_and_leaf: Screaming woman with stripe of electrical discharge, caption 'Argh!! No' (The Wire). (Aargh! No!)
Am having a slightly bothersome evening. Packing always stresses me. Went to church (Stations of the Cross and Benediction) in the hope it would calm me down, but I don't think it did, really. My own printer is on the blink - I think it just needs toner, but I have no idea how to troubleshoot the blasted thing - I should have just got another inkjet, I knew how they worked - and I had to trek all over college before I found a printer that actually worked, and at one point ended up kicking things very hard, which was a pretty unimpressive display for someone who a mere hour ago had been earnestly avowing an intention to renounce sin from now on.

Am now struggling to find things, including my handily portable little German Bible (searching the room, no easy task because it is basically full of suitcase) has thus far produced, in addition to my rather unwieldy English Bible and Common Worship Daily Prayer: two copies of the BCP, two editions of the Prayerbook for Soldiers issued by the German Protestant Church, a New English Hymnal, and English Hymnal, a prayerbook in Bonn dialect, various works of mystic theology, Through the Year with Martin Luther, Kenneth Leech's (excellent) books on prayer and spiritual direction, the EKD Baden hymn book, and a copy of the Koran, which I have never actually got round to looking at, but which was given me by a rather intense Saudi Arabian Scout leader.

It's also possible I have too many books.

On the upside, my new (er, hardly) Loggan print has come back from the framers, and looks rather good. It has my old bedroom window in it, which is impressive. I was also impressed by the salesman, who remembered my name without being prompted.

Off on the six o'clock bus tomorrow.
tree_and_leaf: Isolated tree in leaf, against blue sky. (Default)
Here is a link to an extremely funny Black Books vid, to the theme tune from Friends. Which is appropriate, in a twisted sort of way.

In other news, I have just discovered that I washed and tumble-dried my favourite cashmere-silk turquoise pullover. Astonishingly, it came out unharmed, and looking like new.
tree_and_leaf: Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart in uniform glengarry bonnet, Jamie in kilt, caption "Wha's like us?" (Scots Soldiers (Icon of patriotic prejud)
(Made harder by my difficulties in, er, getting out of bed this morning.)

* go to library, return books.

* Buy wherewithall for clapshot (please note that the 'turnips' are what the English call 'swede'); buy wherewithall for cranachan. Buy second haggis, due to sudden influx of last minute guests.

* prep clapshot, make cranachan.

* get on with some of the translation work for Chaotic Publishers.
tree_and_leaf: Harriet and Peter at a party: caption "Frivoling" (frivoling)
My current cunning plan for the week - other than putting the final touches to my chapter draft, burying myself in Eckhart's sermons (yay!), eating curry at the rather belated bible clerk's† end-of-term dinner, taking the Cubs swimming, and trying to decide if I should organise a Burns' Supper* - involves going down to London for the Byzantium exhibition. However, while I confidently expect it to be fascinating, it won't take all day.

I rather feel I fail at getting to grips with London, though - there's so much to do that I always end up just falling back on the BM or the British Library Treasures exhibition. While those are among the greatest things in the world, I can't help feeling there's more to London than that.

So: please suggest things I ought to do in London.


† My college's term for the students who volunteer around the chapel, and also say grace every night in hall.

* The problem being, it would have to be on the Saturday night, and while every Burns' Supper I have organised has been a total blast, it has always ensured the worst hangover of the year, and there are reasons why I particularly don't want an epic hangover next Sunday morning.
tree_and_leaf: David Tennant in Edwardian suit, Oxford MA gown and mortar board. (academic doctor)
Emptied my pidge, finding a large and mostly cheering stack of post, quite a lot of it from the flist - thank you! The only thing I've read so far, though, was a postcard from Sydney Cathedral (RC), depicting a mosaic of the Ark of the Covenant from three friends (one studying in Sydney, the other two visiting her). The back of the postcard read:

"It's the lost Ark of the Covenant."

"Are you sure?"

"Pretty sure."

Anyway - greetings from Sydney. St Mary's Catholic Cathedral is one of the places fewer people see, but definitely worth a visit. S and I were there the other day and we had a look inside, despite there being a wedding in progress. Sydney is quite a surprise, actually - it has numerous old buildings. See you again soon, C.


Squeezed into the corner, I read:

Hello Ady, if you had to bed down on a giant (internal) organ, which would you choose? Miss you, love Perce

Percy, I should explain, is my roomate from first year undergrad, who had a craze for giving people alternate gender nicknames, as dreadful as possible (mine's Adrian, C. is Nigel and S. is Florence...)

I don't think I have any normal friends. This may, of course, not be an entirely bad thing.

Also, the envelope from [livejournal.com profile] carlanime has a stamp saying "Mental Health Awareness" on it. Quite so.... ;)

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