May 26, 2011

Five minutes beforehand I would have considered not being sick over their shoes a decent result but after an hour and a half of questioning they told me that I was awarded the PhD and this was soon followed by the magic words ‘no corrections’.

I’ve had a week to relax. Now, what’s next…


My New Mantra…

May 8, 2010

It’ s very simple…


I suppose a few of you can relate to that.

Just need to keep saying it over and over and over…

Words of Wisdom

May 5, 2010

The heart of the wise inclines to the right,

        but the heart of the fool to the left.

(Ecclesiastes 10:2)

Can’t think why I felt the need to share that…

Gordon Help Us!

May 10, 2009



I experienced a very disconcerting moment at church this morning. Two people were leading the prayers, taking it in turns. Often we have Scripture used in the prayers. Normally fine by me, but it freaked me out a little today – hearing a prayer for our fearless leader Gordon Brown followed immediately by these words:

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

I know that Gordon Brown believes that he has saved the world, revealed by his Freudian slip at that memorable Prime Minister’s Question Time – still on YouTube – but isn’t this going a bit far? Today’s papers show him to have the lowest popularity of any P.M. since polls began and Labour look set to be taken to the cleaners in the June elections. Maybe there is more to him than meets the eye and his millennial reign has just begun…

Fortunately, it turned out that these words are from Colossians 1:15-20, part of the text of the sermon later in the service.

Fresh Air

May 7, 2009


It was good to have a break over Easter, with 10 days in Northern Ireland. Awesome scenery. The photo is of me, just below the summit tor of Slieve Binnian in the Mournes with the Silent Valley beneath. No snow on the tops this year, but great walking all the same. Just so I wouldn’t enjoy myself too much I took Jean Delumeau’s Sin and Fear: The Emergence of a Western Guilt Culture, 13th – 18th Centuries  for holiday reading. Mrs. S. is beginning to worry about me.

I’m happy. I sit here listening to Beethoven, 2nd of the 6th, having put in a solid day’s writing. The last two months were research and reading and it’s always difficult to get back into writing when you have no momentum. But I did it and I’m happy. And tomorrow I plan to do it again. Meanwhile, a morsel from Arthur Dent…

News of Nuptials

September 15, 2008


Well, I’m back. The last couple of months have been very busy, but now back in Oxford, head down, getting on with it. Mrs. S. and I were married at the end of July. A miserable summer, even by British standards, threw up a dry and sunny day when required. The picture above is from the ceremony at St. Ebbe’s, with Vaughan Roberts officiating. It was a great day and it was so good to have many of our friends with us.

There is much blogging to do…

Lama on the Loose

May 30, 2008

The Bodleian is a wonderful environment to work in, especially the Duke Humphrey’s Library where I am sitting now. There are occasional distractions though – Harry Potter film crews, etc. But I was surprised to see the Dalai Lama in the quad a few minutes ago. Seems he is here to receive an honorary degree. Fair enough, but I could do without the hundreds of chanting monks outside. Got to try to nail this chapter this weekend.