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July 2nd, 2016

Post for a quiet Saturday morning

It's been months and months since I posted. I just finished a letter to a friend, though, and thought it might be a nice update for my friends here...

This past month was completely occupied with our biennial summer school. Now the students are gone, it's quiet, I can relax... almost too quiet, of course. The school was great, the students were fantastic, I could spend all morning just talking about them. (I ought to.)
In the midst of the school was a trip to Baltimore to give two talks at Cosmos and Creation, an annual event at Loyola College University, which I had agreed to do more than two years ago and really didn't feel I could back out of. The trip was short but intense; the talks went well, I think. (Some not-very-good YouTube videos of them exist; poor sound quality, and basically they just turned the camera on about 20 minutes before the talk and turned it off as everyone was walking out the door!) Now I am trying to condense what I said into a short article… one of my tasks this month.
One treat for being in the US: I took the bus to the local mall to buy myself some underwear (oh joy! But cheaper and better in the US) and then I indulged in a set of Bose in-the-ear noise cancelling headphones; they were expensive but well worth the cost. I had been using a ten year old pair of over-the-ear generation 1 Bose phones for my travels; these are much better at keeping out the noise, plus you can sleep on your side with them in the ear.
Right after the school, I flew to London for a few days. Got to have Dim Sum with my old friend Sara and her family. Her 10 yr old, my goddaughter, was reading a thick book called The Philosophy of Harry Potter. “I just finished reading Dracula” she told me. “Do you think that was age-appropriate?” asked her mum, bemused. “Probably not,” she replied.

Then three days with friends at Ardingly College (fun fact: Neil Gaiman went there...and hated it), including a talk and a panel discussion at their ArtsFest on Are We Alone which was far more interesting than I would have guessed! Plus I got to re-dedicate their new telescope; I had done the honors eight years ago for their previous telescope!

The best was a free day, where I just sat in my host’s home (their Very High Anglican chaplain, a delightful character straight out of Central Casting) reading many of his books… including Joseph Pearce’s book about Tolkien, and biographies of Dorothy L. Sayers and Martin D’Arcy, and a couple of others I have already forgotten… oh, and dinner with Michael Ward, of Planet Narnia fame.
Now a whole month without anything to keep me from all the stuff I have been putting off…

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