I know I determined to observe a Lenten discipline of blogging every day, but tonight I’m saddened, at a loss for wise things to say, by the news that Rowan Greer, one of my seminary professors and a colleague in the ministry at Christ Church, New Haven, has died.

Sanctus Sanctus Sanctus

Stained glass window from Holy Name Chapel of St John the Evangelist Church
This morning before Mass, our attention was called to the stained glass above the Holy Name Chapel in St John the Evangelist Church (the church of St Stephen’s House, as opposed to our House Chapel where we say daily services, and the Founder’s Chapel which is mostly for private devotion). St John the Evangelist is the headquarters of SJE Arts, our Arts and Concert venue.

The window in question is not the focal point of that space; it overlooks a more prominent altarpiece, and the iron chandelier obstructs the view of the window. This morning, though, we noticed the angels in the stained glass, and their extraordinary virtuosity with the censers they swing. Thurifers I have worked with over the years — take heart!

Mood Bluebird

QuadrigaSo, yesterday I said that the dining room isn’t Carolina Blue — but in the article to which I linked, it turns out that “Carolina Blue” is a moving target. (If they worked at the University of Glasgow, they wouldn’t have any doubt of exactly what colour is what — the visual identity instructions are absolutely specific to the control-freak designer’s nth degree).


Although one might think that a colour with long historic standing would be fairly carefully pinned down — especially since the binary alternative to Carolina Blue is Duke Blue (Pantone 287) — in fact, the reporter found

“I found another document online called The University of North Carolina Identity Standards Manual, and they state that the official color of UNC is Pantone 542, which is definitely more aqua. It is obvious that the colors used for the UNC logo on the two documents themselves are completely different. In my search, I also discovered that UNC’s Athletics Office mostly uses Pantone 297, and on occasion, 271 or 298. UNC Hospitals use Pantone 543.”

Evidently our rivals down Route 15-501 just don’t care much about which shade their uniforms are. Perhaps they’re trying desperately to help the franchise University’s luck. Margaret and I remember classic Carolina Blue as a very pale, powder blue/sky blue, almost as if they were trying for a blue that was as light as possible without being white. This Carolina Blue gingham bow tie is close (I love that they highlight the tie’s “modest quality so you won’t feel the urge to ‘turn your nose up at others.’” Go, Carolina!).

I crossed the street and headed into Johnny T-Shirt, a shop that has been selling UNC merchandise since 1983. UNC junior, Arthur Iannacone was cashiering, and he pointed to a baby blue colored shirt when I asked him to show me the real Carolina Blue. “Anything darker looks too close to Duke.”

Which gets back to the heart of the issue. Carolina will adopt any shade of “light blue” so long as it’s not confused with deep Duke Blue. And surely at some point or another, a desperate designer has probably used the colour of our paint (official name: “Bluebird”) for Carolina gear. But that doesn’t matter; two true Blue Devils live here, and we are above changing paint colours just to avoid one shade that Carolina might have used at some point or another.

Besides — Carolina lost in the ACC Tournament yesterday.

Huffing Home

It just happened that in the week that a housepainter took over our home, I came down with a cold. I can’t complain about the cold itself — it’s a very low-rent cousin to the Plague That Lays Waste At Midday, which has decimated the college community — but the congestion has been affecting my sleep, and last night I was sleeping in one-hour segments interrupted by walks to the sink to splash some water only head. Luckily I had gone to bed early; otherwise I might have fallen asleep in the four-hour important University meeting I attended this morning, or perhaps while I was bicycling madly back from said meeting to get to our staff meeting.

But the convergence of paint fumes and a cold — that I feel justified in whinging about (a little). The dining room is now a fresh, interesting shade of blue (sort of richer-than-sky blue; certainly not by any means Carolina Blue!). Oh. Well, maybe a little like Carolina Blue.

Effective Day

QuadrigaToday is Wednesday, the day I’ve managed to keep blissfully free of teaching and admin responsibilities (usually). I note this simply because the opportunity actually to attack the pile of backed-up marking, commenting, preparing, and so on affords such a rich delight; one would think that the world would find a way to make sure that workers have more opportunity actually to accomplish the tasks that are thrown at them from hour to hour.

Don’t tell anyone, but after a bit of marking and emailing, I might actually… read something. No, honestly.

From Oxford

And here’s the news on the home front —

First, Margaret is safely across the Atlantic on her epic migratory pass through the Northeast, the North Side (of Chicago), and North Carolina. She indicates that she’s begun work on a scholarly treatment of the Christian ethics of reclining seats on airliners. Me? I’m catching up on Taggart.

Next, the housepainter arrived this morning. Our house is due for repainting, and it was deemed the best idea for the painting to take place while Margaret is out. Today was spackling day. Paint starts tomorrow. There is a communications gap between the housepainter and me; he may suspect that I’m prying or something, but he keeps reticent about his plans. I think he’s starting on the guest bedroom and the second floor room, but I won’t be sure till he starts painting.

Spring has left again, presumably for only a short spell away.

Saved By [W. G.] Grace

As I said yesterday, I participated in some recreational cricket in the Close between Sunday Dinner and my afternoon’s marking and awaiting the arrival of my best beloved. Some will no doubt have scoffed at this news, as the only other time I’ve attempted to play cricket — decades ago, at the Duke Graduate Religion picnic — I was utterly confounded by the rules (this matter of not bending one’s elbow when one bowls is incomprehensible to a baseball player). Naetheless, facts is facts, and I hereby offer photographic evidence (generously provided by a friend of St Stephen’s House).

DavidandAKMAand pitch


This depicts Greek scholar David D’Silva snickering at the leg-break pitch he intends to unleash at his cruel tutor. One can also see and appreciate the glories of Moberley Close, the medieval (or at least 1970s-ish) stately home of families and flatmates who study at St Stephen’s House. A careful eye will notice the throngs of admiring cricket supporters who have packed the balconies for this epic match of decrepit old novice immigrant batsman against muscular, youthful, experienced bowler.


Here the drama begins! David has released the ball and it hurtles toward the wicket, which is being visibly guarded by Patch, Father Damians’s superannuated Jack Russell terrier. Although I am not a dog enthusiast as my brilliant wife is, I would not knock Patch for six (as it appears from this photo that I’m about to do); we OAPs have to stick together. Solidarity, Patch!

AKMA about to touch the crease with his bat

My well-timed strike defied our photographer’s shutter, so sudden and forceful it was, but here we can see me about to touch the crease, as David looks on in dismay. Tharsei, young man; your day will come. I retired without having been dismissed, before the unaccustomed sun burned my unprepared skin. Next, football.

Sunday 1 Lent

I could, if I so wanted, point out that as today is a feast day, I’m entitled to not blog as part of Lenten discipline. I will, however, leave this post anyway.

We had a lovely Mass this morning. Margaret is home for thirty-six hours. I’ve done a some marking. I played cricket (well, not regulation cricket — garden cricket). I was not dismissed before the bowler gave up on trying to bowl me out. I was promised a photo, which I will post here when, if, it arrives.


My model for ministry has been Mr Septimus Harding, the Warden of Hiram’s Hospital, since The Warden was assigned for a long-ago class. I think I have a copy of The Warden in a box in North Carolina, but when I saw the Everyman’s Library edition for only ¢2.49 at Oxfam, I couldn’t resist. (The BBC production of The Barchester Chronicles that combines The Warden with Barchester Towers is definitely worth a rental, download, or purchase as well. Donald Pleasance makes a moving Mr Harding, and Barchester Towers’s Mr Slope marks an early appearance by Alan Rickman!)


There may be better guides to pastoral conduct than “What would Septimus Harding do?” — but I venture to suppose that if all clergy were manifestly guided by that question, we would all be a lot better off.