Old, Really, Old

Today’s my sixty-sixth birthday; by good fortune, there are no other sixes applicable to the date. I started by running (17°, ‘feels like 20°’), by cleaning up and going to church at St Andrew’s, by pushing more to the finish line of the James essay, and reminiscing about my lovely friends who have left birthday greetings online.

I love you all, and I’m deeply thankful for the chance to have studied and taught and ministered and played and celebrated among you. You’ve contributed all that’s best in me. You’re champs, and in you I am very, very blessed. And old. I have work yet to do that I hope eventually to complete — but that’s out of my hands. I begin every morning by praying ‘Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness; let the whole world stand in awe of him’, and I end every day by praying ‘So teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts to wisdom’; my wisdom is to revel in the beauty of holiness as long as I may, and to encourage everyone I can, as fully as I can, to share with awe in the glory of God.

That’s the Groove

(Yes, I ran this morning, though it was 17° and dire humidity. Another one point seven or so.)

Yesterday was actually a productive writing day, both in word count and more importantly in breaking up a long, long writer’s block with respect to my James article. I’m hopeful to keep cooking today, and put this baby… whoops, that metaphor was going somewhere inappropriate. I meant, ‘send it off to the editor’, long overdue but out of my hands and head at last.

My great hope as I make a transition to some new vocational configuration involves recovering my capacity to read and write as a rich aspect of my selfhood (rather than a desperate obligation). I do the obligatory reading and writing adequately, perhaps even ‘well’, but it will mean I’m a lot healthier if I just pick up a book and read it, or think ‘Wait a minute, that can’t be right’ and write out an argument that I care about for myself (rather than for an editor).

I can dream, can’t I?

Two Days in a Row!

This morning I ran my run (in relatively warm weather, and the humidity has been abominable all this late summer/early autumn, and now I’m just outside the Bodleian sipping a cup of coffee before going in to try valiantly to finish the James chapter. There’s a crux in the essay — not a particular problem with the essay, but a problem with me writing out what I think about a not-vitally-important point — that I need to nail down and put away, and after that I can send it off and get on with life. But as with so many molehills, having once stumbled over it I can’t now just turn around and walk past it.

My Monday interview was not successful, but I think that’s for the best. Once I saw the circumstances and what would be needed to make the post go, it became clear that the post and I were not a match. I’m still rueful that no chaplaincy availed for me, since that’s obviously the thing for which I’m very best suited, and which I’d do better than most of the new-minted clergy who usually get appointed to these posts. But there we are; it’s out of my hands, and there are always prospects of one sort or another around the corner. I have my eye on a couple of places that haven’t even been announced yet, so patience is the watchword.


Leisurely morning run (one point seven), every day for the past week or so. Very good interview Monday — not a good match, but good conversation. A positive interaction with all concerned, and especially the Bishop and Area Dean, such that I have a sense (for the first time in sixteen months) that somebody involved in deployment will be looking for an opportunity to recruit me. More later.


Several days of digital silence here — we went to Wolverhampton for Eleanor Feeney’s wedding to Adam Mihalik, then I rushed home to interview for a post Wednesday morning, then I got word that the committee had chosen another candidate, which put a damper on my interest in writing (or doing anything productive, to be honest).

The wedding (and the baptism of Adam and Eleanor’s baby May) went beautifully, and the wedding breakfast and the afternoon at the Safari Park and dinner and dancing were all lovely. The sermon seems to have come off satisfactorily. (It’s a bit disorienting for people to compliment you on something that’s a major part of the sorts of post you’re seeking, while at the same time finding every door to those posts shut in your face).

I ran my between-one-point-five-and-two miles yesterday morning, and made a rapid foray for groceries. Then Margaret left promptly to attend the Science and Religion Forum conference that she’s keynoting, so the ladies and I are keeping the home fires burning. I ought to be putting the finishing touches on my James essay, but it’s difficult to focus well enough.

Dogs Trying Out for Cats

In the process of unpacking, we left an open box on the floor, containing one of the dogs’ (many) bed/carpets in it. A couple of days ago, Minke noticed it and jumped in, and since then she and Flora have been devoted to occupying it.

Two small dogs, Flora and Minke, curled up inside a packing box

Two small dogs curled up inside a packing box, with one (a Yorkshire Terrier) looking upward so that her fringe stands out against the dark background

I took my morning run (the distance of which seems to fluctuate for reasons I don’t quite understand — today it registered as 1.7 miles, but usually it shows up as 1.6 or 1.5) at a patient pace. It’s darker in the mornings these days, of course, and chillier. Pretty soon I’ll be back to wearing a hoodie as I run.

Sermon for tomorrow is mostly done. I’ll try to finish and print it this morning, and that will leave the train ride for editing.

Around and Around

With one morning run, one trip to church (almost the same route), and one dog-walk, I’m up to four miles already today. Likely I’ll spend the rest of the day sitting down, working on a sermon (or James).

And Another

Another one-and-a-half today, at a slightly peppier (still nothing exciting) pace. Home with the ladies, now, while Margaret works on her presentation on ‘Should Commodities Flourish?’, working on my own sermon for an upcoming Special Event and thinking about finishing my James essay.

I have another interview coming up, so that’s comforting — no chance of getting a post unless I’m short-listed first, so this improves the odds (even if I’ve had much of the optimism and confidence sapped out of me). Just now, though, I think I’ll wake up the slum,bering beasts and take them on the walk that they surely need soon.

New Morning

I woke this morning to the first day on which neither Margaret nor I will be shuttling to or from James Street. Granted that we didn’t exactly choose to relocate, this feels very very good.

My morning route is still a bit short, but I got my run in and it felt okay, at a very indulgent pace. Margaret will head out very soon to spend her morning at work in a cafe; I’ll stay with the canines, working on a sermon or on my James essay. I probably ought to file a job application or two also, but I haven’t checked that category carefully since the gruellying removal process started.

Last Morning

In a few minutes I’ll swing down to James Street, call for a ride, load up our boxes destined for storage, take them to our units, squeeze them in, lock the doors, and that will be that. (Margaret will take some books to Mary Mags tomorrow or Sunday, but we’re not really counting that.) We now live in Headington.

Earlier this morning, I got up and ran my one-point-six. I’ll stretch it back to two miles eventually, but for now I’m content with this route.

Almost Last Step

We’re back in Headington this afternoon, after spending the morning organising our retreat from East Oxford. We wrought four categories: going to the flat, going to storage, going to Mary Mags’s book sale, bin, and recycle. Once assured that we didn’t have to choreograph our rubbish’s journey to a tip, or our recycling’s journey to… its next cycle, we packed a taxi van with one last load of suitcases and boxes and bags; Margaret, Minke and Flora rode with our stuff, and I hopped on my trusty velocipede and biked to Headington. Sadly, I got a bit mixed up on my way, and ended up taking a grossly inefficient route. Still, time spent on a bicycle is time well spent, and it’s good to be assured that even my rusty bicycling skills sufficed to get me up Headington Hill.

Now it’s gin and tonic time.