Oxford Patristics Conference – Wednesday (Contd 2)

I’ve just got back from a very pleasant gathering at the Head of the River, where the food was as excellent as ever, and beautifully served.  One of us chose Italian, however, only to discover that they had run out of parmesan cheese — a curious failure, considering that a Tesco Express stood just down the street.

Glen Thompson and wife arrived, and Andrew Maguire and I made up the table — David Michelson did not appear.  But we exchanged anecdotes of what our website traffic was like, and how we came to start our sites, and so forth.  A pleasanter way to spend an evening is hard to imagine.  Likewise we swapped anecdotes of where we were staying and so forth.  David had chosen to stay at the Eastgate hotel, where parking was available. 

The most interesting statement came towards the end, when Glen listed the people whom he had tried to contact, who maintained websites of Early Christian material.   The CCEL site, for instance, was largely run by the computer department now, without any real input from anyone academically inclined.  Two or three others were mentioned who were unable to attend for various reasons.  And yet … are there really only eight or nine of us in this game? 

Afterwards David, showing more hardihood than I, went off to catch the tail end of an 8:30pm session.  I walked up Cornmarket to the Martyrs Memorial, where four years ago there was a Borders bookshop that was open late, next to a small Sainsburys.  The latter was still there; but oh! how changed.  It was nearly deserted, and a large area of the floor was unused.  The explanation was two doors down, in a thriving new Tesco Metro.  The bookshop had vanished with it. 

I bought some bottled water in the Sainsburys, and came back to my room.  The sound of heavy diesel engines from the bus stop still thunders in the night, in a way that the motor car never did.  It’s quite a warm, humid evening here.

Wish me luck on getting some sleep! 

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