The god of travel hath a sense of humour! Or I have done something to offend him. Or chance has simply dealt me the least-planned trip I have ever had. The jaunt down to London for a training day at the British Library was going to be a sightseeing trip with Katherine: we were going to stay in London, go to Hillsong and Evensong, and a couple of museums. Instead, my trip was, in sum, the following:
- An unexpected return to Oxford, where I stayed with the Hardins, including helping with Sunday dinner and playing with a very energetic 18-mo old;
- Wandering Oxford with Bronnie, during which I said a few stern words to unruly geese and shared the enjoyment of certain doors;
- A day spent meeting other medievalists and early modernists, in which I saw Wulfstan’s own copy of his homilies, complete with notes in his own hand, as well as the only copy of the N-Town plays and the Pearl manuscript;
- Being talked into buying a new copy of More’s Utopia, one of my favorite books, since my other copy is across the ocean;
- Reading in a café until a friend-of-a-friend could meet up so I could stay with her, including waiting 40-min in south London because she was delayed by train works;
- Getting ill—again—thanks to London’s lovely polluted air, despite that I’ve just come off two weeks’ of antibiotics for an earlier bout of sinusitis;
- Trusting myself to the London bus system to get to King’s Cross for only £2;
- Insisting to the train’s café person that I didn’t want the crisps and soda deal with my sandwich, but orange juice (“I don’t have any orange juice,” he said. I pointed at a bottle behind him, “There’s some right there.”);
- Paying for my bus fare back to town with pennies and borrowed change;
- Being rescued from certain death by bus thanks to Dustin’s timely, “Uh, bus.”
By the time I had dropped off my books at 66 and met up with Jesse to make the trek down and up the hill to our respective homes, I was more than ready to be home. I think being a PhD student has zapped any sense of road awareness I used to have (the alternative explanation being that I’m ill and tired and distracted).
I am very thankful for the hospitality that was graciously offered to me on such short notice. However, I think I am too independent and/or proud to continue my mendicant ways with a clean conscience. I’ll talk to animals and be frugal, but otherwise, I don’t think I would make a good Franciscan. Is there an order that preaches self-sufficiency? I guess not.
Now, to bed early and when I wake up, maybe my brain will have returned mostly to its semi-normal state.