Mercurial adventures

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.

6 thoughts on “Mercurial adventures

  1. Jody says:

    Sorry to read that your battling sinus problems–I’ve just gotten over some myself with the help of some antibiotics.

    As for an order that preaches self-sufficiency, that is a benedictine virtue, though practiced in community. 🙂 Hope you get rested and fell better.


    • Chera says:

      Oh those Benedictines. 🙂 I thought of them, but I was distracted by the poverty vs. wealth debates in The Name of the Rose. I suppose having wealth would be self-sufficient. Learning my religious orders is somewhere on the list of things to research during this whole PhD thing… Thanks!


  2. David says:

    I’ve found it necessary to begin me own order (Davidic). We thank the Good Lord for all we have been given toss our coins to the air and invite Him to keep what he likes.


  3. Sarah says:


    And, in terms of road awareness: you have too many important thoughts in your head to be considering traffic too…so they should just make all of St. Andrews pedestrian only! 😉


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