31 July 2012 § Leave a comment

31 July

The women won the team gold medal!


Hurrah hurrah hurrah!

This was during the flying competition


Equestrian cross-country

30 July 2012 § Leave a comment

30 July

I love the Olympics.  Run, horses, run!  The pauses for buffering inflict agony.  I think the German just won.

Happy Birthday to a most excellent girl, fellow adventurer and runner, and dear friend . . . Grace!

Once upon a time, we played with lions. Uncertainty about the claws…


30 July 2012 § Leave a comment

30 July

Mapmaker, mapmaker, make me a map . . .

A to-do list lurks in the corner

This is going to make someone very happy.  (We shall put these new maps in the annual report.)  Last week, our dear friend sent heaps and heaps of questions.

First Things

29 July 2012 § Leave a comment

29 July

I had my first introduction to First Things yesterday; before that, I had only read about it.  My first article was Alan Jacobs’s “Against Stupidity” from November 2011.  The pithiness intoxicates.

Another funny thing was a brief note about a survey conducted a few years ago to determine whether people somewhere in the States approved or disapproved of God’s performance (assuming the existence of God, those surveyed were told).  A little over half approved.  The writer wondered whether those surveyed would have fully approved of God’s performance when He created them . . .

I also read James Hannam’s “Modern Science’s Christian Sources” (October 2011), which made me think of Lennox’s book.  Now I want to read Hannam’s books.

The other one is The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution

What other Christian publication actually provokes thought as this one does?  Even the writing is good.

Take a look at it to discover the antidote to prenatal eugenic cleansing!

Leavis some notes about Auden

29 July 2012 § Leave a comment

29 July

I have been wandering along the webby paths of knowledge-hopping, my favourite way to travel.  It began when I was researching some tangentially-related-to-a-tangentially-related-to-a-tangentially-related thing at one point in the past few months.  It may have been that Nkosi read (and loved) Conrad, on whose work F R Leavis wrote criticism.

I wish I could hear him lecture

I read a bit about Leavis and decided that I needed to read his criticism.  (Literary criticism is terribly exciting to read, really; I don’t know how I am only recently discovering this.)  In the midst of perusing lists of books by Leavis, W H Auden’s name caught my eye.  I’ve seen it before but had not read anything about him.  He was, after all, born in 1907, multiple years after the ending date of my somewhat strict rule (of reading nothing published after 1900).

He’s even from York

He is fascinating.  His statement that a good artist must be “more than a bit of a reporting journalist” gave me hope about writing biography-as-thesis, instead of fiction, this year.  Now, though, I wish I were writing my thesis on Auden.  Here is his summary of his emotional life:

If equal affection cannot be
Let the more loving one be me.

He described marriage as “the only subject”; he volunteered in the Spanish Civil War; he road-tripped across America; and he developed an interest in Bonhoeffer later in life.  First on my list of his books to read: Letters from Iceland.  I just looked him up in the library system, and I can’t wait to go to dear Perkins (oh, how I miss the library!), run to my favourite section (the PRs on the fourth floor), and check out all of his books.

Books with horses on the covers are usually good

P.S.  I have only Wikipedia to educate me about his life right now.  I am not ashamed—merely sad that I cannot peruse his biography.


28 July 2012 § Leave a comment

28 July

Last night, a Navs couple and the young marrieds were here for evening merriment, and we watched Amazing Grace.  It’s about William Wilberforce and the abolition of the slave trade.  It had a more truthful presentation of the Gospel and better music than several church services I have attended.  (That is a joke.)  I just want to watch it again right now.  Also, I fell in love with Wilberforce.  His wife clearly did, as well: they met on 15 April 1797 and married on 30 April of the same year.

May the Wilberforce be with you

I eventually realised that he played Pip in Great Expectations (ahh), and the girl who played his wife was Emma in the newest adaptation of the eponymous film . . . and one abolitionist played the evil jouster in A Knight’s Tale (and the kindly man in Tristan and Isolde), and another, Lord Charles Fox, was played by Dumbledore.  Aberforth Dumbledore also made an appearance as Lord Tarleton.  And the Aubrey Montague actor is in it.  And the weird, creepy man from Ever After was a weird, creepy man in this film, as well.  I always wonder how people treat those actors (who play only disagreeable characters) in real life.  Do they have the same annoying habits?

I was curious to see whether the filmmakers followed an historical approach at all similar to that of Hunter; that is, that elites slightly out of the limelight of centres of culture yet still very much in those centres, and well-established in a web of (intellectually, economically, politically) influential people are those who change culture.  They did seem to follow that, judging by the cadre of abolitionists and political people, MPs and otherwise, flocked round Wilberforce.  I also loved learning about the friendship between Wilberforce and William Pitt (the younger).  And one of my favourite parts was his pleasure in lying in the wet grass on a spring day and glorying in spider-webs.

I will always think of John Newton’s story when I sing the hymn now . . .

Albert Finney as John Newton

Monkeying around

28 July 2012 § 1 Comment

28 July

The account of the Great Monkey Attack.  Warning: this post includes inappropriate details.

I had been writing on the verandah but went inside for a bit, and it was so hot that I stripped to my undergarments.  I heard monkeys on the roof and then saw one in a nearby tree, so I collected my books and ink from the table outside and locked the door, which we had been directed to keep closed always.  The monkey then appeared in the window; our faces were close and divided only by the thin wire lattice across the window.  After the moment of recognition, of wide-eyed observation followed by my noting of the cunning in his eyes, I rummaged in my bag for my camera, for he was close and still and so ready to be photographed.  He took advantage of my distraction to jump to the place where the wall met the roof and slipped in through a tiny gap.

A rhesus macaque—scheming, no doubt

Suddenly he was inside, and I remembered that the bread and the peanut butter were still inside from Erin and Kathryne’s breakfast; the scent of them must have attracted him.  I snatched my raincoat so that I could have something with which to chase him away, but then he seemed to adopt the idea that there was something worth stealing in the raincoat since it perhaps appeared as though I were protecting it, and he leapt here and there and flailed his arms at me and then spitefully excreted onto the floor from his perch upon one of the ropes that spans the length of the room and upon which our clothes and towels are hung.

This is actually a vervet monkey, but they also populate Mombasa

He effectively blocked my passage to the door, through which I desired to escape in order to fetch a sling shot from the main treehouse.  We had been battling for about ten minutes.  I had the additional problem of still wearing nothing save a few wisps of material, in which I could scarcely fetch anything with other people (all boys, between the workers and a Brit and an Iranian playing their instruments) around.  I quickly grabbed my clothes, barricaded myself in the bathroom—which was mostly open space, so the monkey could easily have hopped round and ambushed me—and slipped into them, and then managed to pass him, run out the door, and walk down the path.

Before I found a slingshot, I found a worker, who accompanied me back to the bungalow with his slingshot.  The monkey was having a stolen feast of dry bread on the table of our verandah and scampered off when he saw us.  I was not sorry to have to rid our party of that bread, it was inedible probably even with peanut butter and quite ready to be used for bread pudding.  He left the peanut butter untouched, so I took it to the tree house and locked it in our box, but not before I stepped in that cursed monkey’s mess because of the dark—I had not turned on the light.  I cleaned that and my feet, a bit disgruntled but mostly laughing at myself.  I packed my things into my bag, locked the bungalow, and threw the key away.

Only joking—I took my bag to the tree house and recorded the story in my journal.

I took this photograph in Kijabe a few days ago

P. S.  Happy Anniversary to my dear parents!  And Happy Birthday to a certain beloved aunt!  The festivities continue . . .

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