Autumn has arrived in Oxford. The last of the lilacs have fallen in the Christ Church College gardens, and Magdalen Bridge is shimmering under a swirl of falling leaves. There’s also a decided nip in the air, and more than one morning over the past few days has dawned weakly under clouds of chilly rain.
The second week of full term has fallen into something more of a pattern: trotting off to the Weston Library every morning to peruse manuscripts, then lunch and librarying (if that’s not a verb, it should be!) until any afternoon classes or seminars. One afternoon a little group of us took a much needed break for tea in the cosy armchairs at the Turl Street Kitchen, eating cake and discussing the dangers of historical myopism and reasons for studying history. (I quoted a great line from John Arnold about history providing us with the tools to dissent–only of course to attend a seminar the next day where the man himself was presenting a very interesting paper on heresy in the Languedoc!)
It’s incredibly energizing to emerge for air from one’s own research to trade ideas with classmates and listen to them debate Anglo-Saxon frontiers (or whatever the topic might be).