So, I had tickets for Nine Lessons and Carols for Godless People at the Hammersmith Apollo, but I couldn’t go. I wanted someone else to use them so I put them on eBay. This morning I got this email from the buyer and it absolutely made my day:

Hi Kate,

Just a quick line to thank you for your kindness and altruism in listing these tickets without reserve.

I was attracted by the fact that it mentioned carols etc!!!

I suspected a different slant when I eventually noticed who was appearing!

To cut a long story short, after a fraught start in arranging matters at such short notice, I missed attending 6pm mass to go to the show and was delighted with the evening. Not least with the fact that my faith was not in the least weakened or compromised by anything portrayed on stage.

So … once again … thank you for your kindness to allow another to experience something completely novel … albeit at your expense.

:-) God bless!
Jim.

Thank you so much, Jim, for being such a good sport, for giving the show a try and enjoying it, and for seeing the funny side. I felt really warm and Christmassy all the way home!


There is a really thought-provoking and moving blog by Linda Grant on Comment Is Free today, in response to discovering that one of the CiF commenters she had crossed swords with is actually the son of her former boss, Tony Hall. The comments thread is equally lovely, with commenters stepping up to say what they value about each other.


church-and-canal.jpgI went for a walk today at lunchtime, down past the old Lucy’s ironworks foundry towards the canal. This, Jericho, is one of the oldest industrial parts of Oxford, with canal-workers, the Eagle Ironworks and tied houses for the workers at Oxford University Press. I remember it as one of the most left-leaning parts of the city – students, Dons and liberal parents of schoolfriends of mine all lived here. Radiohead and Supergrass played gigs at the old Jericho Tavern in its upstairs music venue. Thomas Hardy even mentions the church of St Barnabas in Jude the Obscure. It is a higgledy-piggledy neighbourhood of bright and cheerful little houses, labyrinths of side-streets, funky bars on the main streets and pubs hidden down back roads and, at its secret heart, the the canal, a cool, green tunnel of water and willows, twisting its way through the city.

Continue reading ‘The Dead of Jericho’


Chris Clarke has a great new toy on his website – BlogWarBot. It’s been amusing the regulars over at Creek Running North, and there have been some great exchanges.

I had a lot of fun playing with it, but none more than when I cut and pasted in some words from an anti-feminist who has been hanging around tigtog’s Feminism 101 site lately. Hard to tell which is which, isn’t it?

Two versions below – the first with the phrases in order, and the second where I tried to give it some meaning (more of a mash-up).

BlogWarBot vs the Anti-Feminist 1

BlogWarBot: I’m BlogWarBot. Didn’t we ban you?
Guest: It is not your blog that is “101,” it is your own mind. You do not have the mental firepwer to go toe to toe with me, sweetheart.
BlogWarBot: What the hell does that stuff matter? We have to enact campaign finance reform!

Continue reading ‘BlogWarBot versus the Anti-Feminist’


A bizarre story in my local paper tells of the acquittal of an RAF Senior Aircraftman, who admitted to having sex with a 15-year-old girl, but who claimed he was sleepwalking. He had been drinking a bottle of vodka, then gone to sleep in a room full of others. The girl awoke to find him on top of her. The jury acquitted him. It seems wrong that this man should simply have been cleared of all charges – what if he goes on to rape another woman while sleepwalking? I hope that at the very least he stays away from alcohol in the future.


Why aren’t more people watching Last Man Standing? This is a highly diverting programme in which six easy-on-the-eye, muscular young men travel to various far-flung places and compete in tribal sports. So far they’ve been stick-fighting, kick-boxing, endurance running and taken part in three different types of wrestling (in Brazil, Mongolia and Senegal). Slight posh boy Richard amazed us all by coming out on top in the Senegalese wrestling, although sadly my personal favourite, Rajko, retired injured. Anyway, it’s the final episode next week: a canoe race in Papua New Guinea. Should be interesting – catch it if you can!


I have been away from the blogs I normally read for several days now, and have come back to find Ilyka’s blog closed to uninvited readers. Trying to find out what’s going on, I went to Creek Running North and found that Chris Clarke has also closed his blog.

I’ve been everywhere I can think of and Chris is the only person who mentions Ilyka closing her blog. I suspect it’s fallout from one of the sudden rash of blog-wars, but it makes me really sad, as these are two of the most talented writers out there.

I’m baffled, surprised and upset to lose two of my favourite blogs. If anyone knows what has happened and how I can get in touch with Ilyka, please let me know.




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