I hope that this finds you well, and filled with 2011 optimism after a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. And what a new year it is! I have noticed that many of my friends and family have entered the new year with a sense of trepidation, an optimism that this year will be better than 2010. I am remembering the quote (which comes from Eleanor Roosevelt if memory serves, but which I embarrassingly remember from Kung-Fu Panda) that the past is history, the future is a mystery, but now is a gift. That’s why we call it the ‘present’. How Zen.
As I write this I am sitting on the London to York train, gazing out at the rolling pastures of merry old England. We still appear to be in the Northern home counties, and a light snow has blanketed the landscape. The pleasing green of the pastures is still visible through a scattering of fresh pure white snow. We did just pass a rather ugly power relay station which ruined the effect somewhat, and yet I feel that I am within the heart of England. As if to confirm this suspicion, I just passed an old church and a giant Asda store. How much more British can you get than that?
Enough of the ongoing commentary. I am excited at the prospect of York, the most thoroughly medieval place I have ever been. I imagine that there are places in France or Germany that would pip it for this position, perhaps without the scars of the Reformation. Oh well, you can’t make a Godly religion without breaking some popery. Ah Puritan jokes, the last refuge of the history dork.
After a rather long hiatus, I intend to post on topics related to my research in the coming year. I am presenting papers a junket of conferences in the next couple of months, including Imagining Europe at Leiden university in late January, and Shaping Narratives at Briston in late February. I may just decide to blog about each of these conferences, and any events/ initiatives/ obsessions/ foibles that I cross my path over the next few months. I feel that a town filled with medieval ‘stuff’ and coffee shops will stimulate my noggin, and cause it to fill with new and wondrous ideas.
For Now, I will bid you adieu.