e-Matters - 10th December 2021

Dear Members and Friends,

Tree outside PeckA warm welcome to this edition of e-Matters, our update to you on Christ Church news, events and more.

I write this at the end of 9th week, with most of the undergraduates having left for the holidays and the view from my window onto Peck looking decidedly Christmassy. The planned festivities for our last working week, however, will now sadly be on hold due to the new restrictions and from Monday we will be mainly working from home.

In this edition of e-Matters, we present some of the remarkable research being carried out by Senior Members, and share music, poetry, lectures and much more from members of the Christ Church community.

We have been sending out a variety of save the date and event invitations in the last week, including invitations to next year’s reunions, as we continue to catch up on events postponed by pandemic restrictions. Information on all the events confirmed so far can be found here. We look forward to seeing you back at the House in 2022!

With all best wishes for Christmas and the New Year,
Philippa Roberts
Development Director

P.S. Please note that the Development and Alumni Office will be closed between Monday 20th December 2021 and 3rd January 2022.

 

News from the House

Photo of Stephanie Cragg\Professor Stephanie Cragg: Mapping uncharted networks in the progression of Parkinson’s

A major new $9 million project funded by the Aligning Science Across Parkinson’s (ASAP) initiative will map the original circuits vulnerable to Parkinson’s on an unprecedented scale.

The project is a collaboration between core investigators Stephanie Cragg, Tutor for Medicine and Professor of Neuroscience, Richard Wade-Martins, Professor of Molecular Science, and Peter Magill at Oxford, Mark Howe at Boston University, and Dinos Meletis at the Karolinska Institute, as well as collaborators Yulong Li at Peking University, and Michael Lin at Stanford University.

Photo of Professor Richard Wade-MartinsThe project aims fully to map a key set of the neuronal circuitry relevant to Parkinson’s. The team will assess how circuit activity changes during the progression of Parkinson’s in vulnerable compared to resistant circuits, and define how circuit dysfunction in vulnerable circuits relates to disease symptoms. In particular, the Cragg team will focus on studying the circuits that govern dopamine output. According to Professor Cragg: “We know dopamine neurons die, and that the messages they transmit on to other cells are lost in Parkinson’s, but we don't really understand how all the other interacting circuits contribute to that and either make it worse or attempt to offset it, so we are looking to identify what the sequence of dysfunction is.”

Click here to read full article.

 

Photo of Professor Roger DaviesProfessor Roger Davies awarded the Institute of Physics' Fred Hoyle Medal and Prize 2021

We are delighted to announce that Professor Roger Davies, Christ Church Student, Wetton Professor of Astrophysics, and Director of the Hintze Centre for Astrophysical Surveys, has been awarded the Institute of Physics’ Fred Hoyle Medal and Prize 2021. 

The prestigious award recognises his seminal contributions to understanding the nature and evolution of early type galaxies.

Senior Censor, Professor Dirk Aarts comments: “It is fantastic to hear that Roger's been awarded the Fred Hoyle Medal of the Institute of Physics for his pioneering work on early-type galaxies, and for developing their use as cosmological probes. We are all tremendously proud of him!"

More information about the award and Roger’s research can be found here: https://www.physics.ox.ac.uk/news/professor-davies-recognised-iop

 

Photo of Professor Yarin GalProfessor Yarin Gal named one of five Samsung AI Researchers of the Year

Professor Yarin Gal, Tutor in Computer Science at Christ Church, has been announced as one of five ‘Samsung AI Researcher of the Year’ award winners. The awards were launched last year to discover rising AI researchers globally.

The awards were announced on the first day of the Samsung AI Forum, an event which gathers leading experts to discuss the latest technology trends and research findings. The two-day event held on 1 and 2 November enabled participants to discuss applications of AI that will make a practical contribution to people’s daily lives.

Yarin commented ‘I am honoured to receive this award, and I want to thank my students and collaborators - this award is really for them’.

 

 

Landslides in Mars' Cerberus Fossae.NASA's InSight team announces results of attempt to detect Perseverance’s landing on Mars

 

Scientists from the NASA InSight mission to Mars have announced the results of a groundbreaking seismic experiment led by researchers in Oxford’s Department of Earth Sciences. One of the researchers is Dr Ben Fernando, Outreach Postgraduate Fellow of Christ Church.

The results were published in the journal Nature Astronomy.

In February of this year, the team attempted to detect the entry, descent, and landing of NASA’s Mars 2020 (Perseverance) mission using sensors carried onboard the InSight spacecraft, which has operated on Mars since 2018. This groundbreaking experiment was the first time that one spacecraft on the surface of another planet had attempted to detect the arrival of another.

Prior to landing, the team predicted that the most promising potentially detectable signal was from the impact of Mars 2020’s balance masses with the surface. In a paper published recently in the journal Nature Astronomy, the team revealed that although they had not detected the signal from Perseverance’s landing, the non-detection enabled them to place the first constraints on a key geological property of Mars called ‘seismic efficiency’.

This quantity is the fraction of energy converted from meteorites hitting the ground which is converted into seismic waves, and controls how large a marsquake is produced by meteorites striking the planet. The team found that it was less than 3%.

Dr Benjamin Fernando, the paper's lead author, said: ‘This experiment was the first time that anything like this had been tried on Mars. The nondetection of a signal associated with the landing enables us to constrain the seismic efficiency on Mars for the first time, and we measure it to be less than 3%. This is a valuable additional piece of information about the physics of meteorite and asteroid impacts. The workflow we have developed will help us conduct similar studies in the future, both on Mars and the other icy and rocky worlds of our Solar System.'

The paper can be accessed here.

 

A Sustainable House

Solar panelsChrist Church has for many years been acutely aware of its potential impact on the environment and taken steps to reduce its carbon footprint, both in its operations and in its investment approach. However, the unarguable confirmation that humankind’s current lifestyle is not sustainable has brought renewed vigour to the House’s efforts and commitment.
 
A detailed report, written by James Lawrie, The Treasurer, will be published in Christ Church Matters #47 in January. To support our sustainability approach, we encourage Member and Friends to switch to paper-less version. If you would like to be sent a digital copy instead, please fill out the communication preferences form  here: https://www.chch.ox.ac.uk/alumni/communications-page

 

Visitor centre of Christ ChurchChrist Church wins Oxford Preservation Trust Award 2021

Christ Church's Visitor Centre has been recognised by Oxford Preservation Trust in their 2021 awards. 

Each year, the OPT Awards celebrate the contribution that buildings and environmental projects can make to Oxford’s character, its streets and its green spaces. Christ Church won a Oxford Preservation Trust award for new buildings.

The historic thatched barn sitting within the sensitive Christ Church Meadows was transformed into a new visitor centre complete with an interpretation area, shop and café.

The project incorporates the re-use of the historic barn, enhances the visitor experience at Christ Church, and has enabled the Chapter House, which was previously used as a tourist shop, to be restored.

 

An update from the Christ Church Association

At its last AGM in March 2021, the Christ Church Association resolved to revise its constitution.  There was a CCA Committee meeting on 13th July at which was established a sub-committee to join a Working Group to do this. The Working Group consists of three trustees, three non-trustees and the Development Director. The draft minutes have been circulated to the committee but await confirmation at the next CCA Committee meeting. The first meeting of the Working Group is scheduled for 14th December. The date of the next AGM will be fixed when progress has been made with the draft constitution. 

 

From the Library...

EuclidThe Library is delighted to be able to celebrate the return to Christ Church of a copy of Euclid’s Elements of Geometrie (London, 1570), with a preface by John Dee. The book was presented to Christ Church Library by nine students on receiving their Master of Arts degrees in 1587 but had been sold as a duplicate in the eighteenth century.  It was very important to us to be able to bring back ‘home’ a rare example of an early group donation to the Library.
 
Christ Church was the first Oxford college to introduce a system of encouraging those graduating to give either a book or money to the Library, but the practice of students giving books to the Library upon receiving degrees was not codified until the first statutes were written in 1614.
 
The volume contains an inscription detailing the names of the students who donated the book, and we can trace their careers beyond Christ Church through biographical and archival sources. Only three other examples of group donations of books to the Library are known (books donated in 1583, 1584 and 1585) and having the Euclid back in the Library’s care offers many opportunities to find out more about the early history of Christ Church Library, of mathematics at the college, and to support book history research in Oxford and beyond.  The binding of the volume shows the trace of where the volume was chained in the Old Library. We will of course make it freely available for research and teaching both in-person and online and look forward to showing the book to Old Members and other interested visitors.
 
The book is also significant for its content. It is the first edition of the first complete English translation of Euclid’s Elements, which was originally written by Euclid of Alexandria around 300BCE and transmitted through the medieval world in Greek, Arabic, Latin and other languages. Euclid’s Elements has been referred to as the most successful and influential textbook ever written. It was one of the earliest mathematical works to be printed after the invention of the printing press, with nearly 300 editions of the text appearing between 1482 and 1700, ranging in size from large format volumes to small pocket-books. The 1570 translation by Sir Henry Billingsley, a successful London merchant who later became Lord Mayor, relied on the work of two earlier editors, Campanus Novara and Bartolomeo Zamberti.  The volume contains John Dee's preface, considered by many to be his most important published work, along with unique pop-up models of geometric solids.
 
The volume is a very important addition to the unique collection of early scientific and mathematical works held by the Library.  The acquisition of the book was made possible due to a most generous grant from the Friends of the National Libraries, and support from Dr Fiona Hollands (1985), and Ethan Berman. The Library is extremely grateful to all who have enabled the book to return to Christ Church, and to all Old Members who support the Library in so many different ways.

 

Christ Church Cathedral Choir: St John's Smith Square Carol Concert

St John's Smith SquareWe are delighted to invite you to a Christmas concert performed by the Christ Church Cathedral Choir. The concert will take place on Tuesday 14th December at 19:30 at St John's Smith Square, London.

Click here to book tickets online.

The Choristers and Clerks of Christ Church Cathedral Choir will perform a selection of Christmas music to celebrate the festive season. The programme, below, will include some familiar favourites and a range of works from the 16th century to the present day including Praetorius, Poulenc, and Rutter.

Steven Grahl – Director

Benjamin Sheen – Organist

Daniel Baker – Organ Scholar

Once in Royal David’s city                                          

arr. Willcocks

Sussex Carol  

arr. Willcocks

Jesus Christ the Apple Tree                                    

Poston

In dulci jubilo BWV 729 (organ solo)                      

Bach

Magnificat quinti toni          

Praetorius

Make we joy now in this fest                       

Walton

O Holy Night                                                                 

arr. Buck

I saw three ships                                                          

arr. Maw

INTERVAL

 

Good Day, Sir Christemas!                                  

Frances-Hoad

Away in a manger                                                         

arr. Maw

Magnificat         

Swayne

Toccata-Gigue on the Sussex Carol (organ solo)     

Baker

O magnum mysterium                          

Poulenc

 

Quem vidistis                                                  

Poulenc

Quelle est cette odeur agréable                                 

arr. Willcocks

Videntes stellam                                                 

Poulenc

Hodie Christus natus est                                       

Poulenc

The Twelve Days of Christmas                            

arr. Rutter

Book cover of 'Like a Tree, Walking'

'Like a Tree, Walking' by Professor Vahni Capildeo

Congratulations to Professor Vahni Capildeo, Honorary Student of Christ Church, whose new collection has received prestigious recognition from the Poetry Book Society.

Vahni’s upcoming poetry collection, Like a Tree, Walking, has been selected by the Poetry Book Society as its Winter Choice for 2021. Taking its title from a story of sight miraculously regained, this book draws on Vahni's interest in ecopoetics and silence. Many pieces originate in specific places, from nocturnes and lullabies in hilly Port of Spain to 'stillness exercises' recording microenvironments – emotional and aural – around English trees. These journeys offer a configuration of the political that makes space for new kinds of address, declaration and relation.

Christ Church Matters 46: The Admission of Women. Correction by the Archivist.

‘I apologise for misrepresenting the Governing Body which voted for the admission of women to Christ Church.  In my article in CCM 46 (pages 4-6), I stated that the vote in GB was close. It was not. Whilst opinion in the University as a whole was shown by the relevant vote of Congregation to be fairly evenly divided, (the vote in Congregation was 88-85 in favour of allowing the colleges to make their own decisions about going mixed), the Students of Christ Church were far more positive and enlightened. In 1978, the Tutors voted by 21 – 7 to admit women as undergraduates, and then the whole Governing Body concurred with a vote of 31 – 9. An earlier vote to admit women to senior posts was won by a similar margin.’

Judith Curthoys
College Archivist

 

Movember at Christ Church

MovemberMovember is a men's health charity which focuses on tackling these specific men's health issues: prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health and suicide prevention. These are issues which are either male-specific or affect men disproportionately. The statistics do a lot of the talking: every minute a man dies by suicide in the UK; 75% of suicides in the UK are men; 1 in 8 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime; every 45 minutes a man dies because of prostate cancer. The likelihood is that one day you, your brother, dad, granddad, uncle, or friend will be affected by at least on of these issues - many of us are unfortunately already all too aware of their prevalence. Movember uses the money it raises to fund more than 1,250 men's health projects globally, helping to raise awareness of these issues and prevent men from dying too young. More information is available on their website, https://uk.movember.com/about/foundation.
 
During November, Members of the House grew moustaches and some ran 60km, for the 60 men around the World who commit suicide every hour. Please feel free to join our ChCh team if you have been participating through https://movember.com/t/christ-church-movember?mc=1 or donate using the same link. 

 

Photo of Judith Valerie EngelPiano Recital by Judith Valerie Engel.

We are delighted to share a special piano recital with you, given by Judith Valerie Engel, Austrian concert pianist and musicologist, and DPhil candidate in Historical Musicology at University of Oxford. 

Engel first started studying the piano at the age of five with Russian pianist and Neuhaus student Prof. Mag. Nina Igudesman. From the age of 17 onwards, after graduating high school a year early, renowned pianist and pedagogue Prof. Pavel Gililov was her teacher. Under his supervision she completed her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree with highest distinction at the Mozarteum Salzburg, where she was also a recipient of the university’s merit-based scholarship. In 2016 she spent a semester abroad at the Sibelius Academy Helsinki, studying with Teppo Koivisto. Before coming to Oxford, Engel was pursuing graduate studies at UBC in Vancouver, in the piano studio of Dr. Terence Dawson, winning multiple academic awards and scholarships. For many years, Engel also took private lessons with Austrian pianist and author Paul Badura-Skoda. Further inspiration came from masterclasses with Matti Raekallio, Rena Sharon, and Mihaela Ursuleasa, as well as regular singing and conducting lessons.

Engel is a laureate of numerous national and international competitions for solo piano, as well as chamber music and art song. Concert tours took her to over a dozen countries around the world. Her recordings have been widely acclaimed and aired on Austrian, German and Dutch radio and TV stations.

(This concert was the first event to take place in the newly restored Chapter House, and occurred before acoustic work could be completed. Thus, the drapes you see in the films were needed as a temporary measure.)

The concert can be viewed on the Christ Church Vimeo Channel.

Book cover of Unveiled'Unveiled' by Clare Hayns

Some women of the bible are well known but many others are barely remembered and even when they are, they are often marginal figures, their lives obscured by the more dominant male characters. The Chaplain, Revd Clare Hayns, and her artist son Micah, have produced a beautiful book, ‘Unveiled: Women of the Old Testament and the choices they made’, published by Bible Reading Fellowship in October 2021, which tells the stories of over forty women from the Hebrew Scriptures, each one illustrated by Micah, who has created forty original paintings and drawings which bring each of the women to life. Clare explains how the book came about. “In 2020 I set myself the challenge of writing about a bible women a day for the forty days of Lent for a blog. I found that the stories of these women were both mysterious and intriguing  but also incredibly current. These are women with relationship struggles, sibling rivalries, financial challenges and fertility issues. They are also women with remarkable gifts, skills, faith and fortitude. Any book about women also had to cover difficult issues such as sexual violence and oppression and the #ThemToo chapter reveals how important it is to listen to the voices of women and survivors.” Each chapter tells the story of one of these women and contains a reflection to bring this into our context and ends with a short prayer.
 
A review from a ChCh Alumna Megan Chester (2017):

'It turns out, the Old Testament is packed full of wonderful women. Who knew? Unveiled allows readers to spend time with biblical women, getting to know their stories and learning from their lives. From Eve to Miriam, Abigail to Jezebel - Clare's words and Micah's artworks remind us of these women's realness and relevance. They were powerful, resilient influential and beautiful. They were also imperfect, overlooked, mistreated and discontent. Sound familiar? 
 
The book can be purchased widely including from BRF: https://www.brfonline.org.uk/search?type=product&q=unveiled
Painting and prints can be viewed and purchased here - https://www.micahhayns.com/copy-of-unveiled
 

News from Alumni

Dame Kate Bingham delivered this year's Romanes Lecture

Dame Kate Bingham delivered the Romanes Lecture

On Tuesday 23rd November, Dame Catherine Elizabeth Bingham, DBE (1983) delivered this year’s Romanes Lecture. 

In May 2020 Kate was appointed Chair of the UK Vaccine Taskforce reporting to the Prime Minister to lead UK efforts to find and manufacture a COVID-19 vaccine. On 8 December 2020 the UK started COVID-19 vaccinations – the first Western country to do so. In her lecture, Kate discussed how the UK’s response to the pandemic evolved. It can be viewed here.

The Romanes Lecture is the annual public lecture of the University. A most distinguished public figure from the arts, science or literature is invited by special invitation of the Vice-Chancellor. The lecture was created in 1891, following an offer by George John Romanes of Christ Church to fund an annual lecture, and the first lecture was given in 1892 by William Gladstone.

 

Dr Eeva John conferred the Lambeth Doctor of Divinity

Dr Eeva John conferred the Lambeth Doctor of DivinityArchbishop Justin Welby has conferred Lambeth doctorates on two people, including Dr Eeva John (1979), who played a central role in the Church of England’s landmark Living in Love and Faith project.

The Rt Revd Dr Christopher Cocksworth, Bishop of Coventry, and Dr Eeva John were each granted the Lambeth Doctorate of Divinity, in recognition of the “outstanding theological quality and intellectual rigour” of their work.

Dr Eeva John was appointed in 2017 to the role of Enabling Officer for Living in Love and Faith and the Pastoral Advisory Group, Archbishop’s Council.

Using her “keen and creative understanding of practical theology, attention to method, theological depth and extraordinary people skills”, her citation said, Dr John played a central role in coordinating the wide-ranging participation needed to ensure the project reflected a variety of voices and experiences.

Dr Eeva John was a Senior Scholar in 1979, making her the first woman admitted through the doors of Christ Church.

Click here to read the full article.

 

Photo of Amédée Turner QCAmédée Turner QC: 26 March 1929 – 13 September 2021

Amédée Turner QC (1949), alumnus of Christ Church, passed away on 13th September 2021.

Amédée Turner, who has passed away aged 92, read English at Christ Church from 1948 to 1951. 

He was called to the bar in 1954, and for a time thereafter worked as an associate of Kenyon & Kenyon, patent attorneys, in New York City, advising American clients on English patent law. In 1960 he returned to chambers in London, and in 1962 published The Law of Trade Secrets. He took silk in 1976, but his busy practice at the bar was largely suspended when he was elected as a Conservative member of the European Parliament for Suffolk in 1979, a seat he held for fifteen years. He had, however, prepared another authoritative legal work, The Law of the New European Patent which was published in 1980.

As an MEP, Amédée was active in the harmonisation of pan-European intellectual property law, in particular as the rapporteur of Trade Mark, Regulation and Directive and the spokesman on the European Parliament Research and Technology Committee: European policy on Industrial Research and Development.

Click here to read Amédée Turner's obituary in The Times. Please note that this obituary is behind a paywall.
 

Michel Strauss: 23 September 1936 –18 October 18 2021

Photo of Michael Strauss Michael Strauss (1954), alumnus of Christ Church, passed away on 23rd September 2021.

Michael Strauss, who has passed away aged 85, began studying PPE at Christ Church in 1954, before transferring to Harvard where he read History of Art and Russian Literature.
 
He began working for Sotheby’s in 1961, aged 25, and retired from the company in 2000, following a 40-year long career specialising in Impressionism and 20th Century art.

Michael was head of the Impressionist and Modern Art department from 1965-92. During this time he advised the British Rail Pension Fund, overseeing a £3.4 million investment in Impressionist and Modern art that returned almost £35 million, with some works reselling at 20 to 30 times their purchase price a decade earlier. Paul Cézanne’s watercolor Nature Morte au Melon Vert was bought for £ 300,000 and sold 11 years later for £2.2 million, and a £205,000 drawing of van Gogh for £2.1 million. Michael’s eye was unmatched.

For those interested in learning more about Michael’s life and career, you can read his memoir, Pictures, Passion and Eye: A Life at Sotheby’s, published in 2011.  

 Click here to read Michael Strauss' obituary in The Telegraph. Please note that this obituary is behind a paywall.

 

Sir Martin Wood: 19 April 1927 – 23 November 2021

Sir Martin Wood and his wife, Lady Audrey WoodSir Martin Wood, an Honorary Student of the House (2003), passed away on 23rd November 2021.

Sir Martin received a degree of Doctor of Civil Law at Encaenia in June 2004 and was awarded the President's Medal of the Institute of Physics in 2002. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society; a previous Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire; Fellow of Wolfson College; Chairman of Oxford Economic Partnership; Honorary Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering; a member of the Order of the Rising Sun, awarded by the Emperor of Japan; and received a knighthood in 1986 for his services to science. He died on November 23rd, aged 94, following a short illness. He leaves behind his wife, Lady Audrey, a son, a daughter, and two step-children.

His work pioneering the development of the world's first super conducting magnet, as well as the first fully functioning MRI for medical use, led to millions of lives being saved every year. From 1955-69 he was Senior Research Officer at the Clarendon Laboratory of Physics, and he co-founded Oxford Instruments in 1959 (Deputy Chairman following flotation in 1983). Oxford Instruments is now a world leader in magnetic imaging technology and has won 5 Queen's Awards for Enterprise.

Sir Martin founded the Earth Trust in 1967, an environmental learning charity which aims to promote environmental conservation through land management, education, and land science. In 2016 the work of the Earth Trust Volunteers was recognised when they received The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service – the MBE for volunteer groups. In 1985 Sir Martin and Lady Audrey established the Oxford Trust, a charity encouraging the pursuit of science and enterprise. In 2005 Oxford Innovation, a company which came out of the Oxford Trust, launched the Martin and Audrey Wood Enterprise Awards for entrepreneurship. Sir Martin was President of Farm Africa, a UK-based charitable organization set up in 1985 that works with farmers, pastoralists and forest communities in eastern Africa, which was co-founded by his late brother Sir Michael Wood. Sir Martin also co-founded the Sylvia Foundation in 2009, a sister charity to The Oxford Trust and Earth Trust which aimed to nurture Britain’s wood culture, and remained patron alongside Lady Audrey.

Chief Executive of The Oxford Trust, Steve Burgess, said:

“Martin’s passion for innovation and physics cannot be understated. Not only through his direct work on superconducting magnets which, via MRI scanners alone, effects millions of lives every year, but also supporting early-stage technology companies at a time when no one else had the vision to do this. With Audrey always at his side the duo has made an incredible impact on today’s entrepreneurial landscape and in science education. His legacy will be carried forward by The Oxford Trust.”

Chief Executive of Earth Trust, Jayne Manley, said:

“Martin’s love of the environment, his appreciation of the benefits of being close to nature and his desire to make it better for everyone have shaped Earth Trust into what it is today. Just as he pioneered in science, he wanted to support innovation in thought and action. Alongside this he understood that Earth Trust was a ‘start-up’ charity, bringing with it similar challenges to those faced by small businesses. He was much loved by staff, volunteers and visitors and will be missed enormously by all.”

Click here to read Sir Martin Wood's obituary on the BBC website. 
Click here to read Sir Martin Wood's obituary in the Telegraph. Please note that this obituary is behind a paywall.

Other News

Oxbridge Watercolours

Oxbridge WatercoloursOxbridge Watercolours is a collection of 54 paintings of the beautiful college buildings of Oxford and Cambridge Universities by members of the Royal Watercolour Society together with historical notes and anecdotes associated with colleges and artists. 

The book includes maps of Oxford and Cambridge and alongside each of the college paintings are historical notes which contain anecdotes not generally found in guide books. This 128-page paperback book offers a nostalgic look at the beauty and history of probably the most architecturally stunning cities in Britain and their prestigious universities and is a  perfect keepsake for Alumni of Oxford and Cambridge.

The book can be purchased online with a number of retailers and a discounted price is available at Blackwells, or direct from Vine House Distribution, tel: 01825 767396, email: sales@vinehouseuk.co.uk

 

 

Christ Church Cathedral, New Zealand, in recovery

Christ Church Cathedral, New Zealand, in recovery

Having been severely damaged in the 2011 earthquake, the Christ Church Cathedral in Christchurch, New Zealand, is now a hive of restoration activity.

Both the city and cathedral were named after the House, by Houseman founder, John Robert Godley (matr. 1832). Those interested in learning more about the cathedral restoration work should visit https://christchurchcathedral.org.nz/.

Lewis Carroll SocietyLewis Carroll Society Book Sale

The Lewis Carroll Society has reduced the price of its entire range of books, including the last few remaining complete sets of THE DIARIES OF LEWIS CARROLL. Thanks to the extensive biographical and contextual notes by renowned Carroll expert Edward Wakeling, these volumes, covering the years 1855 to 1897, provide a detailed insight into four decades of Victorian Christ Church, Oxford and elsewhere. The reduced price is now £95 and for any Oxford orders there is no additional postage cost. More information about the contents - individual diaries are also available - can be found here:

https://lewiscarrollsociety.org.uk/volume-by-volume/

The LCS website also lists all the other books available - biographies, puzzle books, children’s books and more – priced from £1 upwards. For further information and Oxford enquiries, please contact Mark Davies at oxfordtowpathpress@gmail.com

Alumni Poetry

Amongst The Heather
By Dr Hemal Jayasuriya (1978)

 
Two women roll out their mat
For a Loch side picnic
Sit down munching chocolates.
These help us to ward off the cold
They say. Yes those brown cubes
Have many pluses and minuses.
 Eaten in moderation, they do you some good.
Here, taste some East Lothian berries.
They taste tropical like the Sunshine
That can be lapped up on a beach
In Goa, at the edge of the Indian Ocean.
I have some cream in this jug.
You can dunk them in it
Before slipping them into your mouth.
 
 
Can you see some stags roaming
Feeling the freedom of the chilly wind
There in the distance, amongst the Heather.
Those craggy peaks stare down
At us without a smile. I am sure
Salmon are making their way upstream
To spawn. Up on high, some Eagle eyes
Are hovering looking down to swoop
Onto the water and pluck out
A fish with its tallons.
I see those glorious snow
Capped mountains beyond the Loch
And the trees surrounding us
Creaking in the wind
The leaves rustling
Making music
To please the ears.
 
 
Now, there are some raindrops
Splashing rhythmically into the Loch.
Mind is brought to a stillness
Mesmerised by the slanted
Thin shafts of falling rain
Establishing mindfulness, without a thought.
Then thoughts begin to break out
Of the one-pointed mind
Fly to old haunts down river Tay.
That line which divides
The salt water of the North Sea
From the fresh water flowing
Down from the highlands :
The Estuarine Line, it must exist
Somewhere, though the eyes cannot discern it.
Never mind I know
It is hiding in an invisible space