If you wanted a Bishop this past week, you should have tried praying to St Hugh. We were all at St Hugh’s College, Oxford for the annual gathering of the “College of Bishops”, with a Top Secret Agenda. Well, it’s supposed to be confidential anyway, so no give-aways here, but I can safely say that we had some excellent presentations on important stuff, and that the worship was particularly good, perhaps because it was “outsourced” to some of the college chaplains. (So it will be a special privilege to return the compliment and preach for Jenn Strawbridge next term at my alma mater, Keble, which hosted one of our services.)
Oxford is a good venue, but full of temptations to lure us away from the agenda, most of which begin like Bishops with B, so are obviously appropriate – like Blackwells Bookshop, the Bodleian Library, and not a few Bars. So a cunning plan was devised which built them into the programme. The redevelopment of the New Bodleian is very well done. It’s been opened up to Broad Street and has a spacious atrium/cafe/exhibition area which reminds me of the British Library. Well worth a visit, though I can’t guarantee you a rainbow over the Sheldonian.
Next door at Blackwell’s there was another small miracle, when I found a seriously recherche book in the sale bin reduced from £45 to £5, and on a subject I am just working on myself – some fascinating research by Linne Mooney and others which has used the little-looked-at heap of official London papers of c.1400 to identify the scribes who wrote the manuscripts of Chaucer, Lydgate et al. A wonderful detective story. So now, a good read beckons, a good glass of something, and the good company of Mrs T.