Saturday, July 13, 2013

Back from a month in the UK

We began our UK journey with a conference in London at the Open University where I had been invited to speak on Seeing the Psalter. This conference will lead me to write some articles...

We continued with a week in Cambridge from where I had posted on the English garden.  Then after train to Edinburgh, we rented a Fiat 500, a car that needs an octopus to drive it, the four extra legs pushing it on the Scottish roads. With this little piper, we went across Mull to Iona where we walked through the abbey, and also managed 18 holes on the pastoral golf links. On the first hole Diana lost a ball into a cow-pie (I found it) and on the 14th, we found the green heavily populated with sheep. Mother ewe was trying to suck milk from the hole, savagely tugging at the plastic cup much as her lambs suckled her with astonishing violence.  (All the other greens and fairways were more lightly populated though occasionally we had to pick up rather than hit any balls.)  Greens are mowed once a year. The rest of the time, they are maintained by the cattle and sheep.

We then toured the north of Scotland, stopping at the clan Donald museum on Skye, staying at Kyle of Localsh, playing 18 holes in Ullapool on a very difficult course (best official score is 1 over par), an overnight in Strathy, then to the Orkneys where we traced our fourth child's ancestors to 1798 - something I will write up in more detail.

Then we went south, exchanging the underpowered Fiat at Inverness for an Audi automatic, and finally to the International SBL conference at St Andrew's (where the car stayed on the street for 3 days). More to come on the conference ...

Re recent blog posts, this one seems worth looking at if anyone is concerned with faith and science and things like that. Here's a touch:
It looks as though the Christian Church, but particularly the Roman Catholic hierarchy, both collected wealth to produce a leisure class (good for science) and suppressed creativity (bad for science). Given that the system produced Copernicus, Galileo, and Mendel (and later Lemaitre and Secchi), we’d be hard pressed to say it’s been bad for science. ... Meanwhile, the Anglican strand of Christianity in England and Scotland produced many more scientists and some of the foundational philosophies that make modern science possible.