Mary's musings

Mary Hoffman, author of over 90 children's books, including the Stravaganza series and Amazing Grace, has begun a web journal which will be updated roughly once a week. You can read more on

Friday, April 14, 2006

Body and Soul

Last weekend was spent at a study school in Oxford on the Lady Chapel in Mediaeval Art and Architecture. A few too many of the speakers were not interested in the things that interest us, like the iconography. But there was one absolutely stonker of a lecture, from Jon Cannon, described as a freelance scholar, who talked about English cathedrals and got us all fired up with the desire to visit all 17 of the remaining mediaeval ones in the UK.

And a very high point was Saturday night's concert in the chapel of All Souls' College. The building was astounding. Looking towards the altar, one saw a solid wall of sculpture; Stevie offers "reredos" as the right term but I haven't checked. And there was an angel beam roof with all the angels newly gilt. Cambridge Voices sang 85% angelically - just a few not so good voices out of the 16, but I wished they'd sung more genuinely ancient Marian antiphons and fewer by their director. Still, it was mostly magical. Then one turned round and saw the hideous baroque screen at the west end.

2 more trips to the doctor with youngest daughter, who has had a mystery virus for four weeks. Thought I was succumbing too but my headches were prompted by what turned out to be a tooth infection. Emergency dentist drilled up into the tooth and poked a spike up it for good measure then prescribed antibiotics. "You won't be able to have any alcohol," he warned direly. "No alcohol with these," repeated the pharmacist, "not til 24 hours after you've finsihed the course." What did they think I was going to say? "Oh, I'll just have to ride the infection out - I must have my two bottles of claret a day" ?

Had a good editorial meeting here on Kings and Queens of the Bible and Princess Grace. I'll have to take both texts to the Lakes next week to do a little tinkering, now that we see how much space there is for pictures. But I was going to do some work in the evenings there anyway.

A writer friend has been here for a few days researching some Florentine history for a book. She's off to the city of heart's desire for a week next month, provoking great envy in Jess and self. But the former has won a travel award and booked herself on to a strenuous-sounding 44 day trip to India and Nepal in the summer, so that should help with the wanderlust.


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