It’s half past one in the morning and I’ve admitted defeat in trying to get something big finished that I’ve been working on more or less constantly since Good Friday morning (save for a few breaks such as an excursion to Richmond Park – so many deer!). It’s a corker, or at least a corker-in-the-making for the time being; check back tomorrow and I may be done. Before I turn in for the night, there are two or three great things I’d like to share with you via the medium of bullet points…
- First, and most topical, is a tidbit of scriptural information I gained from no less a figure than Lord Bragg. Something (perhaps years half-listening to ‘In Our Time’ and failing to take in everything that is being said) made me choose to keep watching his programme about Mary Magdalene – catch it while you can on iPlayer. It was a wise choice, since he cited a Bible reference (or rather references – it is to be found in the gospels of Mark and Luke) that is very relevant to my comparative work on “seven ditches” names/places. The verse(s) in question record how Mary had seven demons or devils expelled from her; this blog post I came across just now explains it in more detail. Indisputably an act of purification, moreover one involving the number seven, it corresponds to the explicit or implicit themes of a number of the other uses of the figure listed in my survey (which is here if you haven’t seen it already).
- Trawling the usual suspects, I came across the new look Kemble website and more to the point its brand new Announcements page where I spotted that Susan Kelly’s Charters of Chertsey Abbey is in effect next but one to be published in the Anglo-Saxon Charters series I have waxed lyrical about on more than one occasion and in more than one location on this site – take a look at my guide to the online resources available for studying charters as an intro. I’m way more excited about this than a 29-year old should be. Working on the premise that the preceding two-volume Charters of Christ Church, Canterbury will be published in the late spring (though my sole authority for this is Amazon), by my reckoning it may see the light of day before the year is out. It’s top of my Christmas list already.
- Finally, the other day I discovered I had series linked a BBC4 programme with the eye-catching title Pagans and Pilgrims: Britain’s Holiest Places. To keep myself entertained, nay awake, while I finished off this post, I watched the first two episodes and I was more than pleasantly surprised. The look and sound of it is indistinguishable from 1001 other BBC4 documentaries, all sweeping landscape panoramas and the occasional helicopter-shot flyover set to the sound of a string of midly-inappropriate classical favourites, before winding down to lingering shots of the presenter looking pensively into the middle distance. What really sets P&P apart is the watchability (well, my spellcheck recognises it as a word) of its presenter, Ifor ap Glyn. No clue what his background is, but his easiness in front of the camera is in marked contrast to the stuffiness which afflicted Robert Bartlett and his series The Normans, but is nevertheless underpinned by in-depth research (hence some of the more obscure places he visits) which is a world away from the brash gormlessness of, say, your average Countryfile presenter. I have two more episodes still to catch up on, and there are two more yet to be screened. Do yourself a favour and treat your eyes and mind to some meaty chunks of hour-long intelligent TV (also suitable for vegetarians).
It’s three in the morning. I really am done for tonight.