A Christmas letter: miscellany

A Christmas letter: miscellany

Two more people in my broad circle have now written round-letters addressed to ‘my family and friends’, and at a rough guess appealing to neither group because of the rather strange contents, about xmas plans, food prices, shopping lists, holidays, news of people I’ve never heard of before. I feel generally alienated from these in a way I don’t a simple message that says just happy Christmas or have a good New Year. So how do present readers feel about this kind of letter that is not really a letter? For of course this miscellany is precisely such a thing.

Over the last three and a half weeks I have written three book chapters, one on the Emagusheni trading station letters, one on Olive Schreiner changing her mind about race, and the third, currently being finished off, is on the applicability or otherwise of the ideas of Elias for thinking about WWW research. For the last several months I have been deeply immersed in work for the UK’s REF research assessment process, and this has temporarily halted over the holiday period. So this writing has been a bit like a dam bursting – I’ve been thinking about each of these over a long period of time, and what I would write and how had been already settled in my mind. Then SPLuuuuuuurrrggggggeeee, out they have come.

Looking for a nice photograph to use for this blog, I was very disconcerted to discover it is now over four years since being last in South Africa. Since 1994 I have been in South Africa around 2 or 3 times a year, and twice for a whole year as well, but not since 2018. So this is a development which can be laid at the feet of Covid.

This morning I found myself in the local supermarket at 7:01am, buying vegetables of a kind that will keep until Christmas Day and the day after. At least at that time in the morning mad people not wearing masks and bumping into me were avoided! And I got fab vegetables too.

What now between today, Thursday, and Xmas Day on Saturday? Reading – a pile of books awaits!


Last updated:  23 December 2021