About this blog

This is a window into the weird world of Anglicanism, as experienced on a Cathedral Close. Has anything much happened since Trollope's Barchester Chronicles? You will still see the 'canon in residence' hurrying across to choral Evensong, robes flapping, as the late bell chimes. But look carefully and you will notice he is checking the football score on his iPhone as he runs. This is also a writer's blog. It charts the agony and ecstasy of the novelist's life. And it's a fighter's blog. It charts the agony and ecstasy of the judo mat. Well, the agony, anyway.

Monday 29 November 2010

In the Bleak Mid Winter

One of the things I promised myself when we moved to Cathedral Close was that I would never take it for granted. I would also never whinge about any little inconveniences that might come my way, in connection with living in a listed building.

But it’s flipping cold. I cling-filmed my study windows last week. Haven’t done that since Mr Chancellor was a theological college student in Cambridge and we lived in a house with no central heating. And had to cycle a mile and half every morning to Ridley Hall, into a head wind. That is a curious meteorological quirk of Cambridge. No matter which direction you are cycling, it’s always into a head wind. The room in Ridley had a gas fire. This meant you could warm up. Actually, it meant that you could fry your front while your back remained frozen. I used to go and sit in the Rare Books Room in the University Library just to avoid hypothermia. Wait. I used to consult rare books too. I was writing a doctoral dissertation, after all. Then after half an hour I started to think in terms of a cheese scone. If I had the money, I’d go to the coffee shop and buy one. If I was skint I’d go to the locker room and hunt for 10p pieces people had forgotten to collect from their locker refund. Ee, we were that poor.

So in comparison with our Cambridge days, we are really rather warm here. When we put the central heating on. This tends to be when we have guests. I am currently sitting in my study wearing a glamour puss ensemble of silk long johns, trackie bottoms, two pairs of thermal socks, fake Uggs, long sleeved T-shirt, cashmere hoodie, big cardigan and a nice fleecy blanket. I believe the canon precentor wears his coat in his study. I can’t verify that at present, as he keeps his shutters closed to retain any last hint of heat. This is perhaps as well. I gave him a cheery wave in passing back in the summer and he stuck two fingers up at me. Lovely man, the precentor. I may have been carrying a wine glass at the time, for reasons we needn’t go into. (I don’t normally walk round the Close wine glass in hand.) The precentor was on the wagon, so it’s possible he thought I was taunting him. The deanery exists in its own permafrost. The dean’s wife routinely dresses for Arctic weather and then emerges to find it’s actually warm outside. Because it’s August.

But we are not by any means complaining. We are jolly lucky to live here. And if we get too cold, we can always toss another prebendary on the fire.

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