#Advent20 #WinchesterWaits


I didn’t get online yesterday, as I was bobbing around Winchester, and checking out the Christmas Markets, taking time to stop off at #WinchesterWaits. Meantime, this note from Brian:

Don’t forget, too, to make space this weekend to stop, relax, breathe and smile. If you find yourself at the shops, practice this somewhere busy, and notice what happens within you.

#AdventBookClub: Day 10: Carrying the Vision

Durham Lumiere 2013, CC Bex Lewis

Durham Lumiere 2013, CC Bex Lewis

Interesting thoughts from Ron Glusenkamp – that Advent can be a season for spiritual U-turns, as we stop running away and head towards God… as we crash and burn without God… after some of the conversations that were inevitable whilst in Winchester (are you coming back? being the most frequent one) I still feel that I’m where God wants me to be, though it’s not always easy!

Maggi Dawn’s Beginnings and Endings also deals with a journey – a nomadic journey without any clear ending. For Isaac and his people “Their job was to pick up the vision, carry it on and then hand it over to the next generation.” Something which we may have to accept in a culture which threatens to subsume us.

Isaac might be able to teach us something here. He didn’t pick a fight with the surrounding culture, but neither did he allow it to subsume him. He continued to dig in all the places his father had taught him until he found a place that he could peacefully occupy, a place that his hostile neighbours did not steal from him.

Following on from yesterday, we get the sense of building upon the strong lessons from the past, rather than a feeling that we need to start from scratch (and I definitely feel that with the digital spaces) as we hold onto God’s promises. I also really like the idea that there is room in the world for those who have different points of view – and that we can disagree without becoming combative (oh, if only we could see more of this online!)

There’s a great challenge from @briandraper today – to stop trying to capture everything that is around us (through a camera) lens and just BE a part of something! That was certainly something that several of the exhibits at Lumber encouraged recently – especially within the Cathedral with “fireflies” – one just had to sit in a pew and be there!

Always Great on Twitter @WinchesterCity

Sarah, who’s behind the @WinchesterCity Twitter account, is always prompt and helpful in responding to Tweets. Last year I tried to report a dangerous path near me, uneven, with at least 2/4 lights not working, to fixmystreet. Because it’s a pedestrian walkway, rather than a road, they couldn’t get a GPS fix, so asked me to let me know the numbers on the posts… well, I can’t see them, as I only use that path in the dark, and it’s dark because half the lights don’t work… I tried to send an email describing which roads it was between, but this was a real case of  ‘the computer says no’. WinchesterCity tried to help… the other week it’s was finally bright when I walked down (I’ll stop getting the bus now, so won’t walk past again)… so I have sent it back into the system…

University of Winchester at Risk?

Below is University of Winchester’s Senior Management’s response to the Universities at Risk Report which was published yesterday.

The report, titled Universities at Risk, published on 8 December by the University and College Union (UCU) is deeply flawed. The report assesses likely financial difficulty or closure by crudely highlighting the level and proportion of public funding and the numbers of students from disadvantaged backgrounds, while crucially ignoring fundamental factors such as profitability, liquidity, student demand and the ability to replace the loss of funding with fees.

It is unacceptable and irresponsible of the UCU to publish this ill-informed report. The University of Winchester, like many of the institutions included on the list, is in strong financial health, is able to demonstrate high quality teaching and research and is continuing to attract high numbers of students. The report has the potential to be deeply damaging to the reputations of the universities identified and therefore their ability to recruit students under next year’s new fee regime.

The University shares UCU’s concern about the removal of HEFCE and TDA funding for large numbers of subjects and the disproportionate effect on particular institutions. However, higher education is about to be transformed by the new fee regime and it will be student demand that will determine the financial health of institutions. The University recognises the scale of the challenges ahead and is well-placed with a strong track record, a distinctive ethos and specialist reputation to compete in the market and ensure its future.

Supporting British Farmers

The supermarkets are now stocking more and more Organic, Fair Trade and Local items. Fair trade items include coffee, tea, chocolate, bananas, geobars. Keep your eyes peeled for other items! Also look at buying items locally at Farmers Markets (Hampshire) or through Organic Doorstop Delivery Schemes, including:

Check Big Barn for local producers.

The Real Jam & Chutney Co.

“Do you like real food that tastes of what it says on the label? So do we. In fact, that’s why The Real Jam and Chutney Co was formed in 2004.

Hazel Southam, one of the company’s founders, had never tasted Raspberry Jam that lived up to that made by her grandmother, Constance Hall. Realising that if she couldn’t find jam of the quality that she’d known as a child, then probably other people couldn’t either, Hazel helped set up the business.

We wanted to bring Constance Hall’s delicious recipes to a wider public who we knew would love them as much as we did.”

Read more here. I especially love the RASPBERRY JAM!

Winchester: Space for Peace, 27th January

A CHORAL event at Winchester Cathedral to promote peace is being held next Wednesday (January 27). Organised by the city’s university, it aims to bring together several choirs and a host of musical styles from across the globe. Professor June Boyce-Tillman will lead the interfaith event, and it follows on from a similar concert at the cathedral in early 2009. The performers will tackle a range of motets, hymns, religious songs, chants and music from other alternative faiths.

Read full story.

2nd January

It’s been an odd day so far, woken by the postman, read for an hour – then next thing I know it’s 1pm! Not in favour of the gym today, so decided to go out for a walk before it got too late!

Just in time to catch the sun falling at the bottom of St Catherine’s Hill!

Beautiful colours…

Halfway up the hill, the sun is going down quickly over Winchester…

Just in time to catch the last drops of sunlight…

I finally worked out how to use the Macro function on my camera – it had moved from the previous model and I’d given up looking!

New Year’s Day 2010

After a surprisingly delightful New Year’s Eve on my own (I’m an Extrovert, don’t you know, get my energy from being round people!), I chilled out with a DVD, and was still awake when a very luminescent “blue moon” (apparently meaning 2 full moons in a month), made me look outside – this shot doesn’t in any way do it justice (what do you expect), but it was pretty magical!

A Blue Moon

After a morning of cleaning out the fridge, whipping up a smoothie and a doze, decided to hit the outside – and MY was it cold! Walked into town, seeing the old buses trundling past (all full!), before taking some time to locate the 93 out to Twyford Waterworks. Beautiful crisp day, but took about 2 hours to rewarm once I got in!

Beautiful weather as I head into Winchester…

One of many old buses hanging around the bus station

I risked the top deck for a bit of a view on a LOVELY day!

Couple more old buses outside the Guildhall – if you’re into buses you’ll know more – I’ve known this goes on for years, just never witnesses it! Buses were jam-packed… run by the Friends of King Alfred Buses.

Bus took me out to Twyford Waterworks (after a 20 minute delay) – where Matthew Feldwick gave me what was probably the quickest tour of his life, but enough info for me – it was just me so we were able to talk “small amounts of steam, getting bigger”, rather than “tech speak” – hurrah!

Theoretically functional (and beautifully decorated), and will be again, once National Lottery funding has been awarded (bidding in process)… on the boiler room (3/4 remaining boilers in the country in this building)

How beautiful was the light on a crisp, frosty afternoon! This was the view from up by the lime kilns/trains! Check out their open days, and support this historic building (gives me lots to think about for Creating and Consuming History module!)

Bangkok Brasserie, Winchester

bangkok-brasserie-thai-foodNom, nom – go here! Been for the first time tonight (it’s where an Italian restaurant used to be) with a friend. We had a mixed platter for starters (which was all lovely – I’m not usually a fan of spring rolls, but mine was delicious, although we were both saying the Prawn Toasts were the winner!). I had coconut rice and cashew chicken for my main, which was lovely, especially the rice – and was then too full for dessert. Karen had Sticky Rice and sweet and sour white fish. The sticky rice was not good, but they apologised and immediately took it off the bill (can’t ask for more than that!), but the other, and the Jasmine tea afterwards was apparently exquisite!

Winchester’s Christmas Lights Go Up

The Christmas lights for Winchester will be lit up tonight, and here’s a heartfelt observation (with which I largely agree) by a student at the University of Winchester: WINOL: Are we destroying Christmas?

Ben Stein, Jewish Actor, is purported to have said the following:

Herewith at this happy time of year, a few confessions from my beating heart:

I have no freaking clue who Nick and Jessica are. I see them on the cover of People and Us constantly when I am buying my dog biscuits and kitty litter. I often ask the checkers at the grocery stores. They never know who Nick and Jessica are either. Who are they? Will it change my life if I know who they are and why they have broken up? Why are they so important? I don’t know who Lindsay Lohan is, either, and I do not care at all about Tom Cruise’s wife.

Am I going to be called before a Senate committee and asked if I am a subversive? Maybe, but I just have no clue who Nick and Jessica are. Is this what it means to be no longer young. It’s not so bad.

Next confession: I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was  Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees Christmas trees. I don’t feel threatened. I don’t feel discriminated against. That’s what they are: Christmas trees. It doesn’t bother me a bit when people say, “Merry Christmas” to me. I don’t think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn’t bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu. If people want a creche, it’s just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

I don’t like getting pushed around for being a Jew and I don’t think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can’t find it in the Constitution and I don’t like it being shoved down my throat.

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship Nick and Jessica and we aren’t allowed to worship God as we understand Him?

I guess that’s a sign that I’m getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where Nick and Jessica came from and where the America we knew went to.


I, and others, have been wondering at the gradual downgrading of Christmas to “the Holidays” in order to “not offend” certain people/groups, yet this year Halloween was probably the most celebrated event I have seen so far this year, highly promoted by restaurants, etc. Why is that acceptable and Christmas isn’t?

Capture, Alfred, E-Journals at the University of Winchester

Capture and Alfred journals 2009This summer, I was the co-editor of Capture, and on the Editorial Board of Alfred, E-Journals at the University of Winchester. I undertook a number of interviews, re-edited those interviews into workable pieces for submission, re-edited a number of other pieces (including reducing 10,000 word Final Year Projects, to 3,000 word articles, without losing the essential meaning of those articles), and co-wrote an article on Web Accessibility for those with recorded disabilities. These journals have their official launch at the Learning and Teaching Development morning today.

CAPTURE was launched in 2008. It is an e-journal highlighting L&T at the University of Winchester. Material for the journal is collected and edited by staff at the LTDU, and is an important way of the results of L&T funding being disseminated.

See http://www.winchester.ac.uk/capture for a PDF of the journal, available to download.

The success of CAPTURE prompted the development of ALFRED which showcases excellent undergraduate student work at the University of Winchester. The HEA have appealed to universities to provide further opportunities for students to engage with the research process, and generate their own research. ALFRED demonstrates how students are undertaking high quality research and gives them the opportunity to have their work published.

See http://www.winchester.ac.uk/alfred for a PDF of the journal, available to download.

Brian Draper: Spiritual Intelligence: Book Launch Speech

Feels like a conspiracy here tonight.

“A small crowd gathering in an old bookshop, gathering around an idea, spilling onto the streets, albeit in genteel, Winchester fashion, quietly determined, perhaps, to connect, and to make a difference.

Quietly determined to whisper conspiratorially that there must be more to life than slavishly serving money or massaging ego;

Quietly determined to stop sleep-walking through life, and start waking up to the moments of clarity, to the gifts of epiphany, to the glimpses of magic we are all presented with every day, if we did but realise them.

Quietly resolved, perhaps, to try living as if less really is more.

As if you’ve got to lose yourself to find yourself.

As if you’ve got to die, somehow, in order to truly live.”

Read more