Kurt Jackson Private View – Oxford Museum of Natural History, March 2016

Earlier in March I was lucky enough to be a +One at a private view of an exhibition of works by Kurt Jackson at the Oxford Museum of Natural History.

The exhibition is well worth a visit, but for me the real star was the museum building after dark.

It’s like a beautiful upside down boat…

…an absolute gem of Gothic Revival architecture.

The museum’s design was influenced by the work of John Ruskin.


I fall in love with it again every time I visit.

Graduation – Oxford March 2016

On a lovely bright sunny Saturday, my Dad, the Boy and I graduated as Master of Arts in the beautiful Sheldonian theatre.

The ceremony is all about tradition.

The Oxford MA is a relic of the Middle Ages when students would study for seven years, after which they would be able to teach, and become a full member of the university (and at some colleges walk on the lawns). It therefore predates ‘taught’ Masters qualifications. Oxford BAs can have the MA conferred on, or after the 21st term after entering the university.

Now that I work at Blackfriars, it’s useful for me to have the MA, as there are still various administrative bits and pieces you can only do if you have MA status. However, the day was about more than that. It was a chance to celebrate our achievements, and remember all the people who had gone before us.

Although Dad went to Magdalen, and Adam and I went to St Hugh‘s, Fr Richard Conrad OP kindly took us through under Blackfriars’ wing.

It was lovely that I could graduate with my Dad, who only did it to make me happy (although he did get a good party afterwards).

It was an unexpectedly moving day. A big thank you to all our friends and family who came, and to Sandy who catered a brilliant party at Cornucopia afterwards.

[Photographs by David Hunt]

Downside Abbey – March 2016

I’ve not long returned from a short retreat at Downside Abbey. The community couldn’t have been more kind and welcoming, and there’s nothing like a bit of Gothic Revival.

I only went for a couple of days, as I hadn’t been sure how I would react to being ‘off-line’ and bound by the daily offices. As it turned out, I wish I’d had a longer time there.

I’m still processing the experience, but I’m sure it’s something I’ll do again (if they’ll have me).