Last weekend I spent Saturday at the beach with ghoti and family, which was completely wonderful. I didn't realize it's relatively easy to get to the north coast of Norfolk by public transport; I want to do that more often! But we did proper traditional English beach things, building sandcastles and eating chips and icecream and paddling in the sea.
I had to run back to Stoke for a stone-setting on Sunday. Which was annoying travel-wise but it's important to be available for these things, and the community made a big effort to scrape together a minyan. And the good thing was that angelofthenorth was able to adjust her plans and come up Sunday evening instead of Monday, so I got more time with her, yay. Mostly spent being quiet and domestic, I managed to do a fair amount of working from home so we could just quietly share space while we got on with things. And angelofthenorth was a wonderful guest, she brought me food and made me tea and generally looked after me.
And in a continuation of the theme, cjwatson came up to visit for the weekend. When I moved out of my old house and into the tiny flat on campus I was expecting to give up hosting, but actually I have a few really dear friends who don't mind sharing a very cramped space, and quite a few have visited me since I moved.
Saturday I led a service at synagogue. I was quite pleased with it, I talked about the idea of reward and punishment – this week's Torah reading contains the middle bit of the Shema which says that good things will happen if you keep God's commandments and agricultural disasters if you don't. And I talked about the consolation reading from Isaiah and the idea of exile as punishment for sin, and how that squares with the expression of God's love and Covenant faithfulness in both the Torah reading and the Haftarah. And I was glad to be able to invite cjwatson to a full Torah service given he was curious after coming for Friday night a few weeks ago.
It was a gloriously sunny day, one of the warmest this year. We had lunch at Peaches, who have stopped doing their all-you-can-eat menu for Saturday lunchtimes but had a very sensible prix-fixe menu instead, including their exciting garlic mushrooms. And we went for a bit of a walk in the woods behind campus, enjoying the shade and the hot still air and almost nobody around on a summer weekend.
Today we got up late and didn't do much beyond going out for lunch at the lovely Hand and trumpet country pub. Food was not as good as I've sometimes had there, but that's a high bar, and it was still very good indeed.
Basically I have wonderful friends, and spending time with them makes me extremely happy. Being at home Sunday evening, since cjwatson took on all the travelling that I would normally be doing, I even had time to call my parents, which I haven't done in too long.
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