My hasting dayes flie on with full career

Looking back (a bit) on 2008

St Peter's, RomeAs I read the Christmas letters, I wonder what happened in the last twelve months that’s worth reporting. It’s hard to remember now – though we did get quite excited when Ben popped his head out of his window to give us a shout as we were passing. That’s him you can just see in the window high up on the right. Nice house he’s got, isn’t it?

There’s also been a trip to Texas, where I received another warm welcome. Before that it’s a bit of a blur, though you can read a few things elsewhere on this blog. As Milton hath well said in his Sonnet VII:

How soon hath Time the suttle theef of youth
Stoln on his wing… &c

Happy 400th birthday, John! He’s received some overdue recognition this month – and, appositely, he wrote a fine ode On the Morning of Christ’s Nativity. Just don’t ask what he might have said about the Pope.

Taking it too literally?

Use and abuse of the word ‘literally’

BBC correspondent David Willey reported on the Today programme this morning that the Pope had met a group of men and women ‘whose lives have literally been destroyed’ by abuse in the Catholic Church. This took place in ‘the residence of the Papal Nuncio in Washington’ which is not, I understand, in the afterlife (‘that undiscovered country’, etc). David Willey was therefore stretching the definition of ‘destroyed’, surely, to add ‘literally’ as an intensifier? (If you’re quick, you can hear him for yourself here.) Continue reading “Taking it too literally?”