Thursday 24 September

We drove nephew Tim back to Hathersage in the Peak District. It was a lovely sunny autumn day and so pretty to see the moors with heather and sheep. We sat in the garden and had lunch and a bit of a catch up on family news. We decided to return via Bakewell, which is a lovely old market town, with little individual shops and the famous Bakewell pudding establishment.

Beautiful stone built houses set in the rolling Derbyshire countryside. I was amused to see in a shop window a gold kettle. I tthink you can even see my reflection in it.

We walked up to the church and sat in the sun. And I was suddenly overcome with tears. I have known this town for many years and it has not changed greatly. There were a few tourists around, and local people shopping, so it looked much the same as ever. Except it didn’t. Because of masks, and taped distance warnings, and sanitiser. The illusion of normality evaporated before my very eyes and I wept for the loss.

I liked the look of this lamp in the churchyard.

This evening I read that the Assyriology Department of SOAS, the University of London, has closed down from June 2020. Professor Andrew George and his colleagues are redundant. These wonderful scholars have been an enormous help to us with the Gold Lyre of Ur project. We have met them, talked to them, attended their lectures, shared ideas on performance, poetry, and benefited from their amazing expertise. The reason given for the axing of most language teaching at SOAS is the lack of funding derived from overseas students. This is presumably a situation which will be replicated in every university. Difficult and sad times.

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