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The things that really matter

This post is especially for those who seek to remind us of the absolute importance of grammar and punctuation. It was sent to me by a little known Cambridge student and I thought I would reproduce it here for your entertainment. After all, I must have a blog post in the latest style 😉

‘This morning I left one of the last supervisions of my Cambridge career, having been treated, once again, to an in depth critique of my use of punctuation within a supervision essay. It wasn’t just that I had italicised my quotations in order to better see what percentage of my essay was actually written in my own words, a practice which is apparently old-fashioned (coming from a Cambridge theology supervisor I take this to mean the practice was dropped some time before the birth of Christ), but I also had used commas, semi-colons and colons incorrectly and to top it all off my quotation marks did not curve inwards. As a schoolkid whose main interests were maths and science, I managed to reach the age of 18 with no idea how to use a colon or semi-colon and no intention of ever doing so. I never imagined that I would one day be sitting in a supervision being told that straight quotation marks make your essay look unprofessional and that I really needed to watch the places where I accidentally put two spaces instead of one. Then again, I never expected to be studying theology at Cambridge.

As you can probably imagine, in light of the comments I have made above, my entire Cambridge career has been littered with these criticisms of use of punctuation, and my grammar in general. I can happily say that, due to the constant vigilance of my first and second year supervisors, I now consistently use the correct form of ‘its’ and don’t use contractions in an academic context (this obviously doesn’t count). So who knows, perhaps there is hope for me yet. Though, even with multiple lessons from my best friend I still have evidently not mastered the distinction between colons and semi-colons. Unfortunately, there is nothing I can do about the curvyness of my quotation marks as my word processing software does not contain options for that (obviously OpenOffice did not intend their documents to look professional), but I don’t think I mind. I’ll keep my straight quotation marks and italicised quotations. Who knows, maybe I’ll start a trend, and in a hundred years time another Cambridge supervisor will be telling his students curvy quotation marks and un-italicised quotes are old-fashioned.

So thank you Cambridge for your insight into the things that really matter but forgive me if I find I disagree. And to those who are reading this, I apologise for any mistakes in my grammar, but I really couldn’t care less.’

To blog or not to blog…

It’s been some time since I last blogged. This has not been through lack of something to say. In fact, sometimes it’s been quite the opposite. I’ve had so much going on in my head that I did not know where to begin. Which of the many things that interest me should I write about?

  • The latest research findings on ME/CFS?
  • Thoughts sparked by blogs I’ve been reading – both atheist and Christian?
  • Reflections on the natural world?
  • Something about my explorations into ‘healthy’ eating?
  • Reviews of the books I’ve been reading – both fiction and non fiction?

There have been so many things that I could have written about. Yet I didn’t. Over Christmas, I had the added distraction of family being home. Since then, I have been busy with other church, writing and family commitments. So there have been times when energy has been short and times when I’ve just had other things on my mind.

This hasn’t been the only cause of the hiatus, though. I think part of me has been waiting – pondering whether I really wanted to continue with my blog and where I should take it if I did. Do I really have the time and energy to devote to it? If so, what would my potential readers want to read about? Do I need to focus on one subject? Or does it make more sense to write about whatever is on my mind at the time and let them pick and choose?

Waiting. Thinking. Praying. Taking stock.

But now I have decided that I will continue – and I will write about what I want to write about and let my readers pick and choose. For example, I want to do a series of posts about diet and health. I also want to write a bit about faith in the modern world. And then there is my ongoing fascination with nature. So you’re likely to find posts on all those subjects in the coming weeks. But first, a trip down Memory Lane…

European elections: English and French remain best of enemies

There has been unprecedented media excitement over UKIP’s ‘earthquake’ victory in the European elections. Already, speculation has begun on the meaning of this success and is set to continue for several days. Back bench Tories have been reported as placing the blame on Romanian immigrants. Others have pointed towards austerity. But we all know it’s really the French. It’s always been the French. Ever since 1066, it’s been the French. Probably it was the French even before that. In fact, it’s about the only thing on which the English and French agree. We like being best of enemies. It suits us. That’s why we built the tunnel. So we can blow it up again next time one of us wins Eurovision.