Friday 10 February 2012, 14:08
Editor's note: In Thursday's programme Melvyn Bragg and his guests discussed Erasmus. As always the programme is available to listen to online or to download and keep - PM.
This is an attempt at the newsletter. I'm full of cold and trying to keep my distance from people I'm meeting for the rest of the day. Then back to Lemsips and a warm fire and early bed.
I had a stack of tissues in front of me this morning but managed to use only one or two.
I'm sure you wanted to know about that!
After the programme the contributors left immediately. Usually they stay for a cup of tea and a chat and a general discussion about why we did not include this, that and the other, and how could we have missed that, this and the other, and then it spirals into additional information which I try to pass on. This time, off they vanished back to their universities to get on with teaching. I never cease to find it very, very impressive that academics of the high distinction that agree to come on the programme - and few could be of higher distinction than the three people who were on this morning - should not only find time to do this, but also fit it in with what's clearly a heavy working load. They write books, they write papers, but most importantly for us, they teach, and the habit of teaching and breaking information down and re-presenting it for minds not lined with learning is gold for the programme we do.
I've a couple more meetings. This is being dictated "between meetings". That's a phrase that heaves up a lot these days. I'm between meetings, he's between meetings, she's between meetings.
If spared after the next meeting, I want to make it to St James's Park which I haven't properly looked around for a few weeks. I think that last week I celebrated the lack of winter. Well, it's arrived and if St James's Park is as snow-locked as the pavements around my house, then I will veer away down Horse Guards Parade, which is surely cleared and swept and gritted for the horses, and arrive, I hope safely, at the next stop.
And now, off for a Lemsip.
PS: Is it an insult to Erasmus to put him as a PS? Since I came across him at school, Erasmus has always been to me the ideal of a great free scholar, roving Europe, amassing information, encyclopaedic, being able to enter into any discussion or debate of the times, and I was pleased that his scholarly gentleness - which I'd always thought was his deepest characteristic - could be accompanied by fury and was certainly underpinned by obstinacy. I wish we'd got around to Erasmus's influence on William Tyndale, though.
PPS: Have got to the park. The lake is frozen, almost the full length of it. But no ducks skating. Pigeons have taken over the ice and walk very carefully. Canada geese have gone up the slopes to mingle with the stumps of snowmen. Still full of French people.
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