A number of timely articles in Thursday's Times which give much food for thought.
You would, perhaps, expect a newspaper to be thrilled at the idea that media studies is now regarded as worthy of academic respect.
But maybe it's true. Certainly the idea of blogging still has some people in fits (only today, my hosts at lunch asked me what on earth would make anyone want to blog - and even more important - who on earth would want to read blogs?). But to me blogging is the midrash of journalism. It allows you to let language speak for itself and make all sorts of connections that purists might regard as less than objective - but sometimes they have a truth of their own that goes beyond reason.
And then onto the subject of pampering:
See this from Anatole Kaletsky:
To recuperate from the post-Lehman heart attack, bankers and borrowers needs cosseting in the soft eiderdown of zero interest rates
Earlier in the week, my daughter had persuaded me to indulge in some truly luxurious towels from Laura Ashley, as well as a beautiful Dalton tea set. Being extremely aware of the credit crunch, I submitted with some reservations. However, on checking the purse, I found that the necessary amount plus a few extra pounds appeared to be available. How I had come by this sum, I have no idea, but decided that the world is not governed by normal criteria at present, so happily gave some more away to the considerable number of buskers lining the streets of central Manchester the next day.
Then, a sublime piece on crowds by Ben Macintyre, which concentrated on the January Obama inauguration, which my other daughter will experience with her husband-to-be:
And in Times Two, Celia Johnson's daughter, remembers her mother on the 100th anniversary of her birth - Celia being the star of Brief Encounters. Actually, for me the main beauty of the film was Rachmaninov's music blending into the unlikely setting of Lancashire Carnforth, but still it was one of the best films ever:
And as I finished reading this article, Radio 4's book of the week happened to be the Diary of a Lancashire housewife, post-war, with all the austerities and rebuilding that that era entailed.
And then some nostalgia of my own. In the afternoon, I attended a meeting for Christians, Jews and Muslims in my area of Greater Manchester. The Bishop of Manchester had just undertaken a pilgrimage of the parish, visiting inter alia, one of the local synagogues. I was introduced to a stipendiary priest, whose husband had strongly disagreed with my take on Israel three years before. But all that was forgotten when she asked for some help in understanding Judaism, which she would like to begin in the New Year.
And then I met - again - Sister Brenda - who will take over Catherine House in our area. Five years ago, or more, she had started attending some of the Hebrew classes I had put on for the Catholic community in the area. And then she had left for Jerusalem. It is lovely that she is back and we will also get together in the New Year.
But all these experiences have something of the deja vu about them - the idea that somehow we have been here before and that it is not so much that we are living our lives, but that our lives are living us.