As the sun went down on Sunday evening, Durham felt very cold. The temptation to stay in my warm house and continue reading an excellent novel ('Sally Rooney's, Beautiful World, Where Are You, since you ask) was powerful.
Even when I steeled myself for the excursion to Maiden Castle and climbed into my car, the heater warmed it fast enough to create a comfortable cocoon. My thickest jacket, scarf, gloves, and woolly hat offered modest protection, and I'm glad I persevered. South Men's Hockey A team's performance under floodlights against Hatfield B was excellent. Our players were dominant throughout and unfortunate to concede a goal from a well-worked penalty corner. That we fought back to win the tie 2-1 was no surprise and eminently well deserved. Many congratulations to all concerned. I am sorry I left so quickly after the final whistle. The cold was not the only challenge. Sunday was my wife's birthday, but when we opened champagne before dinner, I had two reasons to celebrate.
Sport is not the only activity that is bringing South to life. It was great to see so many Southies enjoying Lunar New Year Celebrations in College last week. I was additionally pleased to hear about plans for LGBTQ+ History Month. Among these is South Reading Society's plan to spotlight LGBTQ+ authors and books. The College has been pleased to purchase copies of Virginia Wool's Orlando and Loveless by Alice Oseman. These will soon be available in the Library.
Less pleasing has been the widespread damage caused by recent storm force winds. My daily walk to and from College takes me through the Botanic Garden. It is a truly delightful commute, but I have been saddened to see several ancient and beautiful trees felled by wind. Similar damage in my own garden has changed completely the view from my study. A healthy, century old tree that stood on the border between The Rectory and the Botanic Garden was felled recently. I miss it. I know strong winds are not a novelty, but climate change will make them increasingly frequent. The warnings are stark.