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I am Ashurbanipal

Books + Ideas — February 2019

While Camilla was doing a choir conducting course, Helen and I went to a fantastic Ashurbanipal exhibition at the British Museum. For a while I was afraid she was going to insist on reading every word on every board and caption. Eventually she got tired and let me read them to her instead, but we were there until the exhibition closed and she must have read almost half the text in it.


Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
is one with Nineveh and Tyre!

even in hunting scenes, Ashurbanipal is depicted with a stylus in his belt; he was proud of being able to read and write Akkadian and Sumerian


there's more to literacy than being able to read

Books + Ideas, Children — June 2018

It's amazing how fast, once you can read, literacy becomes part of your life, and it becomes almost impossible to stop yourself reading text if its in front of you. more

a vintage VW campervan to the Peak District

Travel — August 2017

When Camilla suggested we hire an antique campervan, I was a bit sceptical at first: I don't get excited about cars the way she does, and it seemed likely to be an expensive faff. But we had a lovely weekend in a classic old VW campervan called Blossom, spending three nights in the Peak District (five miles or so west of Chesterfield). more

the Story Museum

Children, Oxford — August 2015

I finally got around to taking Helen to the Story Museum. This is all about stories and learning from them, and runs regularly changing exhibitions. Last summer Helen seemed too young at one and a half to appreciate their 26 Characters exhibition (though it ran until February and if I'd thought about it again I'd probably have taken her then). The downside is the price: it's £7.50 for an adult and £5 for a child, so that was £12.50 for me and Helen. But there's a lot of fun stuff and we ended up staying there from 1pm to 5pm when they shut (including maybe an hour for afternoon tea in their cafe), so I'd have to say it's worth that. more

one month

Life — February 2013

Camilla made Pavlova to celebrate Australia Day, Madeleine visiting and Rosalind's birthday, and that went down a treat. And Helen slept peacefully through the whole event. more

car touring Wales

Travel — August 2011

In August Camilla took an extra day off to go with the August bank holiday and we spent four days driving around Wales. more

Bath visit

Travel — February 2011

Camilla needed a break from work, so we took last weekend off and visited Bath. more


Travel — November 2010

Last month I went up to Edinburgh, to visit Australian friends Carole and Don who are living there for six months. more

Uley Bury + the Jenner Museum

Travel — October 2010

Camilla's sister Amy and her husband Alex were visiting, so we went for at trip out to the Jenner Museum in Gloucestershire. more

Cosma Shalizi and the Babbage Engine

Books + Ideas — October 2010

My friend Cosma came to Oxford to give a talk, so I spent Sunday afternoon showing him around town. more

Hay-on-Wye + Blaenavon

Books + Ideas, Travel — October 2010

We spent a weekend on the Welsh border, staying two nights in Ewyas Harold (pronounced "Yewass") in the Old Rectory B&B. more

Wellcome Collection + The Habit of Art

Books + Ideas — July 2010

On Saturday our friends Val and Paul took us to see Alan Bennett's The Habit of Art, at the National Theatre in London. more

Disease Eradication + Hebrew Manuscripts

Books + Ideas — April 2010

I went to two very different but fascinating events today. more

London: British Museum + Courtauld Gallery

Travel — April 2010

In my first trip outside Oxford since I arrived here eight weeks ago, I went into London on Thursday with my sister Jenny. more

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