The Caucus Race

Its been a terrifically busy few weeks. Aside from teaching, I’ve been jetting off to various places – Hamburg for the ALLC midterm meeting, Reading for the VERA workshop, and this week to Oxford, where I was chairing a workshop on Users and User Centered Design at the IEEE e-Science meeting, as well as dropping in on the eSAD project.

In between the gadding about and the stress as we come towards end of term, moments of wow: arent I lucky. The picture above was taken from where I was sitting in the Senior Common Room at Christ Church, after dinner at High Table. A simple fire screen, you may think. But this fire screen is made up of De Morgan tiles which the maths lecturer, Charles Dodgson, had commissioned, to line his fireplace. Dodgson is better known under his pen name, Lewis Carroll, and there are all kind of things dotted round Ch Ch college which he either incorporated into his story of Alice in Wonderland, or were later produced after its success. To the bottom left of the screen you can see the Dodo, peering out. The Gryphon is top mid left. Did the tiles come before or after Alice was published? I’m not sure (this book would tell me if I had the time to look it up, Google Books will only let me see snippets). In any case, a lovely object to sit in close proximity to, whilst sipping coffee with good friends.

Now back to the grind. 5.5 working days ’til end of term!

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