Please forgive the long break between drinks - I have two excuses: a) a note from my mother (who is staying with us), and b) I have actually been working (waits for cries of 'I can't believe it').
The weather has turned markedly towards winter, and by winter, I mean it snowed. A lot. 10 + cms. For a family used to Australian summers, thats a lot of snow! It granted Durham a rather otherworldly look, which has given way to grumbling, swearing and staggering as people try to get off the now icy paths onto the few that the County Council is actually putting salt/grit onto.
Aly has had her first experience of snow - still undecided about the whole caper though. She'll hopefully grow to enjoy it (given we've still got winter to go - technically we're still in Autumn). Em has taken up baking her own bread which has been a great (tasty) success. Spelt flour has proved a little tricker to master, but in the end, the moral of the story is: Emma always wins.
My studies are progressing - I've had my first formative essay back with very positive comments, and have just finished a first draft for the summative piece on the book I mentioned in an earlier post - 'Bound to Sin', by Alistair McFadyen. As soon as its finished I'll post it here for your interest.
I've also met with my supervisor for the first time - David Wilkinson (principal of St John's College). He's been really supportive, and had some good suggestions, and good questions too! My favourite is what's your writing style? Up to 3am the night before, or slow steady progression? It used to the the former, but now I can do either - Aly's birth during my Master of Ministry work may have had a hand in this.
We're continuing to attend St Nic's in the Market Place, which has been really welcoming. The Vicar has invited me to preach in the new year, which is a very welcome opportunity to keep my skills up - and I always find I learn more about God when I'm having to read the Bible, and thinking and pray about the passage too.
We're missing family and friends back in Australia - its hard to believe its been over three months since we left! There have been some hard things happen for our extended family which makes being here harder than it was already knowing that we could be away for so long - but while its no absolute panacea, Skype does have its benefits! How long we're actually here for is hard to say - but the department is happy to allow people in the later years of the program to have supervision remotely, as long as you make a reasonable appearance in Durham every year.
Back again soon with a theological paper for your consideration.