I’m afraid the Blue Flower normally scheduled for Christmas 2018 is going to have to be delayed. One reason is a series of vast technical translation orders taking up time and energy. Bread-earning work has to take priority. Another, frankly, is my diminished capacity for work since last summer due to anxiety, partly due to our political crisis in England and its consequences in Europe, and also for reasons closer to home including sorting out my paperwork for my French driving licence, residence permit and nationality application. These applications went in a month ago, and the system works very slowly. France will give us a period of grace beyond Brexit Day during which we British expats will not become illegal immigrants before having obtained our documents.
I have started an essay combining the themes of cosmopolitanism and nobility of spirit as expressed by German Idealism and Romanticism and other sources in history. I have also had difficulty establishing a coherent plan to unite the various fragments I have been writing.
In January, I will be going to England to dismantle and transport an organ from a Unitarian church in north-east London. Fortunately, it seems to be a straightforward instrument with nine stops, tracker action and two manuals, so something in which I have experience. To take short breaks from my translating work during the day, I have been organising the job and assembling tools and materials. I need also to make a pipe crate for the 4-foot bottom and tenor octaves. The van is hired and the boat is booked, so I hope there will not be political demonstrations in the ports either side of the Channel. The organ is going to a church in the Burgundy area of France, and I will probably do the reassembly, repairs, adjustments, voicing and tuning in February-March 2019. The dismantling and transport will take a solid week and then I count on finishing the reinstallation in about two to three weeks assuming there are no complications.
It might also be my last time in England for some time depending on the consequences of a no-deal Brexit from 29th March 2019. The leavers think it will be hunky-dory after only a few weeks of chaos. I am more sceptical. We’ll see what happens. We also have problems in France, but the Gilets Jaunes protest is morphing and contracting as the weeks go by.
I will try to do my article and an editorial in early and late January and February, and maybe publish the second issue of The Blue Flower for Septuagesima or Lent.
Fr Jonathan Munn has written me a nice article on Transcendence, Truth and Reality: A Mathematician’s Fumble. I invite others to send me anything they would like to write so that this initiative may continue to contribute to thought in our troubled times. If you would like to contribute in this spirit, please see The Blue Flower and contact me by sending a comment. I will be able to find your e-mail address and I will write to you asking for an e-mail with the attachment in MS Word format (doc or docx).