Friday, April 26, 2013

light at the end of the tunnel

You can interpret that title in a number of ways: the literal sunlight that falls on the bottom step of the stairs down to our back yard; the fact that the house painting will surely be completed some day soon (surely the painter hopes so - he keeps telling us that he thinks that the grey we want for the metal work is Too Purple; we keep telling him that we like it, and it matched the lavender); that, yes, this semester will come to an end.  I believe that last fact because of probability theory: it's on a par with "will the sun rise tomorrow?"  That was a question that, I remember, was asked on an Oxford University General Paper for admissions back in about 1970.  I can remember (my mother had copies of these at home that her students had taken) being fascinated by this - how could the sun not?  Or was it a question about the dubious British weather?  I was obviously not cut out to be a philosopher.  So far as I recollect, I wrote one of the two answers on my General Paper about Samuel Palmer and pastoral mysticism in British Romantic Painting, and the other about - hmmm, what?  I'd need to see the paper again to be sure ... maybe George Eliot, Flaubert, and realism - facts that, in and of itself, probably marked me out as a rather weird eighteen year old.  I certainly remember holding forth in French on the latter topic - with Germinal thrown in for good measure - in my A level French oral exam six months earlier, so I surely could have remembered enough to cough it up again in a written exam ...

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