Dear Reader, I have returned from my motorcycling trip exploring the wonders of the Atlantic seaboard.*

I am back in my office, dealing with emails in my customary manner. But as my finger hovers over ‘Select All / Del’, I am struck by a curious pattern.

A good number of emails from colleagues, while purporting to be about urgent matters of university administration, manage to slip in a line or two referring to the many ways in which they have spent their summer shifting paradigms, mining seams, showing cases, turning stones, treading paths, priming pumps, sowing seeds, and generally breaking new ground.

It is all positively horticultural.

As I leave for today’s emergency departmental meeting (Agenda: Urgent appointment of Head of Department in light of the continued and inexplicable absence of Prof Giselle Beauregard), I ponder these questions:

Is there ever a time, I wonder, when the ground should be left unbroken, and preferably, built upon?

And, where will be the best location in Giselle’s office to place my chaise longue in order to catch the morning sun as it glints on the freshly laid quadrangle cobbles?

More soon, dear Reader, on the etiquette of emails.

* The sidecar held up well: its occupant complained only once, when I took a series of spectacular hairpin bends con brio (as the advanced driving qualification demands). Happily he/she/it** was mollified by sponge cake.

** any resemblance to persons living or dead is in your own mind, dear Reader.



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