It's a good few days into the Christmas break. Though, contrary to popular opinion, Universities do not close over the long summer break when undergraduates are not present, they do close for an extended period over Christmas and New Year. I've had a pretty hectic Christmas so far. We hosted many family members over the Christmas period, with 12 of us sitting down for Christmas lunch. I cooked a lot of food, which of course we are still working through.
I'm now at my parent's place in Bishop's Stortford, enjoying a couple of days off of cooking for everyone. I got some nice gifts for Christmas. I've started reading the copy of Candide that my sister-in-law got me. I was particularly struck by the discussion of the treatment of refugees from the south of Europe coming to the north, dating back to the middle of the eighteenth century. It seems an appropriate thing to quote, not only in light of the current festival that is being celebrated in ostensibly Christian countries, but also in light of the current behaviour of ostensibly Christian societies:
His provisions failed him when he arrived in Holland; but having heard that everybody was rich in that country, and that they were Christians, he did not doubt but he should meet with the same treatment from them as he had met with in the Baron's castle, before Miss Cunegonde's bright eyes were the cause of his expulsion thence.
He asked alms of several grave-looking people, who all answered him, that if he continued to follow this trade they would confine him to the house of correction, where he should be taught to get a living.
Merry Christmas, all