September always feels more like a ‘new year’ than January does. There’s a sense of anticipated difference – in the levels of noise, people, activity, queues and above all start of semester work-loads. Only this year I haven’t actually stopped working. I don’t know where the summer’s gone, only that I havent gone anywhere with the exception of last week when I visited the University of Kent; home of the Creative Campus Initiative. Creativity appeals; imagination, dance, poetry, music and above all reflective writing – I knew I’d feel at home there 🙂
Brayford is an attractive campus but it misses the landscaped gardens of the ‘Cottingham Road – Hull’ campus. Kent campus is built on a hill surrounded by trees and bushes full of rabbits and squirrels; a highspot is the Canterbury Labyrinth – more about this at http://labyrinth.blogs.lincoln.ac.uk – looking even better for real than it does in the pictures.
The labyrinth overlooks Canterbury Cathedral; creating appropriate parallels between a workshop on reflective journeying and Chaucer’s pilgrims travelling to the shrine of Thomas A Beckett, murdered in the cathedral in 1170. The cathedral itself is permanent memorial to the craft of the medieval stonemasons but there’s less on the death of Thomas himself and the candle marking the long gone shrine is nowhere near the alleged place of the murder. For years I believed there were bloodstains on the stone; more likely a natural colour change but a powerful memory and I wanted to investigate. The pillar itself is no longer there; instead there are headstones in the floor and one has a circular plaque which a guide told me is where the pillar was. Coincidence or design? Either way it sounded speculative and most people, myself included, will have walked over that spot without even realising it’s there. The rest of the cathedral is well worth a visit but there is no blood on the stones.