Saturday, January 9, 2021

abandoned, snow, just me?

 

Is it just me that loves taking pictures of abandoned bits of farm machinery in the snow or mist? J thinks so!....

Thursday, January 7, 2021

misty st mary's, back to work, new, (lockdown) order, wildfell, forytes


Misty evening walks. Cold, with snow forecast. Not convinced it will come.

Back at work, the University having to think through what it does in the light of the latest lockdown. No such thing as a quiet start to the year. Nothing happens in the first week back after the Christmas break, we used to say. A time to catch our breath...

Loving The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. AB is a superb technician - technique making narrative soar. A gentle build up to full flight but, of a sudden, the space she gives the reader's imagination pays off and we are in the novel's world completely.

And The Forsyte Saga is pretty amazing too. Just eleven hours to go.

Thursday, December 31, 2020

2020 remembered, happy new year - 2021!

 

Oxford has kept going. Well, obviously, those involved in creating the vaccine have more than kept going! But all staff have kept their part of the University going too - and some. Very proud to be a member of such a remarkable institution.

Closer to home, during what would have been a difficult year without the pandemic, J came up with the idea of a village support network, when lockdown started, which she and others, not least our neighbour TMD, developed to wonderful effect. F & T were so proud of that: https://www.bampton-network.co.uk.

A lot of sandwich lunches at the top of the garden during lockdown. A lot of early morning cycle rides before the Teams meetings and the tapping away in the spare-bedroom office. The Arts and Crafts dining chair has proved surprisingly comfortable!

And it was lovely that I spent more time with T, dozing at my feet, than I could have ever have imagined in his last summer.

But, then, what a terrible year to have lived through. What suffering there has been so far and what suffering there will be to come. I pray that we can rebuild quickly and all help each other.

I wish we'd not left Europe. I remember how proud I was when we joined. How excited. I think Britain has been enriched beyond measure by joining Europe. In terms of Human Rights especially. 

But what's done is done and I'm looking to the future.

I'm pleased Trust: A family story is at last finished. I'm really looking forward to writing fiction again.

I'm looking forward to me and J working towards our future together.

I'm looking forward to working with colleagues as we enter a New Year!

Happy 2021!

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

in between christmas and new year

 

Log fires, walks cross-country, sometimes in the rain, sometimes in snow, mostly under dry grey or sun-peeking-through skies.

Beetroot soup - beetroots, and other veg, from the allotment. Spuds holding up, though we'll soon eat the last, blight having taken half.

Glasses of wine and port, bottles of winter beer. Though not pints in pubs. Miss the pubs - this season especially.

News on the radio and in the papers (on the breakfast table and online), the figures rising, the experts pressing, the politicians vacillating... The whole thing bleak.

Watching the 1960s Forsyte Saga on DVDs. Missed first time round - J because they didn't have a telly till half-way through the series, me because I wasn't allowed to (because of all the references to trusts and trying to stop relatives having access to their money, perhaps?).

Anyway, we now know what we missed. Outstanding. What a script. Witty. Moving. Compelling.

Loving my Christmas reading. Took me a while to decide. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë.

Missing T, all the time...

Sunday, December 20, 2020

long weekend, cotswolds walks, rediscovering, remembering, holidays, forgetting, hopes of feeling refreshed

Took a day off a fortnight ago to make a long weekend. Walked in the Cotswolds on the Sherborne and Barrington Park estates.

The first day was lit by a pale wintery sun, despite the gloomy forecast, which did much to cheer things as we splodged through the mud. The second we got wet through - though it was still wonderful to have some time together in countryside we'd not walked since before the spring lockdown.

Wonderful and sad - these were the first times doing these walks without T. I think it was important to do them and not avoid the memories of all being there together. One afternoon, we watched videos of T tearing through the snow in the Windrush valley near Swinbrook.

Pleased to be finishing up at the libraries tomorrow and am looking forward to almost two weeks holiday.

It's difficult to get the past term into perspective. I'm hoping this will happen subconsciously and that my brain will allow me to forget work and enjoy being at home, putting 2020 behind me. We'll need all the refreshed strength we can get to face 2021, I fear.

Saturday, December 19, 2020