Sunday, August 2, 2020

recovering, walking, poplars, runners, the virus in the age of madness


Leg recovering well, although I decided not to cycle for a week, just taking walks.

On Thursday J gave me a lift to the top of the Woodstock Road and I did the Wolvercote, Godstow Nunnery, Thames, Binsey route, then cut across Port Meadow to the Oxford canal and in to work. Can't remember the last time I did this. At Binsey the breeze gently rattled the leaves of the poplars. How French that sound was, somehow, yet how English too.

Other days I walked from the village - across Roy's meadow (pictured - with the Highmoor brook in the forground) to the Plantation and Ham Court. 

This morning I worked on the allotment. Good to be there after a week of being kept away by work. Runner beans have started - couldn't believe how many there were until I parted the leaves and found where they were hidden.

Been reading The Virus in the Age of Madness by Bernard-Henri Lévy (Yale University Press, 2020). I'll say more about this when I've finished it but for now, reading this ebook pamphlet on the subject of the virus in the midst of the pandemic has a curiously fascinating immediacy.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

last and first






































Ah, the delights of growing your own!

The last of the broad beans, which have cropped really well, looking rather motley now, nevertheless, and the first of this year's James Grieve apples (a faller, with a hole in it made by a slug, in which baby woodlice have hatched...). But these will be delicious (not the woodlice, obviously)! Honest!

Sunday, July 26, 2020

pond cleaning, a near miss, lion ointment, dr terrier, wilts, pink campion, deserted stonehenge
















This afternoon I collected those lily pads, tips of water weed and stalks of flowering rush that had died back in the pond - and lost my footing, almost ending up in the water with the frogs! A small gash on my leg from one of the stepping stones. Back in the kitchen, J very kindly applied Lion Ointment and a dressing, with T, our terrier, taking a keen interest. No bones broken, thankfully. Returned and changed the nets of barley straw.

Happy memories of walking in Wiltshire a few weeks ago, near Chicksgrove. Pink campion shown above, wet from the occasional showers.

Driving there we passed Stonehenge and the two or three people walking round the ring.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

office - first time in four months, thames walks, a good walk, weeding spuds, domestic abuse bill, trust...




Went to work in Oxford this week. Amazing - amazingly weird - being in my office at the Taylor Institution for the first time in nearly four months!

Loved first walks along the Thames before going into work. Wonderful wild flowers growing on the banks of the river, including chicory and mullein, pictured above.

Great about the restart of Christopher Somerville's A Good Walk feature in the Times on Saturday - possibly my favourite reading in The Times! Though I read a lot of Times (and FT and Oxford Mail) articles each week. Also, I have to say, enjoying Times Radio - hadn't expected that.

Weeding spuds today on the allotment - as well as hoeing, strimming and watering.

Pleased the Domestic Abuse Bill is threading its way through Parliament. Haven't mentioned Trust: A family story for a while, I realise. Well, never 'trust' a writer when they say they've finished a book. There's always more to do! But it's there, when all is said and done - honest.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

first spuds - maris peer, sunday lunch harvest, weeding, hot



First spuds! Maris Peer - chosen because J's dad used to grow them on his farm.

Harvested for Sunday lunch, along with broad beans, first courgettes (golden), baby chard leaves, and onions from last season.

Did more weeding this morning. A beautiful but hot day!

Saturday, July 11, 2020

a while, busy, jarred, pride comes before a fall, chimney meadows, shifford cut bridge, no hardship



It's been a while since I last posted.

We've been on leave this week. And the fortnight or so before was very busy with end-of-term library work and preparations for the MSt Creative Writing Guided Retreat, then the Retreat itself. The GR wasn't, of course, what anyone had imagined it would be earlier in the year, before Covid, but it was great to meet the students I've been supervising, even though this was online or over the phone.

In the midst of these intense weeks, I jarred my leg when I was stopping the bike at the end of an early morning cycle. It was a few minutes before this incident that I'd been 'powering' along the straight below Mount Owen back to the village and thought, I'm reaching peak fitness! Talk about pride comes before a fall! I approached the front of our house way too fast, braking not hard enough, and put my foot to the ground to stop myself. Ouch! Though it didn't start to really hurt till the evening.

So, for several days I decided I needed to keep to the flat, avoiding Mount Owen. I started prolonging the Great Brook part of the route by heading through Chimney Meadows, ending up at Shifford Cut bridge (view from the top of the bridge pictured).

No hardship this route - in the back of beyond!