Wednesday, January 18, 2023

vibrant, sharpest, necessary space

Vibrant colours under the sharpest of winter lights, when I walked at lunchtime along the Oxford canal yesterday.

A see-things-afresh afternoon.

Necessary space in an otherwise crowded day.

Sunday, January 15, 2023

terrific oclw conference, things to think about, fun in oxford, cycling, lemon-sorbet

Terrific conference at the Oxford Centre for Life-Writing at Wolfson College, yesterday, entitled Possibilities and Pitfalls when Writing about Living People.

A lot of things to think about in relation to Trust, so that I can attempt to make it publishable, whilst also staying true to its current form and structure. It's the right time, now the hurt and anger have waned (how long it takes!) and fairness and letting the story speak for itself can inform the narrative. A question of final cuts and adding extra text that gives clarity and depth.

There are some things I know must go, despite previous attachment to them.

It's very reassuring and affirming to be at a conference like yesterday's.

It was also fun to spend the first part of the morning in Oxford before it started. Breakfast then a walk round the Parks (dodging the complex rhythms of the inexorable 100 or so organised runners, zig-zagging the paths, each jogging at their individual pace with the encouragement of cheerful stewards). Where I saw the moss on a tree-branch. Photographing it, a still centre of looking, marvelling and concentration. A few moments of taking stock at the Kellogg Hub, before a drenched wander up to Wolfson.

Met some lovely people at the conference, which was infused with positivity and friendliness. How to run such an event!

Things are taking off at work as the term and New Year get underway.

Today was beautiful. Loved completing one or two tasks left-over from before Christmas. Gorgeous cycle up Mount Owen and back. Was that light best described as lemon-sorbet? It was certainly deceptively spring-like - as sharp-talloned snow and ice make ready to swoop.

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

gibbous, sherborne park walk, eleven happy days, refreshed if still in denial!


A gibbous moon over the National Trust's Sherborne Park estate yesterday, 2nd January 2023.

Photographed as the light was fading but it had been showing in the afternoon sky throughout our walk.

It has been great to spend time at home and in and around the village for the last eleven days, and to celebrate Christmas and the New Year (lots of delicious things to eat and drink, including veg from the allotment).

Took today off, so tomorrow's my first work day - though I have been doing some light tasks here and there.

Can't really believe it's the end of the holidays but I certainly feel refreshed and ready to start 2023!

Thursday, December 29, 2022

st beornwald's day concert, juxtaposed stonework, herring-bone, slug-scalloped beetroots, trad soup, drinks!


Wonderful St Beornwald's Day concert from Bampton Classical Opera on the shortest day of the year at St Mary's church. An extensive selection of festive German 17th century music.

As you will discover - if you don't know already - St B is the village's Anglo-Saxon saint, whose shrine attracted pilgrims to its pre-Conquest minster church, some of which can still be seen in the arches of the current tower. The herring-bone stonework in the picture above. I like the juxtaposition of Anglo-Saxon and 'modern' 12th century masonry.

Had given up on beetroot soup during the biting frosts before Christmas, imagining that the already slug-scalloped crop was finished. But when harvesting carrots, parsnips and leeks for Christmas Day lunch, I found that there were several  survivors - somewhat soft but still firm-ish and whole. J confirmed they might be OK and once they were boiled she was able to make a beautiful sweet soup - our traditional Christmas starter for decades.

Lovely to have terrace neighbours round for drinks last night.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

lunchtime scoot, four (five?) cormorants, luminosity, just back in time


Did a quick scoot through Jericho, along the canal to the station, up river to Port Meadow, and back via the canal at lunchtime.

Saw four cormorants on look out high in a tree beside the Thames. Fascinating birds! Hard to believe they cling onto the narrow branches so tightly.

Have a feeling, though, that the carcass I saw near the station early this morning might have been one - hope it's not bird flu. There are warning signs about it on the meadow.

A little further up stream, the light was luminous as storm clouds gathered. Just reached the office in time to miss the rain!

Sunday, December 18, 2022

frosty days, mixed feelings, reminder of the lock cover, last week before christmas, log delivery

Frosty days! Hopefully, coming to an end now.

Mixed feelings about them - such beauty but they're so time-consuming (having to judge every tread - well, almost) and exhausting. Though the last of these is my own fault a lot of the time because I want to be outside as much as I can!

This picture was taken on a late lunchbreak walk mid-week. Reminds me a bit of the original cover for The Lock (Smaller Sky edition) and the stretch of the canal shown is just down from where the barge in the book was moored.

Last week before Christmas coming up. I think everyone is ready for holidays!

Log delivery earlier - festive cheer!

Sunday, December 11, 2022

day off, radcot bridge, grafton lock, pint of otter, all a bit 'john major'

Had a day off on Monday and we went for a walk from Radcot Bridge, shown above, to Grafton Lock.

Lock keeper's cottage once again the home of - a lock keeper. It appears there are some things automated systems can't do as well as a person. Perhaps that will change but nicely reassuring that this remains so now.

Not sure this photo does full justice to the elegance of Radcot Bridge on a December afternoon, as what light there is, is starting to fade and its reflection on the Thames is all of a sudden vibrant. 

Enjoyed a pint of Otter at the Swan at Radcot after the walk - one of the few pubs nearby that opens on a Monday.

I realise that all this talk of lock keepers' cottages, the limits of automation, pubs not open and warm beer makes me sound a bit 'John Major' but on a dullish, short December day, that did seem to be where my mind was taking me!