Sunday, September 25, 2022

relaxing long walks and wonderful food, ancient church tucked away, a robin's welcome, fungi, fovant badge, queen's funeral, start of new academic year










Happy and relaxing few days in Wiltshire, near Tisbury - long walks, wonderful food, beer, cider and wine.

Came across Sutton Mandeville's tucked away church and couldn't believe its beauty nor its age (Norman on an Anglo Saxon site).

The robin welcomed us at the churchyard gate.

Some magnificent fungi, including the boss-like bracket Grifola Frondosa (I think!) growing above the roots of an oak.

Haven't yet been able to identify the intriguing, somewhat beguiling, greeny one.

One of the Fovant badges seen on the opposite side of the valley on an after-lunch walk.

We packed and drove down on the day of the Queen's funeral. Like so many, the ache of grief reminded me of that when a close relative has died. The thump-thump of the marching music and the lone piper still echo in the back of my mind.

Back to work tomorrow and to the last week before Freshers arrive and the new academic year begins!

Sunday, September 18, 2022

rewley road swing bridge, looking good, first-times since 2019, covid memories, looking to the future, kellogg, lord lambourne, her majesty and the chocolate ice cream

 

Happy to report that the Rewley Road Railway Swing Bridge is looking good, part-way through its restoration (nearing completion, I imagine). Quite different to the state of it in March 2020, when I photographed it on my way to work for the last time before the Covid lockdown. (See also post from Saturday, March 26, 2022.)

Loved taking part in the Taylor Institution Library Open Doors event last Saturday and showing people round the wonderful building. The first time the event has run since 2019. Another set of first-time-since-2019 tours took place this Friday as part of the University Open Day.

After Open Doors, I had my packed lunch at Kellogg (including a delicious Lord Lambourne apple from our tree) before some intensive assignment marking in the library. College was very quiet - the calm before the storm of term, with everyone, presumably making the most of the last days of the Long Vac. In the evening I met J at the Holly Bush on Osney Island for a pint before supper at friends'. Hadn't been back to the Holly Bush (now much expanded) for years. The supper party still gave one the feeling of making a further step towards getting back to normal.

Lots of memories and thoughts about the past and future, as well as wondering what will happen next.

Thinking of the Queen too, of course, and all she did for this country. I have a memory of being introduced to her when she brought Prince Andrew to Heatherdown for the start of his prep-school days and all the other new starters had to line up with our parents to meet her. Not that I can remember much of that time, apart from how like schoolboys and schoolgirls parents suddenly became in her presence. More vivid was a time years before when I was standing with my mum and dad watching her process on the back of a Land Rover down the course at Badminton horse trials. I was eating a big chocolate ice cream and the Land Rover happened to stop where we were. She looked at me and made her eyes very big. 'That looks good,' she said. I can't remember what I said - probably hid behind my dad's legs in self-conscious embarrassment...

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

catch-up photos, apples, shepherd's hut, glads, party!









Gosh, where has the time gone!

Lots of library work, teaching, allotment and gardening watering... and holiday.

All of which were rewarding, although the last was extremely welcome.

A catch-up series of photos.

Another wonderful apple harvest! Though the Charles Ross lost all its blossom during a late spring frost, sadly - just after I had boasted of our apple trees looking abundant. The fickleness of nature - the vanity of gardeners (well, this one anyway).

The Blenheim Orange was also hit. But the James Grieve (bottom apple photo), Cox, and Lord Lambourne (top) have been amazing! Especially the Lord L, whose fruits have been crisp and juicy and pallette-tinglingly delicious!

An excursion to far-off Northmoor in August (all of 5 miles) to stay in a shepherd's hut at the Red Lion was fantastic. Excellent place to be, with terrific walks along the Thames and inland through sheep flocks grazing ancient-seeming pastures.

The allotment has done well, despite the drought. Gladioli - self-set from last year - have been gorgeous.

It was lovely to have friends round for drinks (aftermath, part-way through being cleared up, in photo) over the bank holiday weekend. The first proper drinks gathering since 2019, pre-pandemic.

And in the background, always the news. Interesting times, I suppose...

Sunday, August 14, 2022

not jumping but intrigued

 

Our spaniel was - not jumping up but quietly intrigued by his toys, hung out to dry after being washed. When they had been taken down and returned to him, I don't think he thought the fresh clean smell was nearly as good as how they were before they were popped into the machine (without him noticing)!

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Sunday, August 7, 2022

spiders in the house!

 

A lot of spiders in the house this year. Don't know why. I have the feeling that there have't been this many since 2001 but I might have forgotten another year when there were masses of them.

This one has taken up residence in the sitting-room.

Saturday, August 6, 2022

walking to the next village, transformation, cote baptist chapel


A week ago, I walked to the next village, Aston, and to the hamlet of Cote beyond to pick up my bike, which had been repaired.

I'd walked back home after dropping it off too.

While we've visited friends in Aston and bought things from the shop and pottery, I suddenly realised that in over twenty years of living in west Oxfordshire, I'd never walked the village before. I've been through it hundreds of times, if not thousands - by bus, car, bike. But never had I travelled it at pavement level. Suddenly the perspective and sense of scale changed. From the road, at different heights, moving forward, at various speeds, the village backdrop slips by, without real appreciation or understanding.

Not that I know Aston from two walks but my perception of it has altered completely. That sight-line of that thatched cottage, with the stone houses beyond; that closeness to the allotment field and its crops - and bare land; those panels of the modern school against the Victorian church.

At Cote it was the same thing and I stopped for a while to admire the Baptist Chapel and its simple high-browed symmetrical beauty.