I hope I'm right in identifying this plant, seen in the University Parks, as a Berberis. There are quite a few of them and they certainly are striking.
Have had a week off - that should be, Am taking a week off. I'm in danger of wishing - or at least writing - the week away.
And it's been wonderful to have a break from work. Doing a bit in the garden and on the allotment. Also had a day out in Oxford midweek. A pint in a pub we've been going to since I was an undergraduate, which is still pretty much the same as it always was. Excellent Adnams and atmosphere. The Rose and Crown, North Parade, as it happens. Then lunch at the Cherwell Boathouse (another favourite - which has changed a bit, and for the better, and which we've been going to for as long as the Rose). Creatures of habit, clearly.
But before these, we spent a couple of hours at the Pissarro exhibition at the Ashmolean. Really amazing! Fantastic works by him, of course, but also by his contemporaries - Cézanne, van Gogh, Sisley, and so many more. I was especially struck the paintings Pissarro did of his wife and family. The picture of his nine year old daughter, Minette, painted a few months before she died, her hair cut short to try and ease her fever, was so moving to see.
A poem follows.
Making a gap in the curtains,
seeking the thrill of the sky, I am
disappointed, 'Just an ordinary night.'
No stars, no moon peeping
round the corner of our neighbour's.
Not even the hint of shapes
An ordinary sky. How often
have I assumed without realising,
'Just an ordinary...'?
The incomprehensibility of stars,
hidden behind what is seen.
Moon orbiting earth,
the unquantifiable riches of our world.
How often have people consigned
me to ordinariness? How often
have I written myself off in those,
or worse, terms?
Let me value ordinary miracles -
I might not wake, when the dawn comes.