Sunday, November 27, 2022

salvias, bright garden colours, the unknown, underlying caution, cautious hope

 A pair of salvia flowers in our garden. Because of the warm autumn and the heavy rains, there are still many bright colours and summer greens (the lawn is amazing - quite recovered from the drought) mixed in with the gold and copper.

Cheering, but then one wonders what is happening with the climate, so there is a certain feeling of danger and the unknown behind the beauty.

Approaching the end of Oxford term and the run-up to Christmas - first departmental festive lunch on Thursday - which is exciting and curious at the same time. Still have that feeling of learning how to live a 'normal' life over again. There is that strong sense that the world can't be trusted to do things like it used to. And who can blame us for thinking that! So much chaos tumbled into 2022 - enough to make anyone cautious. 

But things will get better, I'm sure of that. Fiction and poetry are refuges and give much hope for the beauty of the human heart.

Perhaps the future will be better than the past!

Saturday, November 12, 2022

northern portugal, first time since 2019, returning to normal(?), relearning, thinking through afresh, certhe, non-eu


Really enjoyed returning to northern Portugal to see dearest friends for the first time since November 2019.

Some pics: tiles in Porto; terracing, cork oaks, a strawberry tree, a spider, a boulder and fungi in a recently thinned and refurbished cork oak wood near Trancoso; a traditional boat on the Douro at Pinhão, just up from Quinta de la Rosa; freshers' week in the centre of Porto.

Travelling to Europe again felt like things were returning to normal post-pandemic, although back in Oxford much remains to be relearnt and much needs to be thought-through afresh. We will get there but not as soon as we would wish, I fear.

Completed my last marking for the Undergraduate Certificate in Higher Education just before our break. I've taught on this course for ten years. The decision to give up was the right one, in that I need to create time for my own work, which has ground to a halt over the past year, but I will certainly miss the course, which was so fulfilling.

Our trip was the first time we had flown to Europe after Brexit. It seemed sad to be joining the non-EU queues.