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!

Thursday, December 8, 2022

broad street conundrum, looking chilly, bloomin freezing!

Heading down Broad Street after work meeting at Weston Library a couple of weeks ago. A striking scene but I still wonder about the latest layout: stroke of urban-planning genius; bit of a mess; something in-between?

Certainly looks chilly - which it wasn't. Not like this evening, at home, as I type - freezing, even beside the log fire!...