rhythmaning: (sunset)
The day after the memorial celebration [livejournal.com profile] frankie_ecap and I spent wandering around Oxford. She had been staying with [livejournal.com profile] white_hart and I met them in Broad Street, being dragged down the road until I saw one of Anthony Gormley’s sculptures balanced precariously on the corner of the roof of Blackwell’s art shop. Although not one of his series Event Horizon, it could have been: a human figure perched on the roof. It is very disturbing – a figure, silhouetted, stock still, almost as if waiting to fall. It is unnerving.

DSC_0071

DSC_0073


Read more... )
rhythmaning: (sunset)
The day after the memorial celebration [livejournal.com profile] frankie_ecap and I spent wandering around Oxford. She had been staying with [livejournal.com profile] white_hart and I met them in Broad Street, being dragged down the road until I saw one of Anthony Gormley’s sculptures balanced precariously on the corner of the roof of Blackwell’s art shop. Although not one of his series Event Horizon, it could have been: a human figure perched on the roof. It is very disturbing – a figure, silhouetted, stock still, almost as if waiting to fall. It is unnerving.

DSC_0071

DSC_0073


Read more... )
rhythmaning: (cat)
My mother left piles of paper. I mean, piles of paper: paper that belonged to my grandfather, who died in 1985; paper that belonged to my father, who died in 1988; paper that belonged to my grandmother, who died in 1990; and paper that belonged to my mother.

She seems to have kept everything. We have found rates demands going back to the mid-1960s; phone bills from the mid-1970s; electricity bills; bank statements on long closed accounts with long closed banks; cheque book stubs going back thirty years; business receipts going back twenty years or more.

A lot of paper.

Some of it was sorted and orderly, but a lot of it seemed in no obvious order – papers from completely different periods sat together.

Most of it was of no interest – phone bills, bank statements, electricity bills – I threw them out (keeping only the most recent). I appear to be a chucker – I want rid of most things; my brother prefers to keep much more, in case it might be of interest. (I take the view that unless there is a clear use or interest, it should go: otherwise it will just sit in a box, forgotten in an attic, until someone else has to throw it out.) My mother, clearly, was a hoarder. The things she kept are, at times, fascinating: she stored some files in the vegetable rack of an old fridge; she kept old envelops and old bits of cardboard, in case they might one day be useful. (She grew up during the second world war and lived through years of rationing, so perhaps keeping things for a time when they would become valuable made sense.)

I don’t find it easy to sort through all this paper. Most of it is boring: another phone bill! Another electricity bill! (No gas bills: my mother didn’t like gas, being almost pathologically scared of it: again, I think this dates back to growing up in a time when catastrophic gas explosions were common, and gas leaks asphyxiated families as they slept.)

Amongst the boring pieces of paper, though, are some fascinating jewels: there is a strange balance between tedium and deep distraction, as something interesting grabs me and I sit and read, and suddenly time has passed. Many of them bring back memories – strong recollections of my childhood and youth.
Read more... )
rhythmaning: (cat)
My mother left piles of paper. I mean, piles of paper: paper that belonged to my grandfather, who died in 1985; paper that belonged to my father, who died in 1988; paper that belonged to my grandmother, who died in 1990; and paper that belonged to my mother.

She seems to have kept everything. We have found rates demands going back to the mid-1960s; phone bills from the mid-1970s; electricity bills; bank statements on long closed accounts with long closed banks; cheque book stubs going back thirty years; business receipts going back twenty years or more.

A lot of paper.

Some of it was sorted and orderly, but a lot of it seemed in no obvious order – papers from completely different periods sat together.

Most of it was of no interest – phone bills, bank statements, electricity bills – I threw them out (keeping only the most recent). I appear to be a chucker – I want rid of most things; my brother prefers to keep much more, in case it might be of interest. (I take the view that unless there is a clear use or interest, it should go: otherwise it will just sit in a box, forgotten in an attic, until someone else has to throw it out.) My mother, clearly, was a hoarder. The things she kept are, at times, fascinating: she stored some files in the vegetable rack of an old fridge; she kept old envelops and old bits of cardboard, in case they might one day be useful. (She grew up during the second world war and lived through years of rationing, so perhaps keeping things for a time when they would become valuable made sense.)

I don’t find it easy to sort through all this paper. Most of it is boring: another phone bill! Another electricity bill! (No gas bills: my mother didn’t like gas, being almost pathologically scared of it: again, I think this dates back to growing up in a time when catastrophic gas explosions were common, and gas leaks asphyxiated families as they slept.)

Amongst the boring pieces of paper, though, are some fascinating jewels: there is a strange balance between tedium and deep distraction, as something interesting grabs me and I sit and read, and suddenly time has passed. Many of them bring back memories – strong recollections of my childhood and youth.
Read more... )
rhythmaning: (cat)
I forgot to tell a story about my visit to Christ Church cathedral.

Whilst I was there, there was a rehearsal going on: a clergyman and two small boys. I think it was for a Christmas service, but I don’t know why.

The first boy was reading from the Bible into a microphone; from the beginning. “In the beginning was the word… and the word was good.”

He was being coached by the clergyman – my guess is that they were from the cathedral school, and he was going to be leading the service. He picked up the boy, who must have been nine or ten years old, on every little point: every phrase – “And! More emphatic! And the word was good…!”

He took apart every syllable until it barely made sense.

The other boy had an easier job. He had to read from a modern children’s story: he told about a little boy who dropped a crisp packet in the street, and was picked up by his teacher.

“What would happen if everybody dropped the crisp packets in the street?” she asked.

The boy didn’t know.

“They’d pile up and up and up! What would happen then?”

The boy didn’t know.

“We’d be overwhelmed by crisp packets!”

The boy hung his head; the teacher thought it was in shame.

But actually he was calculating how many crisp packets would be needed to bury the whole of [Swindon/Didcot/Slough/wherever] to a depth of three feet…


Well, something like that, anyway.

These stories were read out as I wandered around, taking photographs. I wanted to tell the first kid that I thought he was doing fine, that he didn’t need to pay heed to the clergyman. But I didn’t.

Edit: as [livejournal.com profile] chickenfeet2003 points out, I got my biblical quotation completely wrong. It was several lines from, I think, Genesis, not John. But that wasn't the point: the point was that the man coaching the reader was quibbling over the specific stress of the word "And!"...
rhythmaning: (cat)
I forgot to tell a story about my visit to Christ Church cathedral.

Whilst I was there, there was a rehearsal going on: a clergyman and two small boys. I think it was for a Christmas service, but I don’t know why.

The first boy was reading from the Bible into a microphone; from the beginning. “In the beginning was the word… and the word was good.”

He was being coached by the clergyman – my guess is that they were from the cathedral school, and he was going to be leading the service. He picked up the boy, who must have been nine or ten years old, on every little point: every phrase – “And! More emphatic! And the word was good…!”

He took apart every syllable until it barely made sense.

The other boy had an easier job. He had to read from a modern children’s story: he told about a little boy who dropped a crisp packet in the street, and was picked up by his teacher.

“What would happen if everybody dropped the crisp packets in the street?” she asked.

The boy didn’t know.

“They’d pile up and up and up! What would happen then?”

The boy didn’t know.

“We’d be overwhelmed by crisp packets!”

The boy hung his head; the teacher thought it was in shame.

But actually he was calculating how many crisp packets would be needed to bury the whole of [Swindon/Didcot/Slough/wherever] to a depth of three feet…


Well, something like that, anyway.

These stories were read out as I wandered around, taking photographs. I wanted to tell the first kid that I thought he was doing fine, that he didn’t need to pay heed to the clergyman. But I didn’t.

Edit: as [livejournal.com profile] chickenfeet2003 points out, I got my biblical quotation completely wrong. It was several lines from, I think, Genesis, not John. But that wasn't the point: the point was that the man coaching the reader was quibbling over the specific stress of the word "And!"...
rhythmaning: (sunset)
I had lunch with [livejournal.com profile] white_hart in the café in Blackwells – I thought this was a bit risky, but she assured me her books-habit is fully met by the various Oxfam bookshops around town!

It was a glorious afternoon – tee-shirt weather (it seems so long ago!) - so I decided to go down to Christ Church - known as “the House” [of God]. Within the college is the cathedral for the diocese of Oxford.

(Tip for alumni of Oxford: your “alumni card”, which you can get from your college if they haven’t sent you one – or several! – could get you in free: well, mine got me in free. I would assume that this is the same for every college, but I haven’t tried it yet.)

The route around the college is prescribed – basically, “tourists this way”. I can’t think when I last – if I ever – went around the college (as opposed to popping in to see friends in their rooms). It was beautiful.

I took lots of pictures…

DSC_0262

Read more... )

rhythmaning: (sunset)
I had lunch with [livejournal.com profile] white_hart in the café in Blackwells – I thought this was a bit risky, but she assured me her books-habit is fully met by the various Oxfam bookshops around town!

It was a glorious afternoon – tee-shirt weather (it seems so long ago!) - so I decided to go down to Christ Church - known as “the House” [of God]. Within the college is the cathedral for the diocese of Oxford.

(Tip for alumni of Oxford: your “alumni card”, which you can get from your college if they haven’t sent you one – or several! – could get you in free: well, mine got me in free. I would assume that this is the same for every college, but I haven’t tried it yet.)

The route around the college is prescribed – basically, “tourists this way”. I can’t think when I last – if I ever – went around the college (as opposed to popping in to see friends in their rooms). It was beautiful.

I took lots of pictures…

DSC_0262

Read more... )

All Souls

Nov. 3rd, 2008 05:34 pm
rhythmaning: (bottle)
I had dinner at All Souls. I hadn’t had dinner at “high table” for many, many years; and All Souls only has high table.

It was all slightly weird: lots of servants being rather obsequious, which doesn’t naturally fall within my comfort zone. The whole thing – the very grand setting, the portraits (famous scientists and politicians were the ones I recognised), the servants – made me think of a meal in Gormenghast, or perhaps something out of His Dark Materials.

I sat between my friend and an ancient historian. (She was quite young herself.) Indeed, most of the people there seemed to be ancient historians. She wasn’t particularly chatty, but since my friend was talking to the person on her right – who taught her when she was an undergraduate (she wasn’t sure if he remembered!) – I pushed ahead with a conversation.

Her speciality was twelfth century France (though I guess it wasn’t called France at that point), and much more specifically, the legal basis for various wars that were fought. Knowing nothing about twelfth century France, let alone the legal basis for wars, this was a which seam of conversation and was rather interesting.

She hailed from the mid-west, so we talked about the States, too.

The food was good-ish – chicken breast stuffed with brie (although they seemed to have forgotten the brie in mine, which suited me perfectly) - the wine, better (a 1999 Jaboulet – I can’t remember the specific provenance).

I was a little confused because my friend had said we wouldn’t stay for dessert, so I was thinking we would leave before pudding, but we didn’t. This was good, the pudding being baked pears soaked in some kind of alcohol.

We went to another, much more homely, room for coffee, where we talked with another ancient historian, this one on loan from a university in Paris. Her topic was fascinating – basically, the information systems in place following the collapse of the Roman Empire, and more specifically, how did Christianity manage to (more or less) maintain its integrity rather than collapse into a myriad of cults. (It goes without saying that I know nothing of ancient information systems or early Christianity – I know bugger all about Christianity period aside from thinking medieval cathedrals are beautiful, awe inspiring things.) This was fascinating; her view was it all came down to gossip – the ancient version of Facebook…

I was looking for the port, thinking this might be quite special, when my friend made moves to leave. It turns out dessert is port and a bit more food – but tends towards the pompous if there aren’t a lot of guests, which is why she wanted to skip it.

So we went off to play with her family and, particularly, their kittens, instead.

All Souls

Nov. 3rd, 2008 05:34 pm
rhythmaning: (bottle)
I had dinner at All Souls. I hadn’t had dinner at “high table” for many, many years; and All Souls only has high table.

It was all slightly weird: lots of servants being rather obsequious, which doesn’t naturally fall within my comfort zone. The whole thing – the very grand setting, the portraits (famous scientists and politicians were the ones I recognised), the servants – made me think of a meal in Gormenghast, or perhaps something out of His Dark Materials.

I sat between my friend and an ancient historian. (She was quite young herself.) Indeed, most of the people there seemed to be ancient historians. She wasn’t particularly chatty, but since my friend was talking to the person on her right – who taught her when she was an undergraduate (she wasn’t sure if he remembered!) – I pushed ahead with a conversation.

Her speciality was twelfth century France (though I guess it wasn’t called France at that point), and much more specifically, the legal basis for various wars that were fought. Knowing nothing about twelfth century France, let alone the legal basis for wars, this was a which seam of conversation and was rather interesting.

She hailed from the mid-west, so we talked about the States, too.

The food was good-ish – chicken breast stuffed with brie (although they seemed to have forgotten the brie in mine, which suited me perfectly) - the wine, better (a 1999 Jaboulet – I can’t remember the specific provenance).

I was a little confused because my friend had said we wouldn’t stay for dessert, so I was thinking we would leave before pudding, but we didn’t. This was good, the pudding being baked pears soaked in some kind of alcohol.

We went to another, much more homely, room for coffee, where we talked with another ancient historian, this one on loan from a university in Paris. Her topic was fascinating – basically, the information systems in place following the collapse of the Roman Empire, and more specifically, how did Christianity manage to (more or less) maintain its integrity rather than collapse into a myriad of cults. (It goes without saying that I know nothing of ancient information systems or early Christianity – I know bugger all about Christianity period aside from thinking medieval cathedrals are beautiful, awe inspiring things.) This was fascinating; her view was it all came down to gossip – the ancient version of Facebook…

I was looking for the port, thinking this might be quite special, when my friend made moves to leave. It turns out dessert is port and a bit more food – but tends towards the pompous if there aren’t a lot of guests, which is why she wanted to skip it.

So we went off to play with her family and, particularly, their kittens, instead.
rhythmaning: (cat)
From today's Observer (unfortunately it isn't on their website... p25 of the news section) [Edit: [livejournal.com profile] abrinsky points out they have now posted it on the website: and the URL-tag uses the phrase "political correctness"... ;) ]:

Christmas Is Axed In Oxford


Council leaders in Oxford have decided to ban the word Christmas from this year's festive celebrations to make them more "inclusive". But the decision to rename the series of events the "Winter Light Festival" have been cticised by religious leaders and locals said it was "ludicrous".

Sabir Hussain Mirza, chairman of the Muslim Council of Oxford, said: "This is the one occasion which everyone looks forward to in the year... I'm angry and very, very disappointed. CHristmas is special and we shouldn't ignore it... Christmas is part of being British."

Rabbi Eli Bracknell said: "It's important to maintain a traditional British Christmas..."


What amused me most is that the Observer didn't print any comments from any Christian spokespeople!
rhythmaning: (cat)
From today's Observer (unfortunately it isn't on their website... p25 of the news section) [Edit: [livejournal.com profile] abrinsky points out they have now posted it on the website: and the URL-tag uses the phrase "political correctness"... ;) ]:

Christmas Is Axed In Oxford


Council leaders in Oxford have decided to ban the word Christmas from this year's festive celebrations to make them more "inclusive". But the decision to rename the series of events the "Winter Light Festival" have been cticised by religious leaders and locals said it was "ludicrous".

Sabir Hussain Mirza, chairman of the Muslim Council of Oxford, said: "This is the one occasion which everyone looks forward to in the year... I'm angry and very, very disappointed. CHristmas is special and we shouldn't ignore it... Christmas is part of being British."

Rabbi Eli Bracknell said: "It's important to maintain a traditional British Christmas..."


What amused me most is that the Observer didn't print any comments from any Christian spokespeople!
rhythmaning: (cat)
One of the other things I did last week was play with my friends' kittens. Well, they played and tried to take their photographs on my mobile phone. (Hence the not-very-good photos.)

20-10-08_2053

20-10-08_2052

Last I heard, the grey and white one at the top of the picture was still looking for a home...

20-10-08_2051

20-10-08_2050

Last I heard, the grey and white one at the top of the picture was still looking for a home...

20-10-08_2049

rhythmaning: (cat)
One of the other things I did last week was play with my friends' kittens. Well, they played and tried to take their photographs on my mobile phone. (Hence the not-very-good photos.)

20-10-08_2053

20-10-08_2052

Last I heard, the grey and white one at the top of the picture was still looking for a home...

20-10-08_2051

20-10-08_2050

Last I heard, the grey and white one at the top of the picture was still looking for a home...

20-10-08_2049

rhythmaning: (sunset)
In the last week, I have had a great time. I have also been a little, weirdly, ill.

I…
  • drove down to Bristol, rushing down the A701 through hills and heather, to get caught in a long traffic jam on the M6
  • lost all adequate sense of balance, whilst sober, leading me to collapse to the right
  • spent an evening and a morning in bed, lest I fall over
  • spent a good couple of days in the company of old friends
  • visited two cathedrals – one in Bristol, one in Oxford
  • went to the Tudor House and Bristol City Museum, where I looked at glass and silver and dinosaurs and pianos (all at the same time!)
  • wandered through the stones of Avebury, my heart breaking
  • found some old, fascinating family history
  • had dinner at All Souls with A. and lunch at Blackwell’s with [livejournal.com profile] white_hart (a bit dangerous, I thought, meeting in a bookshop…)
  • finally saw the Killing Machine, “a theatrical meditation on capital punishment, inspired by Franz Kafka’s In the Penal Colony”, which wasn’t working the last three times I tried to see it
  • drove up the east coast back to Edinburgh
  • sopped off for a few hours at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, where I have meant to visit for many, many years; it was brilliant, wonderful, and I had a really good time. Lunch was good, too…


I took 325 photographs; so over the next few weeks, I may even write about all this a little bit more.
rhythmaning: (sunset)
In the last week, I have had a great time. I have also been a little, weirdly, ill.

I…
  • drove down to Bristol, rushing down the A701 through hills and heather, to get caught in a long traffic jam on the M6
  • lost all adequate sense of balance, whilst sober, leading me to collapse to the right
  • spent an evening and a morning in bed, lest I fall over
  • spent a good couple of days in the company of old friends
  • visited two cathedrals – one in Bristol, one in Oxford
  • went to the Tudor House and Bristol City Museum, where I looked at glass and silver and dinosaurs and pianos (all at the same time!)
  • wandered through the stones of Avebury, my heart breaking
  • found some old, fascinating family history
  • had dinner at All Souls with A. and lunch at Blackwell’s with [livejournal.com profile] white_hart (a bit dangerous, I thought, meeting in a bookshop…)
  • finally saw the Killing Machine, “a theatrical meditation on capital punishment, inspired by Franz Kafka’s In the Penal Colony”, which wasn’t working the last three times I tried to see it
  • drove up the east coast back to Edinburgh
  • sopped off for a few hours at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, where I have meant to visit for many, many years; it was brilliant, wonderful, and I had a really good time. Lunch was good, too…


I took 325 photographs; so over the next few weeks, I may even write about all this a little bit more.
rhythmaning: (bottle)
My mother’s funeral was more than a week ago; there were lots of things I wanted to say about it, but I am not sure if I can remember them all. It might still be too soon.
Read more... )
rhythmaning: (bottle)
My mother’s funeral was more than a week ago; there were lots of things I wanted to say about it, but I am not sure if I can remember them all. It might still be too soon.
Read more... )
rhythmaning: (cat)
I was talking to my friend A. last week, and she mentioned that she was now attached to All Souls College, rather than Catz, where she used to be based.

Catz is a comparatively new institution, founded in 1962; All Souls is over five hundred years older, and occupies an esteemed position in British academia.

When A. told me this, I couldn’t help thinking, and saying, “You know, this may sound snobby, but being a fellow of All Souls sounds a lot better than being a fellow of Catz.”

And she replied, “That’s because it is!”

It was only afterwards that I realised I wasn’t sure if she meant All Souls or my snobbery.

And two other thoughts: if the fellows of All Souls are so smart, how come they forgot to use an apostrophe?

And whilst Catz may not be as good, it did seem appropriate for A.: her cat has had another litter of kittens, and she seemed surrounded by the animals!
rhythmaning: (cat)
I was talking to my friend A. last week, and she mentioned that she was now attached to All Souls College, rather than Catz, where she used to be based.

Catz is a comparatively new institution, founded in 1962; All Souls is over five hundred years older, and occupies an esteemed position in British academia.

When A. told me this, I couldn’t help thinking, and saying, “You know, this may sound snobby, but being a fellow of All Souls sounds a lot better than being a fellow of Catz.”

And she replied, “That’s because it is!”

It was only afterwards that I realised I wasn’t sure if she meant All Souls or my snobbery.

And two other thoughts: if the fellows of All Souls are so smart, how come they forgot to use an apostrophe?

And whilst Catz may not be as good, it did seem appropriate for A.: her cat has had another litter of kittens, and she seemed surrounded by the animals!

Profile

rhythmaning: (Default)
rhythmaning

June 2017

S M T W T F S
    123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
252627282930 

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Oct. 24th, 2017 11:05 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios