brightlywoven: woobie revolutionaries in a window, caption 'it is time for us all to decide who we are' (It is time)
My Indefinite Leave to Remain document has just been delivered. So that's that. 10 years of permission to remain and no restrictions on what we can do. 

We will apply to become citizens next year, because you never know when UKIP might gain power and retrospectively strip settlement rights from nasty foreigners what the future holds, and also because we believe in being committed to the community in which you live, if you're allowed. 

I though this timely piece in the Guardian captured for me very nicely the pernicious uncertainty in the whole process (though as ever, don't read the comments). Ridiculously privileged though we are, this uncertainty has touched most of the past 7 years. I'm really going to enjoy living with the knowledge that we can keep building our little lives here. 

brightlywoven: (lalala peter)
I just did a very random drive-by of the college website, even though we were told to expect results next week...

...I PASSED!!!

I had to check a couple of times.

:D:D:D:D

(I discovered on starting the job that MANY of my contemporaries sat the exam at the same sitting as I did, so failure would have meant a sinking sense of being behind the curve. Oh Yay!!!! One year to pass part 3 now :D)
brightlywoven: (harriet)
I spent most of July either in Australia or in a book. Besides which, let's face it, the weather in July this year was pretty rotten. So the August sunshine has been very well timed, and beloved and I have tried to make the most of it. Saturday afternoon we had a long ramble up the Thames to Port Meadow, across the Meadow (which is now dry in the centre!) to Walton Manor, through North Oxford to Parks. Here we found nothing so lovely to do as to lie in some dappled sunlight eating strawberries and listening to the obligingly rustle-y leaves of a nearby tree. Eventually the sun began to slip behind some clouds and we meandered home via G&Ds, where we acquired some mango sorbet.

As we walked along the river I was once more reminded about how often I'm inclined to play about on the river in something with oars. Don't get me wrong, punting is clearly the superior means by which to propel oneself up and down the Cherwell. However last year half a dozen of us took out some rowboats on Grassmere, and had a smashing time: I wanted to try it again. Maybe it's the excitement in Ratty's little speech I find so enticing:

'Nice? It's the only thing,' said the Water Rat solemnly, as he leant forward for his stroke. 'Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Simply messing,' he went on dreamily: 'messing - about - in - boats; messing - '

So today we went to Magdalen Bridge and DIDN'T take out a punt. We took out a little rowboat. First up we discovered the disadvantage of the rowboat:  you take up much more river width. So when the August Sunday afternoon has turned golden and glorious, and dozens of clueless tourists and summer students decide to try punting/rowing/peddaloes, you are rendered unable to manouvre, because they are in your oar space. However once we were south of the Botanic Gardens, the extra river width and the distance from the boathouse combined to give us much more freedom, and we rowed happily past Christ Church meadow, watching light glint off the water and making the meadow grasses glow. 

We had a midriver picnic of strawberries, pimm's and goat's cheese with crackers, and then braved the Thames! Then back up the Cherwell and home, this time taking the Hilda's branch, which was less crowded. exactlyhalf rowed most of the way our, and I rowed along the Thames and back. Combine this with today's gym visit and I'm beginning to feel my muscles creak. However after four months of driving every day and not having time to exercise, I'm enjoying the feeling of tired muscles and achey joints that signify I'm moving again.
brightlywoven: (harriet)
Not going to be an effective day for me. I went to bed at 2 (after a fab evening with shanith watching Peter and Bunter and concocting a pavlova for some celebrations this afternoon, after which I tried to piece together this presentation for some Very Important Types at 8am, after which I tried to pack).

BUT in 2 hours I'll be heading into town to congratulate a triumphant finalist
AND THEN exactlyhalf and I are off to Paris for the weekend. After putting up with anxious, tired, grumpy and stressed out me in various doses for the last two months, he deserves it! With at least the next 12 months looking secure and enjoyable, this should be a weekend to enjoy.
brightlywoven: (docs)
Give me a dodo and call me Thursday - I'm off to Swindon for a training job.

*is happy*
brightlywoven: Pickwick the dodo, one of a kind, hand made by my stepmum (lalala)
I'm sure many of you know the song of The Wild Rover, and most of you in Oxford will know this has been adapted to The Wild Punter, telling tales of river exploits. Well, while strolling down the canal yesterday, exactlyhalf made me a gift of the following verse:

I've been a wild Bunter for many's the year
But I've changed all my ways now that Lord Peter's here.
He needs a good man since that hell that was War
So I never shall play the wild Bunter no more.

And it's no, nay, never,
No nay never no more
Will I play the wild Bunter,
No never, no more

____

We have now got 8 verses to our ditty, telling the much needed back story of Bunter. For those who don't know him, Bunter is valet to Lord Peter Wimsey, an man of immaculate presentation and utmost propriety. Our song tells of Bunter before the war, tales of wildness that begin with brandy drinking and stolen kisses, and end up with the buckling of swashes! It still needs some polishing, then we'll post it. It was wonderful to wander through the sunny evening composing verses about Bunter the poacher!
brightlywoven: Pickwick the dodo, one of a kind, hand made by my stepmum (daffodils)
We have had a magical night.

I remember when I first saw Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds play live, and was amazed to 'see' how the music was put together (for example, the striking of a long metal pipe to produce the high, ringing notes of doom in Red Right Hand). Tonight's concert was another such experience.

We went to the Royal Festival Hall for a long awaited concert by Tindersticks. Other than a one-off concert in 2006, the band has hardly performed live since the release of 2003's Waiting for the Moon. Since then there have been solo projects and rumours of dissolution, but half of the original band have now returned to the studio, with some new artists, to produce The Hungry Saw. Tonight was our first Tindersticks gig, and though we knew this was not entirely the same band who produced some amazing albums, anticipation was nevertheless high.

After a surprisingly bad trip to London (52 minutes to get from Gloucester Green to the park and ride? What?), and a frenzied dash through the underground to Southbank, we settled into our seats (in row 8!), me with a glass of rose in hand. The guest act was very good (Sarah Lowes), with some whimsical numbers and a multi-talented instrumentalist to accompany her. Then the main event began.

The number of chairs on stage had me dancing with excitement in the warm-up. Tindersticks' music is full of complex orchestration, and amongst the line up changes with this album was the loss of Dickon, the violinist. Without his lush, aching strings it would hardly be the same. So imagine my joy when no less than 8 bow wielding musicians slowly made their way onto stage. David sat at the keyboard and began to play a short melody. Two violinists joined in. Thomas and Dan (the new faces) on drums and bass, Neil on guitar and finally Stuart arrived slowly on stage and piece by piece the sound grew, changed, took on layers and depth. Cello, saxophone, trombone, glockenspiel. The band was here.

The set was mostly comprised of new material - the album was only released on Monday - and this was an amazing way to hear an album for the first time. The stage held 13 musicians, whose opening number showed the incredible intensity of the music they could produce, but this was a show of measure and restraint, now breaking out into freedom, now reining in. Sometimes it was just the drums and bass, providing a thrumming heart beat below the whispered intimacy of Stuart's voice. At other times the strings would join in to swell the melody, then in came brass as the frenzy and despair wrought itself. Trumpet and trombone added high, top notes of desperation, fading to a low moan as the energy ebbed.

Tindersticks is heavy stuff, but not without humour. An unexpected choice of old song to play was 'My Sister' - a woe-filled spoken word tale of the singer's sister who is blinded at five, orphaned at 12, crippled at 20 and dead at 32 - with some wicked dead-pan delivery. This is not one of my favourites (there are many competing for that spot), but I was astonished by the musical complexity behind the narrative that was brought to my attention by having it so in front of me.

And then, there was the incredible energy, the physicality of the performance. There is an exuberance to this band, even when singing about having the devil cut our your heart, or searching the world for the lost voice of a lover. A driving energy is provided by every single musician, so much so that I found myself short of breath after some songs. In others I was holding it, wondering just how long this song could hang suspended, held only by the gentle heart-break of a violin and the murmur of Stuart's voice.

When it was over, we walked to Victoria through a surprisingly balmy London night with the Carr sisters, who regularly worship at this alter. First or fiftieth concert though, we were all wowed, and somewhat saddened that this was no longer in the future for anticipation.
brightlywoven: (harriet)
lalalalalla

Jet lagged being awake at 6:30 *rules*

*goes to play in april snow*
brightlywoven: Pickwick the dodo, one of a kind, hand made by my stepmum (daffodils)
A glorious weekend, in which I
- had a most bracing walk throug the ice puddles to Godstow lock, learning on the way that the Perch 'aims' to reopen in summer
- Finally saw Serenity, while enjoying Wife Soup. Yay River!
- Enjoyed defeating dracula (even if by the end I was getting impatient to start watching Serenity
- Went to the gym twice
- Got my meringue making mojo back just in time for the banquet (mmm, chocolate pavlova roll...)
- Made the most awesome lasagne ever (I roasted my own peppers! I bechameled the hell out of a sauce!)
- Enjoyed the above with just enough cider and wine and good company
- Learned (if you can stretch 'the weekend' to '1pm on Monday) there will be a new Tindersticks album. Album AND tour. Am giddy with glee over this.

Now, back to work!

ETA giddy glee slightly tempered by learning DH has left the group, which means I'll never see him sing 'sweet memory'. *small sob*
brightlywoven: Pickwick the dodo, one of a kind, hand made by my stepmum (daffodils)
Today, not only did I do my working day highly efficiently (including a working pcr with detectable dna product! Yay! Itty bits of C. Diff!), I also
- cycled there and back
- put in 2 hours in the library after work for a presentation I have to give in the teaching session tomorrow
- came home and cooked a proper (ie non-easy pasta) dinner (mmm, lemon rocket risotto)
- vacuumed (OK, exactlyhalf brought Henry upstairs, but I wielded him valiently, including some very dusty skirting boards)
- did some more work on said presentation
- tided my room

I feel the glow of virtue
brightlywoven: Pickwick the dodo, one of a kind, hand made by my stepmum (biscuit)
Highlights of a day in London
- Seeing a real estate agent called Hotblack Desiato and nearly falling over laughing. Hotblack Desiato! Refrained from going in to ask if the manager was in, or still dead for tax purposes
- Donuts at the Camden stable market. mmm. Custard filled.
- Crazy old journals and newspaper clippings in same.
- Ordering a flat white and not being asked what that is.
- Drinking said flat white and finding it not only delicous, but adorned with a perfect rosette.
- Drinking a beer with Australian friends at the beer wharf on Australia Day.
- Finding my keys were actually at home, and not lost in London.
- Cellaring the dandelion wine to be savoured with the Norman Conquests.

Lowlights
- There range of Docs available in Camden is disappointing!
brightlywoven: Pickwick the dodo, one of a kind, hand made by my stepmum (Default)
Last weekend it was my birfday! The night before I took part in an excursion to watch The Golden Compass. It was not a fabulous film, but I actually found it enjoyable enough. Although there were some odd stylistic and geographic decisions, there was no actual butchering in ways that could have upset me. (And it was fun to giggle everytime Lyra walked through Jordan/Exeter/Queens/All Souls/Christ Church/college mega-mix). It would seem my lowering of expectations worked for me.

In the spirit of this, we had a "Lyra's Oxford" themed birthday do the next afternoon. It was far too cold and rainy to go off in search of a narrow boat to pirate, but we *did* play 'Kids and Gobblers' - which became vaguely disturbing. I survived, along with 2 gobblers and another kid, who was sibling of one Gobbler. It was a stalemate: thwen wouldn't gobble me, because if he did elleblue and cealdis would throw him in the river.

So we had tea, and choclatl, and bear paw-print biscuits made by Freya_9. Also, there was best birthday cake ever!

Shanith you are a marvel!


(in case you are wondering: the three hands pointed at an hourglass, a book and a horse. I formed the question 'When will I know so much that I get a knighthood?' The answer hand is pointing at a spider web, clearly telling me to bide my time, like a spider waiting patiently in a web. Cool.)
brightlywoven: Pickwick the dodo, one of a kind, hand made by my stepmum (Default)
I did a quick head count in the one calm moment when everyone was sitting for the play, and there were fully 60 people in the Bayne room! Suddenly, the plan to perform our reduced LOTR for a second time at short notice seemed perhaps unwise. More than one thespian looked a little pale...but, bless them, the people seemed to have fun. Our first rehearsal with the full cast that afternoon had been a little worrying, as our cues were long forgetten, and our pace sodden. However when we heard the first giggles, then roars, from the audience, there was a lot of grinning backstage. We had to pause for laughter to settle before delivering our lines! Most enthusiastic they seemed.

All in all, quite a success. Extra special hugs and thanks to cuiaalfheim, who journeyed far to reprise her stellar performance as Gandalf/Galadriel/The MC, and to freya_9, who did the lighting, and didn't complain once through two very chaotic rehearsals. Stars, both.
brightlywoven: Pickwick the dodo, one of a kind, hand made by my stepmum (daffodils)
So the big Tesco past the ring road drew us with its siren song, and that, along with the fact our cupboards were bare, led us on an expedition there yesterday. Upon its nightmare shelves, after battling through the hordes of unsupervised children, we found a thing of glory: a cache of Swedish pear cider. Sadly there were only 12 bottles left, so we bought them all.

Now, each time I walk past the cupboard that hides our pear cider stash I feel happy inside.
brightlywoven: Pickwick the dodo, one of a kind, hand made by my stepmum (daffodils)
It has become increasingly apparent that autumn is here, and so I am excited. The sunniness of the last few weeks has been accompanied by a delicious crispness, particularly in the morning air. The chestnuts have begun to change. I've never seen leaves shrivel on a tree so. Autumn was always my favourite season at home, and I'm looking forward to enjoying it amongst the many deciduous trees. This is exactlyhalf's first September in England too, and it is nice to experience a 'first' together.

We had a most autumnal weekend. It began with a very long walk on Saturday, and the gathering of conkers, for to string them and fight each other (and everyone else who might like to play). Sunday we enticed like-minded others out for a spot of autumn punting, which, with leaves falling on the Cherwell, and Magdalen radiant in the afternoon light, was simply delicious. There was also the playing of cards in a punt (appropriately, a game of 'up and down the river'). Then to a friend's home to conquer a difficult crossword over tea, and back to the Castle for gardener's pie (vegetarian shepherd's pie). There is something so comfortable about sitting in the lounge and reading, while dinner cooks in the oven and fills the room with good smells.

Other nice thing that happened was a chance to catch up with one of my old consultant's from Melbourne - The Very Clever Professor who recommended me to my current employers. He was in Oxford for a conference, and so we caught up for coffee, careers discussion and talk of Australian health care/politics.

All of which just about covers up my latent worry about what it will be like when the dark comes.

joy is...

Sep. 12th, 2007 04:08 pm
brightlywoven: Pickwick the dodo, one of a kind, hand made by my stepmum (biscuit)
...Sitting in the Phoenix cinema watching the beautifully remastered Withnail and I, with friends and a packed giggling cinema. Oh so quotable a film, with so many glorious lines:
"Black puddings aren't going to help us! I want something's flesh!"
"We want the finest wines available to humanity, we want them here, and we want them now!"

And something I spotted for the first time?
Uncle Monty went to Balliol! The college crest is on the picture that 'I' finds in the Penrith House. Oh joy, oh rapture. This brings to 3 my list of fictional Balliol men:
- Uncle Monty ("as a youth, I used to weep in butchers shops")
- Sir Humphrey ("Politicians like to panic, they need activity. It is their substitute for achievement ")
- Lord Peter Wimsey ("We are mortified in nineteenth century gothic, lest, in our overweening Balliolity, we forget God")

What an awe-inspiring - dare I say it? - trinity! (Since threesome would have entirely the wrong connotation!)
brightlywoven: Pickwick the dodo, one of a kind, hand made by my stepmum (biscuit)
You know it's your last chance to join the international frolicking and so....

Our man in Christ Church has booked the Bayne room for revelry from 8pm on Friday night - it's booked under the Taruith name. Here we can have some revelry before braving the bookshops. In a more ambitious time I had imagined games, snacks (themed, of course) and general merriment. The tragic reality is that I will be working right up until 8pm, and am due back in the salt mines at 8 the next morning. So I can't promise carefully planned merriment, but I'm pretty sure any ideas would be cheerfully entered into! (All those on holidays might have time to come up with some!)

Thanks to those who have indicated an intention to be there. Since it's out of term and many people are away, and since chief lembas maiden Tora and I will be making some snacks, it would be great to have a vague idea of numbers, but don't feel bound to commit, or unable to come without rsvp. (And if anyone wants to turn their hand to making cockroach clusters or fizzing whizbees, knock yourselves out!).

Oh, and if anyone has a cunning idea about how you mull mead without a stove or microwave, would love to hear it!

In summary - friday night, 8pm, Bayne Room till about 10, then onwards to the Book shops of Broad St.
brightlywoven: Pickwick the dodo, one of a kind, hand made by my stepmum (Default)
Yay me!

No more an unemployed Oxford hanger-on, as of Wednesday I shall be a bona fide respectable citizen, with a *job*.

*Dances around the living room some more*

And I don't have to commute to Banbury on a daily basis because they didn't offer me a job in Banbury. Oh no. They offered me a job at the John Radcliffe. A mere 5km from home! I can cycle.

So I will be a senior house officer in Paediatric Surgery for the next four months. I hearby undertake not to complain about the work, the hours or the pay. For at least 2 months!

Off to celebrate now.

*Dances away*
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