Oxford in the Early 1920s, “Before the Fall”

from Frank Kermode’s Introduction to Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh:

  • The beauty of the city itself, in the days before it was quite ruined by the motor car, was enhanced, at any rate for its transient occupants, by its being an almost exclusively male community. Waugh remarks that few of his contemporaries had ‘any serious interest in women’ though ‘very few have developed into homosexuals.’ They were in some respects, he said, sophisticated, in others barely adolescent.

Stay tuned.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge # 87 – REFLECTIONS

Miriam Hurdle: “I am fascinated by the reflection photographs in the lakes, the rivers, the building windows, the sunglasses, the mirrors, and the puddles.”

Self is, too!

Here are three from her archives:

  • Two snapshots of the London Eye,  taken from the next bridge over, November 2019
  • Lily Pond in Front of Christ Church, Oxford, UK, 11 November 2019 (Armistice Day)

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge 77: 2019 FAVORITES

Great theme!

In 2019, self traveled the world. Her life triangulated between home in Redwood City, California, to England and Ireland, to the Philippines. Side trip to Prague with her niece, Irene!

Here goes, all the images that mattered most to self in 2019, arranged from most recent — December 2019 — to the earliest, January 2019: Starting with her home in Redwood City in early December; to London’s Blackfriar station; to Manggapuri Villa in Don Salvador Benedicto, Negros Occidental, Philippines; to Prague; to Oxford University’s Exam School for Alice Oswald’s first reading as Oxford’s first woman Poet in Residence; to Kepler’s Books in Menlo Park; to the Main House of the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig; to the fire pit in Manggapuri Villas; to the Daku Balay in Bacolod City, the Philippines; to self’s bedroom; to the Blue Room in Café Paradiso in Cork, Ireland; to Fowey in Cornwall; to Courthouse Square, Redwood City; to the cover of last winter’s issue of Prairie Schooner, which included her story Things She Can Take

Stay tuned.

2019: Grateful For

Tuesday Photo Challenge: FANTASY

Fascinating Tuesday Photo Challenge!

Here are self’s three takes on the theme of FANTASY:

Picture # 1: Waiting for the start of Macbeth in Cal Shakes’ last production of the 2019 season. “When Birnam wood shall come to Dunsinane …” What’s not to love about the Weird Sisters? About the preening ambiton of Lady Macbeth? Self adores Shakespeare.

Picture # 2: Waterstones Oxford celebrates Philip Pullman’s The Secret Commonwealth (Vol. 2 of the Book of Dust, which takes Lyra Bellacqua of His Dark Materials and turns her into Lyra Silverstone — self picking up her copy today. So excited!

Picture # 3: London’s Knightsbridge, near Fortnum & Mason. Ready for Christmas, in mid-November. Window-shopping is de rigueur.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge # 72: WAITING

It is easy for self to come up with pictures for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge  #72 this week: WAITING.

Less than a week ago, she and two other friends waited at Oxford University’s Examination Schools for the start of the inaugural lecture by newly appointed Professor of Poetry Alice Oswald, who is the first woman ever to be appointed to that prestigious position.

Self took the second picture while visiting London’s Canary Wharf. Evern since she saw the handmaidens, she’s been wondering what/ who they’re waiting for.

The third picture is of self in Prague, where she’d gone in May with her niece. The other woman in the picture is a Filipina; we started chatting.

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Prague, May 2019

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Women and Knives: from Alcina’s History of the Bisayan People in the Philippine Islands

Thank the gods self was able to carve out a week in Oxford. Since she left the Tyrone Guthrie Centre on Oct. 27, it’s been very hectic. She hasn’t had time to read the Philippine history books, like Alcina’s, which she checked out of Stanford’s Green Library and which she’s lugged from Stanford to Dublin to Annaghmakerrig to Dublin to Manchester to London and finally here, to Oxford.

But walking around the Oxford Botanic Garden, and wandering into stores that sell old maps, and attending services two days in a row at Christ Church — all of that — is certainly reviving her interest in Alcina!

Francisco Ignacio Alcina was a Jesuit missionary who ended his great work in 1665. Self is reading it in a bilingual translation published by the oldest university in the Philippines, the University of Santo Tomas.

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Christ Church, Oxford: Remembrance Day

from Chapter 6: Concerning other mechanical arts which they knew in their antiquity and have preserved till today with improvements

  • The women have different types of knives of various shapes, but all are of iron. Some resemble the bolo, others are like ours which they call sipul in some regions and in others, dipang. They are accustomed to place their little rings of iron on the ends so that they make little sounds. These are valuable to the women and rarely will one be seen without them. In some towns, they always carry them in their hands when they go out of their houses so that they travel prepared for whatever might occur in the way of cutting something and even of wounding each other perhaps when they quarrel. In a town one woman killed another with one of these little knives because of jealousy. A very small wound is required to draw the soul from the body.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

“The Dreaming Spires”

Self is still on Ch. 7 of Stephen Westaby’s Open Heart. It’s a very gripping chapter. Everything unfolds in Oxford, hence “the dreaming spires” (repeated twice in this chapter, the editor must have really liked the expression).

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  • It was almost 8:00 a.m. The summer sun shone brightly on the dreaming spires. I left Katsumata to close the chest and went to warn the ICU about the impending arrival. Something different. For the next twelve hours, Julie’s critical period, she would have no pulse.

As Westaby explains in the previous paragraph, pulse “was much less important than blood flow . . . it didn’t matter whether the blood had pulse or no pulse in it. Flow was the key.”

Further on Julie’s condition:

  • Her kidneys had quit. She would need dialysis for a few days. And she was a little yellow. The liver was suffering as well. By most criteria, she had been dead. But we hoped she would live now. Good or what?

Self would say Julie just won the Lotto. Because Westaby was paged, and because he was willing to come in despite not being on call.

He goes to the patient’s anxious family and they can read his expression: despite “mask dangling down and blood on my theater shoes, I looked pleased.”

Whew! What an event! Like a real battle, and the outcome: “Julie was still alive.” The doctor’s not sure about brain damage, though.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Orange and Pink: Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge

You have to look hard in a few of these, but they definitely all DO have Orange and Pink.

Thanks again to Cee Neuner for the Fun Foto Challenge!

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Redwood City, California: January 2019

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London: 3 December 2018

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Heffers, Trinity Street, Cambridge: 23 November 2018

Can you tell how much self loves Philip Pullman? She read all the books on this table in the first few months of 2018. She knew that when she got to Oxford, she would look for as many Philip Pullman-related sites as she could.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Which Way Photo Challenge, Part 2

Much thanks to sonofabeach96 for the prompt, which sent self back to her archive of photographs, taken during her most recent trip:

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London Alley, 20 November 2018

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Rainy Night, London, 20 November 2018

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Wolvercote, the Ruins of Godstow Abbey in the distance, 16 November 2018: Philip Pullman’s LA BELLE SAUVAGE led self here. (When’s Book 2, The Secret Commonwealth, coming out? Been waiting a long, long time!)

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