March 17th, 2007

Mano Poderosa

Daffodils and deer. Springtime in Oxford.

shadowdaddy and I took advantage of ... well, the fact we're living in England ... to go to Oxford for the day today. We really didn't plan much, which was good and bad, other than getting our tickets in advance. I knew I wanted to see the Ashmolean and I had thoughts of seeing the canally parts that are featured in Lyra's Oxford.

The Ashmolean was, for me, completely fantastic, as it had an entire ROOM full of Pre-Raphaelite stuff, including several paintings that are in a book I own and have oohed over for years. There were no Rosettis, but at least two Burne Jones (including this cabinet he gave to Rosetti, WOW!). I was especially taken by two paintings by William Holman Hunt ("Festival of Saint Swithin" and "London Bridge at Night"). I'd thought he was a sappy, forgettable painter before, but these paintings were positively luminous and a real treat to spend time with.

After we tore ourselves away we went for a long walk on the campus of Magdalen College, part of which was built in the 15th Century and which overall made campus buildings and student housing on the Arizona State campus look like pure crap. There were daffodils blooming everywhere and a big open area behind most of the buildings with DEER roaming around. Wow. We wound up going for a walk by the river than runs near the college and saw even more flowers, including crocuses, muscari, and the apparently very rare snake-head fritillary. It was all just so gorgeous and pastoral. And cold, let's not forget cold; what happened to our sunny spring weather of earlier in the week?

We headed out of the college and went to The Turf Tavern to while away some time until 7 rolled around and the start of Luminox. This was an exhibit of fire art - metal chimneys with characters carved in them, a line of flaming pots strung from the base of the stairs to the top of the columns of a museum, a giant chandelier suspended from a crane with a hundred and more flaming pots lighting it up. It was gorgeous and cool and WARM but a little freaky because the wind had picked up and the braziers full of charcoal were sending out rather a lot of sparks. It was great to see, though, and a total accident we were there at the same time and had our tickets set up late enough so we could actually hang around long enough to watch it.

In related news, I think my anti gravity field is suffering a period of weakness, as when my phone fell out of my bag on the tube Thursday night, I actually had someone shout at me and hand it back, and the t-shirt I left at the coffee shop today was still waiting for me when I returned. Best guess is that it's migrated to shadowaddy, who realized on return to Oxford station that we only had one of the train tickets with us still. Aargh, but £17 (pretty much the total of all we had spent the entire time we were in Oxford) we were on the train and on our way.

Tomorrow: Cambridge! And I'm exhausted and am going to bed and rather sad that I've finished book 2 of The Bitterbynde Trilogy as there's no book 3 sitting on my shelves waiting for me to pick it up. Who's got my book 1 ... are you ready for the next?
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