tree_and_leaf: Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart in uniform glengarry bonnet, Jamie in kilt, caption "Wha's like us?" (Scots Soldiers (Icon of patriotic prejud)
When my grandfather was a very young man, not all that long after the Great War, he drove a grocer's van round the farms and settlements about the Gala Water. He carried all kinds of things - tinned goods, and string, and bits of agricultural supplies in a small way. And once a week, he had fish.

One day, he was driving up a steep hill and realised to his horror that the van doors had come open - he had been in a hurry the last time he had stopped - and the things gleaming in the road behind him were fish. His fish. So he went back and picked up the scattered and dusty haddock and herring, and then, for want of a better solution, went down to the burn and washed them.

The next place he had to call wasn't far off, and he presented the fish to a busy farmer's wife with some trepidation.

"Ach, laddie," she beamed. "What grand fresh fish! They look like you just guddled them oot the burn the now!"
tree_and_leaf: Tardis silhoutted agains night sky, with blinking light. (Tardis)
Today I went to the dentist, and was as usual a complete coward about it - particularly shaming as I have no fillings and have never had an extraction, so I really have nothing to be afraid of.

I also finally succeeded in buying a decent dressing gown (a man's, but I have given up trying to find a woman's one that's not more interested in being slinky and/or pink than being warm).

And we have just had about a centimetre of snow in five minutes, though it's stopped snowing again. Fortunately, there was potato pie and red cabbage for supper.

Also: I am trying to write up a fic idea I had while virging a while ago, and I can't remember how crucial bits of it worked. *sulks*
tree_and_leaf: Two children playing on mudflats - colourised version of Ransom's pen-and-ink illustration for "Secret Water". (Secret Water)
Nonetheless, the flat is clean.

Mostly.

Anyone got any tips on getting pine needles from under laptop keys?
tree_and_leaf: Isolated tree in leaf, against blue sky. (Default)
Oh, and Granny had a mini-stroke today. We're told it's nothing to worry about, and the hospital checked her out and sent her home. Might be the result of the change of medication.

Not good, though :( .
tree_and_leaf: Photo of opening of Beowulf manuscript (Hwaet Beowulf)
I encourage anyone who happens to be in Oxford to go and visit the free exhibition on Dante, Petrach and Boccaccio which is on at the Bod until October 31st. It's a typical Bodleian exhibition, in that it amounts to 'Some interesting stuff in Oxford on X'; but there are some very interesting manuscripts, early printed books and paintings (mostly DG Rossetti, most notably 'Dante drawing an angel' as Lizzie Sidal Gemma looks on). Among the books, I was particularly interested in the very early illustrated Dante (1350), open at the page showing Dante and Vergil entering Purgatory, and Dante being tattooed with the sharp end of a sword, and the first terrace - rather lovely, and high quality drawing, the early editions of Dante, showing the increasing respect with which the poem was treated; Petrarch's Suetonius and Ambrose, with his marginalia; some striking illustrated manuscripts of the Decameron; the 'after Vasari' of the six Florentine poets on loan from Oriel SCR, and the lock of Percy and Mary Shelley's hair (groping rather desperately for exhibits, there...)
tree_and_leaf: Text icon: sarcastic interpretations of commonly used phrases in scholarship. (terms commonly used in academia)
I hate OLIS. Not only did it insist that we have no books by Richard Southern, which was obviously untrue (as was demonstrated by looking for individual titles), but I also spent three quarters of an hour looking for an author who I only subsequently discovered was unlocatable on the system because some idiot had misspelled his name

Bah, say I.
tree_and_leaf: Isolated tree in leaf, against blue sky. (Default)
... especially as I succeeded in getting back to Oxford from a very snowy Milton Keynes, where I had been to an excellent ceilidh the previous night. Hopefully photos later - take adavantage of the shiny new account!
tree_and_leaf: Peter Davison in Five's cricket gear, leaning on wall with nose in book, looking a bit like Peter Wimsey. (Books)
Sigh. I wandered into Borders looking for Eamon Duffy's "The Stripping of the Altars", and wandered out minus said fascinating study of the late-Mediaeval/ early Reformation English church, but plus 'Cetaganda' - yes. more Vorkosigan.

The cover - it's an American edition - is seriously horrible, though. It looks like it's eligible for some sort of bad cover art prize (possibly, since it has a proud endorsement from the 'Romantic Times', the 'bad romance cover art' [livejournal.com profile] snorkackcatcher linked to the other day).

There's also something mildly annoying about buying a book for the same price in pounds as is given in dollars on the jacket, though that's hardly the American publisher's fault.
tree_and_leaf: Isolated tree in leaf, against blue sky. (Default)
.... not as an uphill, depressing struggle, but sheer bloody misery" Listening to the Minister's Old Year's Night sermon yesterday, other than being depressed by it, I had a nagging sense of familiarity.

Later that day, I watched a DVD of old Scotch and Wry (http://www.bbc.co.uk/comedy/guide/articles/s/scotchandwry_1299003554.shtml), and discovered the lugubrious Rev IM Jolly doing a remarkably similar reflection for Hogmanay. Except, obviously, that was supposed to be parody....
tree_and_leaf: Isolated tree in leaf, against blue sky. (Default)
I went down to the religious bookshop (St Phillips, new, second hand and rare) on St Aldates today, looking for a translation of Gertrud the Great - which, indeed, I found.

I also found, while resisting the urge to buy Charles William's extraordinarily partial but none the less interesting history of mysticism, the 'first cheap edition 352 pages 4/6' of Four Sacred Plays by Dorothy L Sayers. I couldn't resist, though I think I've just sabotaged my chance of getting amything done this afternoon.

The bookshop itself is extremely well stocked, though obviously by a Catholic - the English Missal and reports from the Anglo-Catholic conferences of the thirties were filed austerely under 'Anglican and Non-Conformist', which is accurate as far as it goes, but still somehow amusing...

But, anyway, 352 pages of new Sayers!
tree_and_leaf: Isolated tree in leaf, against blue sky. (Default)
I've been having a splendid time in North Germany, despite truly disgusting weather, and taking the opportunity to enjoy many of my favourite things about life over there. Today, on the way home, I spent a wet day in Hamburg and among other things discovered an enormously dangerous shop which sells all kinds of things for the home, kitchen and office, chosen to combine beauty and utility, with an extra portion of old fashioned manufacturing or craft standards - though 'old fashioned' in this case includes modernism. All very German in an Anglophilic sort of way.

After being torn away by my friend from several gorgeous things I couldn't afford to buy - such as the Hastil fountain pen - or those for which I had no immediate use, such as the hat boxes - I reflected, with a mixture of sadness and relief, that they didn't have such things in Britain. (My friend, I think, was just relieved to get me away from the knives and axes)

Only it turns out that they do have such shops, or at least such catalogues in Britian. And with an internet shop, too.

http://www.manufactum.co.uk/

ETA: Gosh, they even have red indiarubber balls, like King John wanted for Christmas.
tree_and_leaf: Isolated tree in leaf, against blue sky. (Default)
Yesterday I went up to the Radcliffe Infirmary (familiar to Sayers fans as the hospital where Jerry is laid up after his accident) to visit a friend, who had landed up there after an ear infection turned nasty. I hadn't actually realised how ill he had been; turns out that, had things gone a bit differently, he might have died. He had gone up to the hospital because he felt very much worse, and they admitted him for observation, which, as it turned out, was a very good thing.

This is possibly the most frightening thing I )
tree_and_leaf: Isolated tree in leaf, against blue sky. (Default)
Thank goodness Oxford is back to normal after the animal rights demonstration at the weekend. I missed all the fun (sometimes living out of town is an advantage) but the even-earlier-than-usual-closure of the Bod meant there was no point going in anyhow.

Goal for the day: finish writing a paper before my supervisor turns nasty; buy a new bedside lamp as the old one, not content with a homicidal urge to throw itself off the bedside cabinet if I so much as looked at the cord, eventually turned its rage in on itself and died.

Of such is a postgraduate's life made.

I'm ignoring the plot bunnyish picture of Hermione as a grad student in Oxford (the Bod is remowned for its collection of mediaval magic manuscripts in certain circle, you know...) as I'm not sure what to do with it - and it wouldn't contribute to paper-writing, either.

On the other hand, at least Formal Hall has started up again. Hurrah for food, gowns and table talk.

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