Lots of stuff going on recently, which means not enough time for LiveJournal. There are several entries that I hope to compose in the not-too-distant future but, for now, here is a classic weekend summary post. Enjoy!Friday:
Worked in London during the day. Returned to the City of Dreaming Spires in the evening to collect my beloved cheshcat
; together, we made our way to the Oxford Playhouse. There, we saw a touring company from Shakespeare's Globe put on a performance of Henry V
. It was very
well done; one of the best productions that I have seen from the Globe. Makes me look forward to their Hamlet
, which we have tickets for in July. It will be staged in the quad of the Bodleian Library, which is a rather wonderful setting!
Incidentally, this performance marks the fifth time that I have seen Henry V
on stage -- unambiguously earning it the honour of being Shakespearean play that I have seen most frequently. At least for now. On Thursday, cheshcat
and I, along with EB who is coming from the States, will be going to Stratford-upon-Avon to see a production of The Tempest
. So, four days from now, The Tempest
will tie with Henry V
... and, in August, I will also be seeing Richard III
for the fifth time.
Meanwhile, there are five of the Bard's plays[*] that I still need to get tickets to see!Saturday:
The Oxford City Branch of the Oxford Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers had its half-annual meeting, which I attended in my role as Hon. Treasurer to present the State of the Finances report. Additionally, the City Branch had its annual six-bell striking competition just before the meeting. Back in March, I was more than a little shocked when the tower captain of St. Giles Church -- my home tower -- invited me to join the competition band! My ringing has progressed quite a bit in recent months, mainly thanks to the near-daily practice in February. Tangible results are starting to be seen, with my first quarter peal on a working bell last month, and my first striking competition yesterday!
In recent weeks, I was very nervous about competing. However, all went very well. We rang at Horspath, which was a new tower for me. Still, their bells are relatively light and rather easy to ring. Indeed, there was even a brief window when I thought that we might win! Our band rang second-to-last in the randomly chosen order. When we finished, I was rather confident that we had managed the best ringing thus far. Which was correct... but the final band out-rang us. Oops! Even so, second place on my first try is not bad!
Here is a picture of our band. after the competition:And the runner ups are...
(click for full-sized version)
For those with some interest in this weird change bell ringing thing that I do, you can click here
to hear a recording of us in the striking competition. The first few single strikes are a signal to the judges, sitting outside, that our practice is over and we are ready to begin. Then we ring in rounds -- a simple reverse scale -- for about a minute. Finally, we ring a touch of Grandsire Doubles
for about four minutes, before settling back into some brief rounds before setting our bells.
In this recording, I am on the #3 bell. Which will make it easy to identify me during rounds, though I will be impressed if you can keep track of my bell during the method!Sunday:
In the morning, I rang for church services at Headington. Afterward, I made my way to the nearby town of Wheatley to pay a visit to the Wheatley Windmill
, which was having an open day. There has been a mill on this site since at least the mid-17th
century; the earliest records are from 1671, noting that the mill of its day had fallen into disrepair. It enjoyed a resurgence in the 18th
centuries, but is now only maintained for historical value by the Wheatley Windmill Restoration Society
The mill was rather quaint and lovely. Its octagonal shape is rather unusual... and its clockwise motion is exceedingly rare. I arrived early in the day, when they were still putting the cloth sails onto the frame so that it would spin. The weather was particularly nice, so I did not mind the extended wait a'tall. Eventually, they got it going, which was much fun. After watching the arms spin for a bit, I went inside and explored the four stories of the tower. The top was particularly fun, with all the gears interlocking this way and that!
Below is a picture of the windmill, taken by your friendly neighbourhood Nomad. I wanted to share a photo of me posing with said mill... but, in all honesty, the picture that I took was much better than the one that the random stranger took of me plus the mill. Ah well!The wild winds of fortune
Will carry me onward,
Oh whithersoever they blow.
(click for full-sized version)
You can see that the sail has just been put on the arm at the bottom... but the two at the top are still awaiting their canvas!
On Sunday afternoon, I hopped on Ye Olde Oxford Tube and headed into London. There, in Kensal Rise, I joined in a party to celebrate the 65th
birthday of LF, my high school history teacher. She is one of only three teachers that I bonded with in high school[**], so having her in London for a year is really quite lovely! At the party, I met a couple of her other former students, her daughter and daughter's partner... and an old friend of hers that I had met back in March 1990, during a class trip to London!
All in all, twas a most lovely evening, which means that I didn't get back to Oxford until nearly half past midnight. Happily, my darling miss_amaranth
was also making her way home from London at the same time... so we kept abreast of each others' progress by text message! Silly, I know, but fun!
Finally, I wound down the night with a couple of phone calls. First, of course, I called Mom to wish her a Happy Mothers Day. We had a very nice conversation; indeed, twas the best interaction that we have had in quite some time! Afterward, I phoned gyades
, just to catch up on the live and times of my best friend.
When that was done, I put the weekend to bed by putting myself to bed. Snuggled up next to my beloved cheshcat
, I drifted off happily to sleep.
[*] Which are: Two Gentlemen of Verona, Pericles, Coriolanus, Two Noble Kinsmen, and Titus Andronicus.
[**] And one of the remaining two passed away whilst I was her student.