Sunday, 16 December 2012

frozen oxford canal, east oxford art & book fair, brian levison, yehuda amichai, fox at great barrington, sir bradley

Warm today but SO cold earlier in the week!

Oxford canal froze over (above)--a very different scene at the last lock before the city centre to the one a couple of months ago, let alone the one that was used as a basis for the cover of the Kindle edition of The Lock.

StreetBooks was at the first East Oxford Art & Book Fair yesterday, which was an excellent event. In the photo above, Margaret Keeping signs a copy of her wonderful novel about Edward Thomas, A Conscious Englishman. It was also lovely to see friends there, including many fellow members of Writers in Oxford. The event was opened by Brian Aldiss. It was nice to talk to him and to remember the extraordinary fox sighting before the Writers in Oxford twentieth anniversary party.

Thrilled to buy a copy of Adding An A by my friend Brian Levison at the fair. The estimable Henry Shukman said of this poetry collection, 'This is a warm-hearted, good-humoured collection that both celebrates everyday pleasures and explores common tragedies with wit, candour, and a delightful fluency.'  When I was editor of the Oxford Writer, I was proud to include one of the poems, At a lecture on Yehuda Amichai. These are lines from the poem:

'...I stare through the pages at the Old City
smelling the narrow alleys, old stoves and simmering pans
dazzled by the light bouncing off buildings
obliterating for a moment
the mortar and bullet marks,
picked scabs on the face of the walls.'

Today, we were supposed to be walking near Hay-on-Wye but sadly this mini-break fell through when the hotel's boiler packed up... Very disappointing. Although the walk we did near the Barringtons and Windrush village did a lot to make up for it! Beautiful unspoilt countryside round there. The walk only marred by a nasty incident when Tufty was attacked by a vicious bull terrier. He seems OK now, though, thank goodness. Nice to round off the walk with a pint of Donnnington BB at the Fox at Great Barrington.

PS Ace that cyclist Bradley Wiggins has just won Sports Personality of the Year.

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