Tuesday, 10 November 2015

ash and sycamore, chats, felting repairs, celebration of the life of john bayley, 8th seminar series, bodleian's 12 millionth book, songs of data


It was great to see Frank again on Sunday when he delivered the first load of logs of the season. We have a good system - he unloads a barrowful as I trundle another up the long garden path to the old privy that serves as the woodshed. As we swap full and empty barrows we chat. Four or five deliveries a season, this the fifteenth season. A lot of logs, a lot of chat.

This time the logs were mostly ash and sycamore. The former logs being denser and longer-burning. Amazing the difference in texture and weight.

Some harvesting on the allotment - and some repairs to the felting on the shed roof, after the Saturday gales - but no digging. The rains of last week have saturated the Oxford clay and made it horribly sticky and unworkable. Fortunately, there are only one or two tiny pieces that still need attention and most is ready for the winter,

Yesterday I went to the celebration of the life of John Bayley at St Catherine's College. It was a very genial, warm and nicely humorous event with reminiscences from nine friends from different walks of John's life, including the chef Rick Stein who was a student at New College and was taught by John. Richard Eyre, who made the film of John and Iris, spoke in a pre-recorded video. John Fuller read his witty poem of glimpses of John's life, Haiku for John Bayley (actually a series of stanzas in free Haiku form). Katherine Duncan-Jones gave a lovely account of being interviewed by John for admission to Oxford. The event concluded with an extract taken from John in conversation with Anthony Clare on In the Psychiatrist's Chair.

It was wonderful to be there with people that knew and loved John. As I said in my post, written shortly after he died, 'Thank you, John. Thank you so very much.'

On Thursday, I begin my long fiction seminar series for the Undergraduate Diploma in Creative Writing. The eighth time I have done this. The time has passed so swiftly. Very much looking forward to meeting this year's students.

Exciting to discover the title of the Bodleian's 12 millionth book!

Signed up for, Songs of data: an introduction to sonification by Iain Emsley at the Centre for Digital Scholarship, Weston Library, Friday 20th November.

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