"A commonplace book is what a provident poet cannot subsist without, for this proverbial reason, that “great wits have short memories:” and whereas, on the other hand, poets, being liars by profession, ought to have good memories; to reconcile these, a book of this sort, is in the nature of a supplemental memory, or a record of what occurs remarkable in every day’s reading or conversation." - Jonathan Swift, "A Letter of Advice to a Young Poet"

Sunday, August 12, 2012

More sunny Oxford days

We've been blessed with a few more glorious summer days, so I took tried to spend most of the last two days outside. And just as one of the best things about rainy days is sitting in a cozy armchair and reading a novel, one of the best things about sunny days, I think, is lying in the grass and reading a novel. So out I set, first to the bookstore:

On the way, I admired this cool wall/poster thing they set up outside the construction site of the new Bodleian library extension. It showcases very awesome stuff they have in their collection:

Then I bought a new book, whose cover alone has been catching my eye in various bookstores for months. Spoiler alert: it's quite good so far.

Then I wandered around Oxford a little, threading through clumps of tourists and wedding parties, and photographed a few little details that caught my eye as I went:

 Brain-coral columns and four types of pavement.
 A lovely door that won't let me in to a lovely college (note chain holding it almost shut).

  Puppy and lion gargoyles.

 Oh, what's that? Just a sign announcing the presence of a film crew shooting scenes for the final season of Lewis, the Oxford mystery show. I saw the actual shooting a few weeks ago, stars and all. This time just the sign. 

Finally I arrived at the park, picked a nice tree, settled down under it and opened my new book. There was a tennis tournament happening across the lawn, a smattering of tennis players in white, the comforting thunk of tennis balls meeting rackets, a white marquis tent, and an old-fashioned jazz band playing just loud enough that the strains of music wafted over to where I was sitting. All sorts of people were out and about, playing pick-up soccer, having picnics, taking naps on the grass. The sun was warm, the breeze cool. Perfect bliss. It must be said for cities (despite the bustle, or maybe because of it) that their parks can be really absolutely wonderful.

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