This morning, my mother and I had some superb omelettes at the Vault and Gardens before going for a walk around the botanical gardens beside Magdalen. I particularly like the greenhouses, including the one that includes a whole collection of edible plants. It’s interesting to see how many of their products – peanuts, papayas, coffee – we can be familiar with, without having any sense of what the plant itself resembles. Oxford students who haven’t visited the botanical gardens should definitely do so. It’s free and, in a few weeks time, they will really begin to blossom with spring. As they are now, the gardens are balanced between decay and emerging growth, with different species at different stages.
Introducing my mother to Emily was good fun and personally rewarding. I appreciate having the chance to actually introduce family members to new friends, with whom they have only been acquainted thus far through letters and blog posts. Like Claire, I had the sense that Emily and my mother would get along particularly well; that apprehension seems to have been borne out with experience. Hopefully, my mother will have the chance to meet a few more people – perhaps Alex, Margaret, Bryony, and Dr. Hurrell – when she returns to Oxford on the 2nd and 3rd of April.
The concert in Exeter was quite beautiful. It was a selection of Vivaldi performed by candlelight inside the archaic and majestic looking Exeter chapel. The concert was put on by a group called Charivari Agreable, and included some wonderful countertenor singing by Stephen Taylor. While the harpsichord is not my favourite instrument, I really loved the two violins – especially when they were playfully engaging each other.
Packing has now concluded, hopefully in a manner that does not exclude anything vital. Of course, it’s only for a week and there is every opportunity to buy neglected necessities in Malta. We are off to Gatwick, by coach, extremely early tomorrow morning. I may be able to post something while I am there. If not, I will return on the first of April.
I must say that, when it comes to inconvenience, the Wadham maintenance people are absolute masters. If the showers need to be turned off at some point in the day, it will be in the hour before classes. If there is to be a cut in power, it will happen while your soapy clothes are inside the washing machine – after you figured out you way into the laundry room through the bike shed, because they are doing asbestos removal in the basement. I suppose I will just dry them out as best I can and wash them again in Malta, as there’s no guarantee the washers will work later on in Wadham.
PS. Remember when I thought I saw dead wolves at the Covered Market? Well, someone else saw the same thing, and they painted it. While they may not, in fact, be wolves, they are still a chilling thing to run into when you’re looking for flavoured tofu. That is attested to by the fact that someone took the time to paint them. The painting is on display, and on sale, at the Vault and Gardens.