Only in somewhere fairly far north can you decide to take a short nap at three in the afternoon, only to awake panicked will full dark outside and much work left to be done, only to be relieved at the sight that it is actually only four. Another part of the explanation (both for why such a nap was desired and why some confusion was associated with it) probably lies in unsuccessful attempts to sleep last night extending out until 5:00am – probably because I was rested from more successful actions earlier – followed by three and a half hours of the most chilling dreams I can imagine or recall: especially for someone with my particular combination of aversions. I shudder to think of them.
Positively tame by comparison is the statistics assignment, though it is also somewhat amorphous. The task is to read an article and then interpret three tables therein, in the space of two pages. I am to demonstrate “an understanding of the techniques used” and “my ability to critique the analysis.” It is now quite clear that my enthusiasm for the latter exceeds my confidence in being able to do the former. Still, I press on.
Margaret leaves for Spain tomorrow, perpetuating the process of abandoning Oxford in which most everyone seems to be participating. It may be a gravitational phenomenon. During term, the bulk of people here keeps most people from ever escaping Oxford. If they get away, it is only to London, and briefly. (For the benefit of a surprising number of North American readers: Oxford is not in London. It is a town of about 150,000, located some 75km from London.) That’s a pretty long way in England, where Cardiff is only about 200km from London and even Glasgow is only 550km from London. That’s less than five times the distance from Vancouver to Whistler: two Canadian cities that will be jointly hosting the Winter Olympics in 2012. Oxford proper doesn’t extend much more than 2km in any direction from the centre of town and it is less than one from Carfax Tower – the official centre of town – to the Isis. Farther south, the Isis is called the Thames. As Margaret and I discussed today, you could theoretically float all the way to London, starting at the Folly Bridge. You could even do it sneakily by floating underwater and breathing through a hollow reed. Anyone considering that should invest in a wetsuit.
Prior to my escape on Thursday, there is a great deal to be done. Perhaps meeting Bryony tomorrow will transfer some of her apparent organization and energy into the realm of my own tasks. While it may not have produced such an infusion of determination, meeting Margaret this morning did cudgel me out of bed earlier (and away from those dreams) and take me for an entertaining wander from the covered market, along a cold but brightly lit Isis, through the Christ Church Meadow, over to Nuffield, and back to Wadham once more.
Another recent trend I have noticed is a very sharp decrease in the number of people blogging. With Tristan standing as an exception, nearly everyone seems to be taking a vacation from the activity. Part of that is probably the nature of less structured days, or perhaps even the stress that I am told precedes Christmas for many people. Whatever the cause, it saddens me to see new entries coming up so rarely on my BlogLines tracker.
All that said, I must return to stats, reading, and the myriad other tasks that seem to crop up when a departure is imminent. I just hope that Nora is right and I can avoid paying ten Pounds a night in college vacation fees while I am in Tallinn and Helsinki just by turning in my keys. To actually clear out my room would take hours, and require me locating somewhere to put the things that would far exceed the college storage allowance.
Today’s diverting fact:
- In the 10th century Oxford became an important military frontier town between the kingdoms of Mercia and Wessex and was on several occasions raided by Danes. Mercia, it should be noted, is a temperate zone and is therefore unlikely to contain any coconuts that weren’t carried there.
- I leave for Tallinn in five days. Excitement!