Ides of March, safely passed


in Daily updates, Rants, Travel

Burdock near the Isis

First Easter break expedition imminent

My train to Chichester – via Basingstoke and Cosham – leaves Oxford at 7:15am on Saturday. Despite the best intentions of shifting my sleep schedule to make the requisite 6:00am wakeup more tolerable, I have been pushed further and further towards the pattern that I can only conclude is natural for me at present. That is to say, going to sleep sometime after 2:00am and then waking up at about the same point after 10:00am. Without classes or lectures in the morning or the burning shame of the scout discovering you still asleep, there is little that is able to propel me into wakefulness before then. Even my best efforts at setting the alarm on my phone and then hiding it across the room with a can of highly caffeinated energy drink have met with no success whatsoever.

In the end, it’s not much of a problem. I will have plenty of time to sleep on the train.

I am meant to arrive in Chichester three hours before the wedding and it seems probable to me that I will be able to walk to St. Richard’s Church, wherever it may be, from the train station in a fairly small fraction of that period of time. After the wedding and the reception, I will have most of Sunday to spend exploring the area, prior to my 4:30pm train back to Oxford. Is anyone familiar with the region? If so, is there anything you would suggest having a look at? The distance to the seashore seems modest, so I may go have a look at that.

Where there’s smoke

After five months of exposure to the social lives of Oxford students, my leather jacket is now thoroughly saturated with the smell of tobacco smoke. Despite efforts to air it out – sometimes even hanging it directly in front of an open window where I induce air flow – the scent seems to have become fairly deeply ingrained. Maybe entombing it in a box with some baking soda or activated charcoal for a while would be more effective.

The psychological impact of wearing the jacket has become odd. My earliest associations with tobacco have to do with somewhat threatening, carpeted places where I wasn’t happy to be. It’s a feeling that lingers whenever the stale smell of absent but infused smoke is present. The odour is certainly not one that I enjoy, or an happy to have lingering around me. It seems to be much more easily and thoroughly integrated into things made of natural substances. My wool and leather clothing has all taken on some measure of the smell, while no article of clothing made from artificial fibers has done so to an overly great extent. It all makes me disappointed about how months still remain before the smoking ban in British pubs comes into effect.

  • I have set up a temporary fix for the Blogger images problem. For the present, I will host the images on the BlogSpot servers, using a different account. Once the bug is fixed, I will repost the images on my FTP server. [19 March: This has now been done.]
  • I got more useful mail today: information on the Malta adventure, from my mother, along with details on the next student loan installment. Once this arrives, I should have this year and about 20% of next year covered. Still waiting on word from the Chevening Scholarship, Armand Bombardier Scholarship, Canadian Centennial Scholarship, and the Oxford Overseas Research Scholarship. The next batch of applications goes out in April.
  • In terms of blogging and being on instant messengers, internet activity among my friends in Canada seems to be markedly down. Is this because nice spring weather is starting to appear?
  • Did you know that light bulbs in England don’t screw into their sockets, like their North American equivalents? Along with running at twice the voltage, they also have somewhat fearsome looking sockets with large bare electrodes spring-loaded to hold the bulb in place.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

B March 16, 2006 at 8:27 pm

Tobacco smoke is one of the most difficult smells in the world to eliminate. Partly, that is because most of the particles involved are tiny: between 0.01 and 1 micron.

Apparently, three days worth of ozone oxidation is the only thing that will reliably move the smell completely from clothing.

Such are the difficulties of dealing with the worst of all bad habits.

Milan March 16, 2006 at 8:31 pm


My own investigations have led to similar pessimism about getting rid of the smell. Even if I did, it would come back the next time I spent an hour in a pub here.

R.K. March 17, 2006 at 1:09 am

Good luck on “the Chevening Scholarship, Armand Bombardier Scholarship, Canadian Centennial Scholarship, and the Oxford Overseas Research Scholarship.”

Just listing them tires me out. :)

Milan March 17, 2006 at 1:27 am

Thanks. The Chevening and ORS are both quite big, paying the larger part of Oxford fees. The Armand Bombardier is $10,000 though I am told it almost always goes to people whose program of study involves French. The Canadian Centennial Scholarship is worth up to £2500.

Needless to say, I’d be delighted with any.

Robert Jubb March 17, 2006 at 10:31 am

Some lightbulbs are screw-fitting. The other ones are called, presumably because of the similarity of the fitting, bayonet. I’m not sure either why there are two standards for lightbulb fittings, or what advantages, if any, the two types offer.

Anonymous March 17, 2006 at 12:39 pm


One type of fitting for SLR camera lenses is also called a ‘bayonet mount.’ It contrasts with the kind of screw mounts used previously.

Ben March 17, 2006 at 4:23 pm

I was going to make the point that we have two types of light fitting. I don’t know any reason or advantage to this either… And I’ve fallen into much the same sleeping habits. It is, I think, traditional – at least for 9th week.

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