Pastoral wandering


in Daily updates, Oxford, The outdoors

Woman beside bridge beside Port Meadow

I spent most of today exploring the area around Church Walk. The best discovery, by far, is that we are only two turns and six minutes away from the Port Meadow. Sitting beside the flooded portion of the meadow, immersed the direct afternoon sun, there was the uncanny sense of being profoundly disconnected from my whole environment. I could even see the blood vessels in my retinas: silhouetted in green against the grass and sky.

Out there in the late afternoon, with sun, breeze, and a brie baguette, it was a supremely attractive place. As the sun set, and its light grew redder, all the trees and church spires in the distance were cast with shadows and gorgeous hues. Living right beside a church spire conjures a really effective sense of place.

Seeing all this made me look forward to the summer, when I will have only financial and vague thesis commitments with which to concern myself. Our local environment seems to be the kind of place in which you need to spend a lot of time wandering alone, before you might bring some trusted individual along with you. As most of my trusted individuals are very far from here at present, it’s an arrangement that suits me well.

QT strategy

Thinking about the QT, the question now seems to be whether it is worthwhile to push for a distinction. On the basis of the revision I have already done and my practice exam, Dr. Hurrell predicts that I will score in the high sixties. The amount of effort required to push that into the low seventies is probably very high: considering only a couple of people among the 28 in the program are likely to achieve that. The benefits are mostly prestige vis a vis the faculty and fellow students. The best plan, I think, is simply to prepare to a good extent – focusing on the shortfalls that Dr. Hurrell identified – and hope for inspiration to strike on the day of the exam.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris Brooke April 14, 2006 at 8:24 pm

Port Meadow is lovely.

From time to time, incidentally, you will see me wobbling down Church Walk, trying to ride my bicycle while keeping control of to a 5kg bag of catfood. It’s probably quite an entertaining sight.

Milan April 14, 2006 at 8:34 pm


This morning, before any coffee, I was astonished to see a cat with wings outside my window.

Shortly after, I realized they were the wings of the bird it was eating. A bit gruesome, but easier than cat food.

Anonymous April 17, 2006 at 6:26 pm

Be sure that you have a strong concluding paragraph. You start
each essay with a good strong argument and then go into good, solid
discussion of your points; but two of the essays fizzle out at the end, just
when you should be drawing your points together for a climactic conclusion.
One of your essays does have a conclusion (the third-on realism); but the
other two end abruptly. The beginnings and the endings of timed essays are
absolutely crucial-not just for the obvious reasons related to argument,
structure, etc. but also because the examiners have a lot of essays to read,
and they need to come away with a strong impression of what you have said.
The best way to put forth that impression is to tie the essay together in a
strong package of beginning and ending.

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