Oxford spring

2006-05-08

in Daily updates, Oxford, The outdoors

House in northern Oxford

Living in leafy northern Oxford as everything is coming to life again is quite lovely. Taking a break from working on my paper, I went for a bit of a walk this evening and discovered a whole district of intriguing houses to the northeast of Church Walk: the sort with unusual architecture, big gardens, and streets that are not subject to the indignity of traffic. There were even the semi-circular sweeping rows of connected houses that seemed to be so common in Bath, but which I had not yet seen here. The next time I am ambling with someone, I will try to find the place again.

The best place to experience Oxford in the winter, I think, is the Christ Church Meadow. Walking along the Isis in the chilly wind, looking up at denuded trees which readily reveal the mistletoe colonies inside, there is a sense of pristine desolation. The waterfowl, then, seem like sympathetic fellow victims of the cold and gloom. It isn’t clear to me yet where the embodiment of spring in Oxford will reside, but it may well be in some leafy suburban street, amongst the twittering of birds in the evening.

Tomorrow, I have most of my week’s mandatory activities compressed together over a period of about twelve hours: the core seminar, the Changing Character of War seminar, the research design seminar, the strategic studies dinner, the strategic studies meeting, and the obligatory brief strategic studies foray to The Turf. During that time, perhaps I will meet someone interesting again this week.

Possibly as the result of trying to work on an essay for most of the day (with welcome conversations with Kai and Emily as asides), my brain is feeling a bit like a slightly crushed paper cup: as though it has had too much caffeine or too little, or is trying hard to suppress a relatively mild illness. It doesn’t make me keen on the process of finalizing and editing my Cold War paper tonight, but that’s my own fault for not getting it done earlier. Oxford has definitely been worsening my study skills; work I would have once done well in advance and had checked gets finished at the last minute instead. When the workload is just a series of hurdles and none of your work actually gets graded, the incentives tend towards encouraging such an approach.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous Oxonian May 8, 2006 at 9:27 pm

I think the nicest place in Oxford during the springtime is either in the quad of one of the nice intimate colleges or out punting

Milan May 8, 2006 at 11:45 pm

I’ve done a bit of the Pimms and croquet, in the St. Cross and New College quads. Punting is an adventure for coming afternoons.

Another Oxonian May 9, 2006 at 12:57 am

The Magdalen Deer Park is another summery place

Course, the porters at the nice old colleges are more like bouncers… even if you are an Oxford student!

Jessica May 9, 2006 at 5:57 am

I really like the photo accompanying today’s post.

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