Yes, those early morning shots are one of the up sides of across-the-world jet lag. A stop-over in Dubai seems to ease the effects of jet lag for me. A cheap hotel by the airport made for an adventurous couple of days.
In fact I should have planned my cash needs better for arrival in England! During the weekend of my arrival I had to stoke up on my B and B breakfast in the dining hall at University College
and then survive on airline snacks, and wild blackberries from the canal towpath
until my sister-in-law loaned me money enough for dinner. Once I could get to a bank on Monday morning I was back in the modern, touch button, digital world.
Touch button? The middle of this year was when - in time for my overseas trip - I upgraded to a smartphone. Most of these photos including this one of The High on my first evening in Oxford, were taken on my touch screen Samsung Galaxy Note 5.
One of the deep pleasures of being a visitor back in Oxford is that
I can indulge my senses and find intellectual stimulation at every turn without the distractions of household responsibility. The awful photo below reminds me of the Bodleian Treasures: 24 Pairs exhibition. I was carrying 'Frankenstein' in my bag (and had been reading it for quite a few months) when I came across a page from Mary Shelley's handwritten manuscript of the work.
Although I couldn't capture detail it describes the moment when the monster first opens an eye... Mary's husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley annotated Mary's text in darker ink, which is just visible. Without the published book in my bag this would have been just one of many remarkable exhibits but the serendipity of my own pairing made it my favourite item in this exhibition.
So many breathtaking experiences including the harpsichord concert I attended in Exeter College Chapel. From the stained glass windows illuminated by the setting sun to the gilded iconography and the harpsichord itself this was a sublime experience. Kha Ming Ng playing a programme of caprices and fantasias added his own impromptu introduction to one piece: when the college bell struck 9 o'clock just as he began to play a new piece, he allowed the bell space, using it to count himself in - superbly appropriate improvisation.
But I had a loose end to tidy up while I was in England and when I arrived in the country, three years after the event, these draft badges were waiting for me to select a final design
With help from graphic designer, Wayne Batistic, and the craft of George Butterworth, badge maker, I finally got these out of my head and onto people's baldrics. Once I'd chosen one from the four offered, George mass-produced my order alongside the badges for this year's Saddleworth Rushcart event.
Before I joined other New Zealand Morris dancers for the latest English tour, I had more visiting and travelling to do. I even dabbled in a little creative writing. Another exhibition at the Bodleian - Shakespeare's Dead - gave the public an opportunity to write a sonnet. I didn't quite get it right, but inspired by the exhibition's theme of death and memorial, and also the difficulty I had seeing the artefacts in the dim light, I did produce my own memorial piece.