Monday, 14 August 2017

I think the Google Wizard is getting smarter...

It created a Panorama from the snaps I took from the top of the Sheldonian Theatre on Saturday. 

As is the way of August the streets of Oxford were absolutely heaving with tourists - whole coach loads of people crowded into what is really quite a small city, until pavements were overrun and I had to step off into the road get past - but many of the museums surprisingly quiet. I assume they're all there for tours of the colleges.

The Raphael exhibition at the Ashmolean was one of the busier things. You get up close to properly inspect the drawings, and that's a clear invitation to linger. They really are beautiful, and you can see how he was thinking with the pencil in his hand, shaping the limbs, making adjustments, cross-hatching to suggest shade.

The Jane Austen exhibition at the Weston library was also well worth seeing - much quieter than the Raphael, and smaller, but completely free, so you could drift about in a pleasantly idle way and try to read her writing.

Those were the specific things I went to Oxford for, but the bookshops and a wander down the river were also (as always) a draw.

I returned with:

Ghosts of London by H V Morton.
I've read Morton's other London books - the ones written earlier and the one written after, but this was first published, and in part written, shortly after war was declared in 1939, and although H V insists that 'Wars come to an end, but London will go on' there is still an underlying feeling that he is hurriedly chronicling old customs before the chance is lost forever. There are real ghosts here.

The Hound of Death by Agatha Christie, which is a collection of short stories with a slightly more occult and creepy slant than you find in her book length stories.

The Suspicions of Mr Whicher by Kate Summerscale, which I recently saw mentioned in P D James' book about crime writing, but haven't yet read.

The Affluent Society by John Kenneth Galbraith, which is one of those interesting looking Pelicans.

And I've done lots of London stuff, including wet walks along the Embankment and Summer Lates at St Paul's, but those can wait for another post.  

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