annanotbob2's Diaryland Diary


Scribblings from my day in Oxford

Fucking hell, I've been walking for hours, round and round in the rain, looking for somewhere to sit and draw. What is it with these historic places that they have so few benches? Yes, Florence, I'm talking about you. Still, I'm in a pub now, with a half of bitter shandy and my notebook and pen. Proper old school. There's a blackboard opposite which says "Our food is lovingly served 12-9.30pm" Lovingly? Fuck off.

So. Oxford is very beautiful. The centre, at any rate. Soft, creamy Cotswold Stone buildings, dead fancy:

loads of spires

and apparently this is the Bridge of Sighs, which I thought was in Venice:

It also has a killer one-way system, narrow streets, fuck-all parking and thousands of posh young twats on bikes - our future leaders, so they obviously have right of way on all occasions.

GS went off quite happily, with a hop and a skip, more excited when he saw the other kids were also quite chavvy-looking. He'd noticed that most people on the street looked 'smart', though having plodded round for hours I can verify that it's not all posh.

Once I'd managed to park the car, which I WILL find again [I did], I fell into the nearest caff, hoping to chill out and gather my wits, but there was this awful, braying tosspot, mouthing off at the top of his upper class voice about the semantics of job ads. Horrid, it was, so loud and arrogant, so full of entitlement to occupy the whole space - he was about five tables away from me but I had no choice about hearing every single word. I did smirk to myself when he pronounced menial to rhyme with denial (something about the more menial the job, the more obfuscating the lexicon employed in its description) as if the very word was so far out of his experience he didn't even know how to speak it aloud.

It brought out my "up against the wall, motherfuckers" spirit, but also made me want to go and grab GS at once, my blessed little mobile-home dweller, and get him out before any cunt DARED make him feel he was worth less then them. I may have over-reacted, but honestly, what a knob.

OK. Off into the rain to see if I can find the Ashmolean or Bodleian and sit down somewhere lovely. (Libraries? Museums? Why do I never check this shit out before I leave home?)

Later. The Ashmolean is a museum, mind-bendingly full of serious shite. They let you take photos, but most of them came out fuzzy. I'd wanted to draw, but was FAR too intimidated to even attempt it. I spent quite a while in a room full of this kind of thing, which I just love:

then went upstairs to the paintings. What joy to be alone in an art gallery - to stand in front of a Pissaro, up close, then stepping back, to try and get a good grasp of how he laid the brush-strokes down, for as long as I liked, with no concern for anyone else's taste. They have a lot of Pissaro's, and one painting of a great many other of my favourite artists. Turner's Oxford:

and I saw my first 'live' Howard Hodgkin:

He painted over the frame! Why did this make me so happy?

GS had a great time - he gave a presentation, in defence of a notional criminal, and the woman in charge told me he had been fabulous and her face lit up as she told me, so I believed her which was pretty cool.

The drive back was ABOMINABLE though. I barely got out of second gear for about five miles after leaving the motorway. Crawling along in the rain, in the dark, nose to tail, for hours.

That's all for now. I didn't visit my mother's grave.

9:57 p.m. - 31.10.12


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