Saturday, September 02, 2006

Day in Oxford

Lord H and I had a day in Oxford today - just to treat ourselves. The city of dreaming spires lived up to its name - or maybe that should be dreaming towers? A couple of the colleges were open so we could have a nose around quadrangles and stuff. It's certainly another world away from the hustle and bustle of normal city life. We ended up doing our own walking tour, and feel we've only really skated the surface. There's a lot to unpack, and we'll definitely be making a return visit or two. The highlight of the day was the touring choir singing and giving us a history of the songs they chose in the University Church of St Mary the Virgin. Glorious and completely unexpected - we stayed for a while.

Have just finished Patrick Gale's "The Facts of Life". Goodness me, but it's a novel of two halves. The first half has real people in it, whom I really cared about. But the second half was crass and completely unbelievable. Oh no, not someone dying of AIDS again - per-lease. Surely in the 90s (when the book was published), this was still old-fashioned. It felt as if Gale was just using characters as ciphers to showcase his beliefs and they were as shallow as shit (is that a phrase? Hell, I think it should be) - and, honestly, his understanding of family dynamics in terms of siblings and sex is once again non-existent. I think he should (a) simply have stuck to the first part of the novel, which would have stood perfectly well on its own, and (b) not write about brother/sister stuff again - you just can't cut it, matey! Trust me on this one!

Today's three nice things:

1. Oxford colleges
2. The unexpected choir
3. Putting down the disappointing Gale.

Anne Brooke

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