Dramatis persona*

helenhead Helen Chick

I've always wanted a bumper sticker that said "I'm a female, LDS/Mormon, Scout leading, geocaching, piano-playing, bicycling, mathematics educator with a PhD in maths ... and I VOTE"!

I think this makes me a minority group of cardinality 1!

* Since there's only one of me and "personae" is plural (I think), I've gone with dramatis persona.
August 2020
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Wet meadow


BerriesSaturday 28 Nov

I knew today was going to be an odds-and-endsy day, but I wanted to get out and see how wet things have been getting on Port Meadow, plus there was a cache in that general direction that I have been wanting to find for a while (a big country-side cache, as opposed to a tiny urban one).

The Thames has shaken off its early autumn lethargy, and is now running at a fair pace. The path that follows its banks is still clear, but the river is lapping quite close to the edge. Down at Osney Mill lock the water is pouring over the weirs, and you’d want to be really sure of your skills if you were on the river in a canal boat.

I cycled north up the path beyond Binsey, dodging puddles and occasionally heading through them when it was too hard to go around. The wide photo above hints at how the area has changed in recent weeks: the Thames is in the foreground but virtually all of the water you can see has only appeared in recent days, inundating the vast field of Port Meadow. I don’t know how big the lake is going to get, but I assume someone knows how to get the horses and cows out (the ducks and geese presumably are taking responsibility for their own exit plans).

I managed to find the cache without getting my feet too wet and dropped off a travel bug that I brought back to England after picking it up in Australia earlier this year.

I’ve been surprised by the number of different species of berry trees around the place, and they’re bearing plenty of fruit at the moment. I was told this portends a cold winter … but I won’t be around long enough to test this. However, I have now been around long enough to be regarded as a local, by some folks at least, although the fact that I was pushing my bike at the time may have helped: I was approached by some visitors in Cornmarket St seeking directions to Catte St … and I could tell them.* They had made unsuccessful requests of other people, but apparently kept getting French tourists. The centre of Oxford was just jammed at lunchtime—Christmas crowds and French tourists I guess—and after helping these lost souls I abandoned any thoughts of attempting the couple of errands I had in mind, and just headed home.

In the afternoon there was a three-hour Messiah rehearsal. By the end I was so warmed up that I’d lost two or three notes of my tenor register and could probably have made a reasonable fist of singing soprano. Perhaps not. Actually, definitely not.

* Okay, I had my now-very-dilapidated map in my pocket and I confess to using it. Sometimes genius is just being prepared. (I knew the street, in fact … just not its name!).

OxfordSkylineAcrossPortMeadow ThamesPathNearTroutTrek

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