Thursday, June 29, 2006

Leaving the Blogosphere

Fear not, I'll be back. If you got the picture message you'll know that I'll just be without net access for a while. See you soon...

Defined by user

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

More snazzy features

Why, might you justifiably ask, did I post, without explanation, a photograph of some bananas?

Well, here is the explanation. It might only look like some bananas (and an apple) in a fruitbowl but it represents far more than that. It is, in fact, a milestone in JP's blogging history. I have found a way of publishing photographs from my phone, which means that I can bring you full colour (if a little grainy) footage of events as they happen. The inability to adapt the subject line might irritate me, but 'You have received a new message' isn't without its charm or sense of excitement.

You have received a new message


You have received a new message
Originally uploaded by JP1984.

Message text

On Finishing Finals (2)


Finishing Finals
Originally uploaded by JP1984.

I rather like this picture lark.

You can almost smell the sweet champagne which was sprayed all over my sub-fusc as I came out of Schools.

Tea at The Vicarage

Living in a Vicarage, as I have been doing for the last couple of days, is an interesting experience.

The phone never stops ringing for a start, and neither does the doorbell. There seems to be much activity in the parish and it's hard to look out of the window and not see someone I know. Quite often the parishoners wish to make use of the garden for one function or another and I have found that there is a certain amount of expectation that because I am around I will help out. I don't usually mind helping out, of course, but the rather liberal use of our garden means that I will never sunbathe nude for fear of who might come through the gate next. Apologies for the palpable disappointment that that will cause some of you.

Earlier in the week we had a group of people from our old church come and visit us for tea. It was a wonderful afternoon but in it's own way quite surreal. I don't know about you but normally when I've had people over for tea they've never arrived by coach, let alone one as big as the one which brought this group. I've posted a photo below because a) I can and b) it brings a new sense of scale to the idea of "having a few visitors".




Bus from St Nic's Visit
Originally uploaded by JP1984.

Who said Jesus was irrelevant?

At long last I have had time to make a few improvements to this Corner of the Blogosphere.

Firstly, my 'Other Parts of The Blogosphere' section has finally returned. Do check it out, and if I've left you out, I'm sorry. Just let me know and I'll rectify it.

I know that most of you come for the words, but I am pleased to announce that pictures will now also feature. If that doesn't entice you to keep coming back, then I don't know what will.

I thought I would begin my (delayed) foray in to the world of image posting with a photograph of one of the stained glass windows in my church. It was pointed out to me that Jesus appears to be waving an England flag, and I found this somewhat amusing. I'm sure that there is a reasonable theological explanation but I hope that you too share the humour. If nothing else it's good to show a bit of patriotism at this current time, and stained glass windows are much more my thing than flags on the roof of my Ford Mondeo.

With some of Portugal's players out of action, Saturday could be quite exciting...





Stained Glass Window
Originally uploaded by JP1984.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Scoop!

I know I said that I'd post my thoughts on leaving Oxford, but let us digress for a while.

On Monday a group of us spent a very pleasant morning wandering through the amazing grounds of Blenheim Palace and enjoyed a light pub lunch at The Star in Woodstock. The Star had a nice ambience and there was a selection of newspapers to read as we sat in the garden and waited for our food.

I ended up with a copy of the Daily Express, and subsequently discovered a new low in the heights of journalism. To be fair it did contain some interesting articles, and I liked some of the comment - however in a flurry of disbelief I had to re-read one article.

It wasn't sordid, scandalous or sensational, but just the most pointless bit of journalism I've come across. The whole article was dedicated to the fact that Catherine Zeta-Jones had been seen coming out of a supermarket, 'with a trolley full of groceries'. Can you believe it? Personally I only ever browse in a supermarket and it would never cross my mind to leave with a trolley full of groceries. How will the world cope when celebrity spotters follow in Ms Zeta-Jones' footsteps?

Even for the celebrity spotters this part of the Blogosphere can offer more than the Daily Express. Unconvinced? Well, yesterday I was walking down The High in Oxford and passed Emma Watson (none other than Hermione Granger) having a tantrum outside a posh shoe shop. You heard it here first, folks.

On Finishing Finals

On Saturday morning I had my last exam, and to have finished is an amazing feeling.

I don't know how the end of exams is particularly marked at other Universities, but there can't be a better place to finish finals than Oxford. With the de rigeur red carnation attached to my lapel, (and my mortar board in hand), I strolled out on to Merton Street whereupon I was greeted by friends bearing gifts (including a balloon and a pig-tails hairband) who showered me with glitter and champagne. Despite being tired (the exam was 3h 45min) I was very happy and wandered on down the street in a spaced-out (but non drug-induced) euphoric daze.

I have some wonderful friends who organised my afternoon, which began with a mellow and very enjoyable picnic in the Frewin Gardens (thanks must go to all who provided food and drink). After changing out of my sub-fusc in to something more suitable (the glitter was itchy) we then proceeded to the Cherwell boathouse for an afternoon of punting. Still sporting my pigtails and flowery garlands I met one of my tutors, which was quite funny. The punting itself was great - we headed down through the Parks, over the rollers and on in to Magdalen's extensive grounds. Some of my friends had been scheming since the term began and finally succeeded in pushing me in. The river water didn't poison me, and once wet I lost all fear. Thus much malarky followed; I wrestled with and succeeded in dunking my (college) wife and there was some piracy on the High River.

The day went on late, ending with pizza (mmm Zizzi's) and wine in the Frewin Gardens, accommpanied by some fireworks in the neigbouring Oxford Union. How kind of them to celebrate my finishing of finals.

As it may be gathered from the fact that it has taken me six days to get around to posting this, the week following has been very busy. Last night I handed in my college keys for the final time, which was surreal. Various posts from the last week, and on 'leaving Oxford' will follow in due course so do come back to my corner of the Blogosphere again soon.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Only In Oxford TT06 Part 3

As I strolled back from Schools after my exam this morning, sporting my sub-fusc and pink carnation and generally feeling quite bouyant I reflected on the appealing absurdity of the dress code for exams in Oxford.

Sub-fusc is the academic dress which must be worn - and strictly adhered to - for exams. I've already rambled about it once in this post.

Personally I quite like having a dress code, and poncing around in sub-fusc. If nothing else having issues pinning a carnation in to one's lapel is a good distraction from thoughts about an impending exam. The most absurd thing (which makes it all the more endearing) is the mortar board. I'm not allowed to wear it, because I have not yet taken my degree, but yet it is a requirement that I take it in to exams. There is something appealing about carrying a mortar board just to put it on the table and carry it out again afterwards.

Next week I am thinking of going to a music recital by a graduate student. I'm sure that the music itself will be wonderful but my main motivation for going is that it is an examination performance and hence all attending must be wear full sub-fusc. What greater reason do I need?

Relevant Quotiation of the Week comes from the "intrinsically funny" Miss Mugford.

"Turning up at the Exam Schools is like going to a party where no-one speaks to one another and everyone is wearing the same".

Yes.

Sticking my head above the water...

It's been a crazy few days. Two exams down, one to go on Saturday. I was disappointed with Monday's exam (but why worry now?) though today's seemed to go OK.

I've spent most of my time cramming/feeling nervous/feeling in a post-exam state of tiredness. I'm very grateful to all of you who have looked after me so well, particularly when I've been suffering pre-exam nerves.

Today has been fun. After my exam I had lunch with some friends who were punting in Oxford and later on enjoyed a hot chocolate with a friend in Blackwell's coffee shop (mmmmm - what an institution).

My penultimate formal dinner as an undergraduate at Brasenose was tonight. The food was nothing special, but the banter was awesome.

One thing I have learnt this week is that girls talk about breasts a lot. Or so it seems.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Smoothly does it

Earlier I had the pleasure of finding a note in my pidge (always good) which resulted in my collecting a brown envelope from the porter. Said envelope contained a jar of peanut butter-smooth-and a note with the text "be mine xxx". Pleasing. Evidently the jury is still out as to whether or not peanut butter can be used as a romantic gesture.

I am now on a train (where else?) heading home for a couple of days to enjoy some pre-finals home comforts. I will be spending most of the time in the library opposite my house (I start in a week...) but a change of scene will be nice and I'll hopefully return rested.

The kind comments and the debate on recent posts has been great-keep it coming! I am aware that I have unanswered questions and a conspicuously absent 'Links' section and these will be sorted in due course. If impending finals isn't an excuse for being slow I don't know what is...

(it might also explain why the most exciting posts recently have stemmed from the BBC News Page).

Defined by user

Friday, June 02, 2006

I never thought I'd say this...

...but John Prescott has a point:

'However, he now believes the security of the residence has gone, stating: "It means that if I walk around that open lawn listening to music on my iPod I'll be thinking about the cameras.

"I will forever then believe there will be another photograph in the Daily Mail or another paper saying 'here's Prescott lording it again'.

"It would never be relaxing again."'

It might well be that he has abused the perks of the job - especially when he had more important issues to deal with - and I still don't buy the idea that he is anything like an 'excellent' deputy PM but I do feel that sometimes the media are a bit intrusive.

I'm going to continue my revision, but if you came to talk about sex then the debate on the post below is for you.