Monthly Archives: February 2017

Thomas Two Bikes

cos è un assey After four weeks now of cycle commuting with my fold-up bike, today I got out my ‘other’ bike this morning. Emma is working this weekend, and so I needed to go on the cycle food tour of Bicester to provision myself with meat from the butchers, bread from the bakers, and veg from the market stall.

lagligt köpa Viagra på nätet That’s right, I have become the kind of person to have multiple bikes. Previously I have been purely monogamous  in my bicycle ownership. From the tricycle to cheap secondhand bike of my younger childhood to my first (and supposeably only) ‘new’ bike, aged thirteen. It was metalic blue and and I loved it but within 3 years I outgrew it and so I had to a second new bike with the biggest wheels and highest saddle you can get. That saw me all the way through college and multiple moves, for  the next 20 years. Both those bikes came from the same Raleigh shop on London Road South in Lowestoft. methode gagnante option binaire Both my current bikes came from Broadribbs of Bicester. The first, with money from last Blackwell bonus, on the day that I met Emma 10 years ago (I rode it to our first date), and the second purchased last month with the work CycleScheme for the daily commute. Big and little brother make quite a pair don’t they.

Two of my most favourite things

Sunday. Emma and I took a day trip down to Hampshire today to Mottisfont so that I could enjoy two of my most favourite things. Snowdrops, and an exhibition of work by my favourite artist, Rex Whistler. For years Rex, has been in the shadow of his more famous namesake, but he finally seems to be getting the recognition that he deserves.

Rex Whistler was an artist, like many others, who’s life and career was cut short by the war. I first encountered his work whilst a teenager on a family outing to Plas Newydd on Anglesey where you can look on Rex Whistler’s largest, most-famous, and probably best mural. I studied him for an A-Level art project, and corresponded his brother to borrow some of the rarer books, and have collected a number of his books and made pilgrimages to see other pictures and murals. Whilst working on my A-Level project, my parent’s drove me down to London one Sunday to see the mural in (what is now) Tate Britain’s restaurant … only to find it closed. We managed to talk our way in though, and I managed to swipe a menu that had a detail from the mural on the cover.

Rex Whistler was a master of trompe l’œil – a visual illusion where the eye is tricked into perceiving a two-dimensial painting as a three-dimensional object. Whilst, at Plas Newydd the trompe l’œil is a pictorial scene to mirror that of the Welsh mountains opposite through the windows, at Mottisfont, his mural is the room itself. With the exception of some plain, curved coving and a few details around the bay windows, the entire room is one huge trompe l’œil of plasterwork effect. It’s a stupendous achievment.

At the moment, the National Trust have an exhibition of his other work, which included portraiture, book illustrations, posters, advertisements, cartoons, doodles on war documents, and stage designs.

It goes to say that the snowdrops in the gardens were wonderful, as was the beautiful setting by the Test river valley, with firecrest dogwoods in the winter garden.

Powerful and disturbing drama from Creation Theatre

George Orwell’s 1984 is just as relevant, possibly more relevant, today as ever it was. It was and is a disturbing book, and Creation Theatre‘s production at Oxford’s Mathematical Institute was always going to be a difficult watch.

It feels odd to say it, but it was bloody fantastic, epic and powerful. It was not an easy watch though. It was both Creation Theatre at it’s best, utilising a unique space in an inventive, effective way, and totally new – normally their shows are fun and fantastic and have you come out feeling good about yourself.

The show began with us corralled us into the bar area beneath a geometrically astounding atrium with the actors heard talking through speakers from where they could be seen on the bridges above. And then we split off in our row orders to be led into the auditorium (in itself a Big Brother-esque act of separation and control). The stage itself was the underground entrance way to the building, in which we watched the action played out in front of us and on computer monitors. The theatre crew were clearly on view working away in the background like they themselves were Big Brother or the Thought Police.

The show featured nudity, scenes of a sexual nature, and simulated torture but it was absolutely in context and very cleverly portrayed. By the end of the play we are left ourselves doubting what is truth and reality. Powerful, emotive drama, absolutely worth putting yourself through if you can get to see it before it closes on Sunday 5 March.

Valentines meals, disturbing theatre, and college friends

Valentines meals, disturbing theatre, and college friends

Friday. Eschewing my bicycle for the first time in three week’s today, Emma collected me from work this afternoon and we went into Oxford, first to wander and potter and buy too many books, and then to enjoy a belated Valentines Day meal at the Acanthus Restaurant in the Randolph Hotel with their special, cheaper, pre-theatre menu. In a relaxed dining environment we enjoyed a lovely three-course meal. Then, we went for something completely different…

We walked up the length of St Giles to the reasonably new Mathematical Institute to see Creation Theatre’s latest site-specific offering of George Orwell’s 1984. You can see my review here. To lighten the mood pre- and post- show we enjoyed bumping unexpectantly into my old college friend Julie and her eldest daughter. She hasn’t changed one bit in the twenty intervening years – has it really been that long?!? – and makes me even more determined that we should meet up again properly soon.

It’s actually scientifically impossible to have too many books.