Tuesday, 4 May 2021

Potatoes, Snooker and the Radcliffe Camera

A few of my early potatoes have broken through the parched earth of my vegetable garden. The variety is Rocket for those interested in such things. And for those interested in snooker it is relevant just now because Ronnie O’Sullivan, also known as the Rocket, was knocked out the World Championship at an early stage this year. Ar, there be a lot goin’ on beneath the surface you know. Lovely to see these green sprouts coming up and we don’t have to be too sorry for Ronnie, it seems that he has amassed more than £2m in prize money by wielding his stick at The Crucible. OK, I know snooker’s a minority interest, but, oddly enough, it’s the only sport that interests me. Also, this final has a special Covid significance. It is the first event in front of a full audience after the current lockdown

The pubs are open again, at least some of them and al fresco only. I’ve had great difficulty making a booking here in Stow, but succeeded on one Saturday night to get a table at the Horse and Groom in the village of Oddington. We walked there of course and were a little bit late in arriving. Gosh, it was busy: the servers were running up and down the hilly garden laden with food and drinks. My first pint was ... nectar. Butty Bach from a favourite brewery (Wye Valley). In perfect condition and it was delicious. Food was OK, but a definite side-show for me. After my three pints we began a long moonlit stroll through the fields towards Broadwell, then Stow. I love walking at night on a belly full of beer. Everything: the sky, the trees, the remote Cotswold houses, looks so different – ghostly, colourless, stark.


The videos keep coming. My latest effort is a series on the top iconic buildings of Oxford University. I’ve just released the first one based on that prominent edifice – the Radcliffe Camera – it’s probably the most well known of the many University buildings and is, nowadays, part of the Bodleian Library. I’ve learned now to keep the videos short if possible, this one’s about five minutes and it has a musical backing. As ever it is top and tailed by the resounding strains of the piece that my good friend and great musician Pete Madams composed for my very first Rob’s Oxford video: Tolkien’s Oxford. Thank you Pete, you can hear more of his music with Edwin and the Keepers here. The background music is provided by the excellent Beatrix Forbes and taken from her album Oxford and Beyond. It’s called Full Moon over South Park and is a perfect musical fit for the Radcliffe Camera video: in duration and mood. Thank you Bea - you can hear more of her many and varied compositions here.

There will be more in this iconic series. Both the important Sheldonian Theatre and the scary Examination Schools are near completion.

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