Tuesday 13 March 2012: A Day At Oxford
Ceridwen & I spent our last full day of my visit together in Oxford, where we were joined by both her brilliant sons. It was a day filled with things I'll remember forever, like searching the Ashmolean Museum for images of cats (we located five), and having braised duck toungues in the My Sichuan restaurant that's in a late Victorian-era grade school building, with the alpahabet in the leaded glass of a rotunda window (only in Oxford, right?).
The grande finale of the evening was a performance of Shakespeare's Hamlet by Creation Theatre at Blackwell's Book Store. I snuck only a few pictures before I was reprimanded, but I chose this one of the leading actress, whose name I did not catch, in the role of Hamlet. We had standing-room places where the glare of the lights was a bit over-strong, but the production with its innovations was just grand. I had seen the play several times already and I know it well, so this extremely informal approach was perfect, rather than a distraction, as it probably would be for a first-timer. Especially great was the involvement of audience members and props that they had brought along.
In the morning we visited an ancient acquaintance of Ceridwen's who lives in a 12th Century leprosy hospital. I told some of my leper stories and we had a good time. But before we left, our somewhat wealthy hostess asked, "What do you do...?" and my answer had me thinking about it afterward. I briefly stated that I've been up to various things and that I paint houses now, so it was no big deal.
It occurs to me, though, that if I had said simply, "I'm unemployed," it would bring on awkward, but essentially absurd baggage. Or, if I had said, "I'm independently wealthy," it would be just as absurd --especially if it were true. I just might use that line in future when asked the question that's supposed to be embarassing.
Oxford is easy to love.