Back on the river at last

Finally made it back on to the river, yesterday. It's nice to be back on the fresh, breezy, flowing stream after the narrow, slightly stagnant, safe old canal. Though actually the Isis opposite Christ Church Meadow feels alarming wide and windswept – this horrible east wind is persisting, and bounced the boat around a lot last night, which was a bit of a contrast to the static water I've been on lately; also I'd forgotten that on Sunday mornings the rowers do this really annoying thing of rushing up and down the river in a group at top speed, which throws the boat around violently – I suppose they're practising race conditions. If only they didn't start about 7 am! But on the whole I am glad to be back, and look forward to resuming my river routine and re-visiting my favourite rural mooring places up and down river.

I've been back doing quite a lot of time working at Christ Church. I find it limits my opportunity for creative work, but I do need the money, and it's nice of them to give me work at the drop of a hat on my return like this. I'm practising to start doing tour guiding there soon, which should certainly be more interesting than spending hours sitting on various gates, etc. They've even given me my own personalised badge – though they still haven't managed to spell my name right. People do seem to find 'Laurence' rather a difficult one. The Oxford Literary Festival is coming up next weekend, which should be fun in a rather busy sort of way. There are many 'names' attending, though I wouldn't say that many of them are likely to be so very interesting – maybe Brian Aldiss, Richard Dawkins, Francis Fukayama?

I haven't really had any experiences or thoughts to speak of about music in the last week or so to write about; only a chance broadcast of Vaughan Williams' glorious Oboe Concerto in the midst of Sean Rafferty's empty twitterings on Radio 3 one day. It created a sort of beautiful hiatus for 20 minutes or so in my day – what an absolutely ravishing and deeply nostalgic piece that is. And if RVW was feeling nostalgic for some lost English pastoral vision in the 1950's, heaven knows what he would feel now! But the mere existence of such music is a kind of consolation.

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