This blue marble

– and yet it spins


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The end of me

booksEnglish bookstores will be the end of me. I think it runs in the family. Once my sister and I spent a week in London and lugged home 10 kilos of books. Another time she spent 3 hours in Heffers in Cambridge. I was not bored, either.

This time we spent a week in Oxford and London and I managed to come home with only 5 books (yes, one missing from the photo). But where else can one find an entire book about nightly walks of artists and literary figures in historical, sometimes dangerous nocturnal London? Or a book on quantum mechanics in biology? Or books and books about trees, the ocean, and naturalism?

Help. I may need help. If not for any other purpose, then to expand the entire wall of books I have at home. Just as soon as I’ve finished this book I am reading.

(Helsinki, Finland; January 2017)


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Somewhere between poetry and insanity

wigmore

“Occupation is essential. And now with some pleasure I find that it’s seven; and I must cook dinner. Haddock and sausage meat. I think it is true that one gains a certain hold on sausage and haddock by writing them down”

(Virginia Woolf’s last diary entry before her suicide)

Somewhere between poetry and insanity tonight. Alice Coote sang Virginia Woolf’s diary entries, and letters from 19th century patients locked up at a mental illness asylum. “Strange Productions” was the aptly named title of the insanely poetic letters, commissioned by Wigmore Hall from Nico Muhly.

Wigmore Hall is a constant favorite. Not because of the (also insanely) beautiful venue, but because of the director and his creative team who commission modern classical pieces with a flair. Never bored here, although sometimes mindlessly enthralled.

(London, United Kingdom; January 2017)


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Old English pubs

eaglechildBusiness lunch at Eagle and Child with a quantum physicist, discussing medical sciences. Dinner at the Bear Inn, a pub from 1242, among 4,500 club ties (including one tiny panel in the ceiling for women’s ties). Instead of rowdy drunk people, there were ladies dining and students playing chess with glass pieces.

Only in Oxford. oldpub(Oxford, United Kingdom; January 2017)


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Detour in the Other Place

oxford-5

“I wonder anybody does anything at Oxford but dream and remember, the place is so beautiful. One almost expects the people to sing instead of speaking. It is all—the colleges I mean—like an opera.”

(William Butler Yeats)

One freezing January week I made a detour to The Other Place, as those who went to Cambridge call Oxford (and vice versa). Fortunately I was able to break the news over Facebook, otherwise some of my Cantabrigian classmates would have probably made multiple attempts at lynching me.oxford-3But during that week there was no time to dream and remember. There were studies, 8 hours a day, with smart people from all around the world. There were too many age-old pubs. There was afternoon tea with champagne. There were colleges to discover.oxford-2And there was even a futile attempt at fencing. Apparently, women wear a madonna bustier – hence the busty look. Another mystery solved. It also turns out well-mannered fencing men have serious trouble fighting a woman – not because of chivalry but because they must shamelessly attack the bustier.

(No photographic evidence but trust me, I did wear the sour-smelling sweaty old gear including mask).oxford-1(Oxford, United Kingdom; January 2017)