April 5th, 2009

Vanitas desk

Bodleian Tunnels

Thanks to the organizational and connective powers of the regional Smith Club, C. and I headed off to Oxford yesterday for a bit of library tourism. The head of Oxford's libraries is a graduate, so we started in Convocation Hall, with its lovely fan vaulting, with her life history and current goals for the system; it was fascinating. Then we were off, sub-divided into four smaller groups, for a tour of the library complex, beginning with the Divinity School's multifaceted developments (Roundheads, Christopher Wren, Harry Potter) and continuing upstairs in Duke Humphrey's Library (chained books, window light, lovely sense of space, good incentive to go work on manuscripts there sometime). We walked over to see the layers of the Radcliffe Camera (all much smaller than I'd imagined it), including the space below which used to be a covered town market.

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Afterward, we went off for lunch at St. Edmund's Hall, and then austengirl, C. and I meandered along the Isis's branch which runs along Christchurch Meadow. We also explored the covered market. How have I never been there before? Timing worked out such that C. and I also stopped by Borders to catch the Write Fantastic talk about reading and writing science fiction as part of the Fringe Festival. A quick dinner, and then home.