Saturday, 11 March 2017

launch of facing the strange by sb sweeney, lost illusions of countryside, castaways 3 launch, sylvia vetta, euton daley


Very much looking forward to celebrating the publication of Facing the Strange by SB Sweeney at Blackwell's on Thursday!

Meantime, the controversial Castle Mill Flats weren't quite as stark and Soviet-era as this when seen in colour as I was walking to work yesterday.

I was intrigued by the structure in the recently-tidied tree and when playing about with the image, black and white seemed the best way of emphasising it.

I couldn't but be struck by how bare this stretch of the Thames tow-path, between Osney Bridge and Port Meadow, seems, now that some clearing has been done. I remember walking this way a few weeks before I first moved to our flat on Osney in 1987. The tow-path here was so well screened from the city that you could easily imagine you were deep in countryside. There's still something of that effect now but the areas of waste ground alongside the railway lines that were allowed to grow aesthetically wild for years have increasingly been built on.

I also remember how on night-time walks for a pint in Jericho, once you had cut under the railway tracks between the Thames and the Oxford Canal at the end of Abbey Road, you could have been strolling to a village local. The Harcourt Arms, under John's management, with it's Fullers beers and log fires.

Things change but there is still much to enjoy along these paths.

Had a wonderful evening on Thursday at the launch of Oxford Castaways 3, the final collection of Sylvia Vetta's interviews with remarkable local people that originally appeared in Oxfordshire Limited Edition magazine. The launch - which included a charity auction - raised money for Sobell House hospice, as do proceeds from sales of the book. A particular highlight of the event was a performance poem from Euton Daley, accompanied by a wonderful vocalist - see photo on Twitter. After the launch many of us went on to Brown's for a fantastically convivial supper.

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