I'm back in Oxford, sitting in the Summertown Wine Bar with glorious sunshine pouring in through the windows in the roof. It's freezing out but a lovely, crisp day nonetheless.
I have just a couple of days left in England before heading back to Spain. It's been great seeing friends and family, but I'm also looking forward to getting back home and getting back into work which I've been itching to do ever since I realised that a vital file which I thought I'd bought with me was safely and uniquely stored on my computer in the office. Still, I've been able to scribble a few calculations down in the meantime and have plenty to get on with as soon as I touch down.
So, I thought I'd update the last couple of weeks with some photos.
Just after Christmas three of my Korean friends from Santiago turned up in Oxford and so I took them round the city, to see some of the views and the colleges. They were rather disappointed not to bump into Harry Potter in Christchurch but I think that in all they were rather impressed with my hometown. I took them to the top of St Marys on the High Street which offers one of the best views over the city. The sun was low and cast a rather beautiful light over the stone buildings surrounding us, including the Radcliffe Camera:
Anyway, with skateboards, juggling equipment and puppets in tow we made our way around various parks around Oxford, including a trip to Blenheim Palace which was great to walk around, having not been there for perhaps 15 years:
Sitting in a traditional London pub with an open fire and warming up over good conversation and good drink was truly a lovely way to wind down after the normal Christmas chaos. It's great to see friends all doing extremely well in their various endeavors.
On the 30th I made my way into central London to walk along the South Bank to the Tate Modern to see what was showing and get a view over the city (great view of St Pauls from the top floor). The city was bustling with shoppers looking for a bargain and the museums were similarly heaving with tourists. The crowds offered a great chance to try out the new lens which I'd picked up for a ridiculously cheap price on ebay just before leaving.
It seems that Parcour is the new Skateboarding, as this time there were more people jumping from bollard to bollard than there were falling off planks of wood:
Cildo Meireles exhibit which I enjoyed a great deal. Rather fun was the room filled with hanging tape measures, with clocks covering the walls. Interestingly the room as a reference frame was never mentioned:
With a chill in the air on New Year's day we went to Richmond park, London's largest park with its local population of deer and parakeets. The park was full of families enjoying the crisp winter's day, people running off their hangovers and amateur photographers seeing what the first day of the New Year had to offer. I was lucky enough to spot my first Kingfisher, sitting by the stream and diving into the water to catch fish. Sadly I never managed a shot as it dove in, but did get a few perching shots.
Proust and the Squid on the go now, which I'll talk about later, I hope.
Dreaming in Code was a fun, if somewhat quixotic look at the world of software design. The author spent several years following a company in Silicon Valley which was trying to design and build a large piece of software. It's simply the tale of how difficult it is to coordinate a large team of people to write good code and the frustrations which go along with it are clearly immense. In fact I was attracted to the book by the title, a state that I've got myself into on many enjoyable occasions where a problem won't leave you, even when you're asleep. These tend to be the occasions where I have the most breakthroughs in a problem and it can make you feel hugely focused, if exhausted!
Anyway, I'm going to leave it at that for the moment, but I wish you all a very happy New Year!