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Sunday, 30 September 2007
Wadham College


This is the front quad at Wadham College, Oxford, founded by Dorothy Wadham almost 400 years ago.

Although it is one of the youngest of the historic colleges, Wadham has some of the oldest and best preserved buildings, a result of the rash of rebuilding that occurred throughout Oxford during the 17th century. It is often considered as perhaps the last major English public building to be created according to the mediaeval tradition of the master mason. Wadham’s front quad, which served as almost the entire college until the mid-20th century, is also the first example of the “Jacobean Gothic” style that was adopted for many of the University’s buildings. A dramatic expansion since 1952 has made use of a range of 17th and 18th century houses, a converted warehouse originally built to store bibles, and several modern buildings…

It also includes the Holywell Music Room, the oldest purpose-built music room in Europe. Wadham also has a second claim to fame: it is thought that the college’s chapel was the first religious building in England to regain its stained glass and statuary following the reformation. The college was refaced in the 1960s.

Under the original statutes, women were forbidden from entering the college, with the exception of a laundress who was to be of ‘such age, condition, and reputation as to be above suspicion.’ These rules were relaxed over the years, and in 1974 they were altered to allow for the admission of women as full members of college at all levels. In fact, Wadham was the first historically all-male college to have a female student.

Wadham has a well-deserved reputation for being a progressive and tolerant college. In 1975 the Junior Common Room (JCR) chose to re-brand itself as a “Students Union”, becoming the first Oxford College to do so. As a protest against apartheid, the students’ union passed a motion in 1984 to end every college “bop” (disco) with The Special AKA’s single Free Nelson Mandela. The tradition continues despite Mandela’s release in 1990. Wadham also has a reputation as a strong supporter of gay rights, and plays host to “Queer Bop”, an annual night of slightly debauched behaviour popular with students of all colleges.

Read the full article

Posted by bigblue on 30/09/2007 at 06:33 PM
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Thursday, 27 September 2007
Then (and now)



I wonder when that first photograph was taken.  This is Station Road West, in Oxted, as seen from Master Park. The photos are not taken exactly from the same spot but they give an indication of how the place has changed. Buildings have come down and others have gone up. Saplings have grown.

Posted by bigblue on 27/09/2007 at 06:38 AM
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Wednesday, 26 September 2007
Harder than it looks?


If this was as easy as it looks they would have pushed us off downstream in one of these on the recent trip to North Wales.  Contrary to the perception of the photograph, this canoeist is actually paddling upstream. Not that he’s travelling upstream mind - he is riding a static wave caused by one of the rapids.  I guess the trick with these things is (when you get washed over) to tip yourself upright without dashing your brains out on the rocks.

Posted by bigblue on 26/09/2007 at 07:32 AM
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Tuesday, 25 September 2007
Water water everywhere!


At the Peace One Day concert. Annie Lennox performs while people look on from the balcony inside the Royal Albert Hall.

Posted by bigblue on 25/09/2007 at 06:36 AM
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Monday, 24 September 2007
La bore

New bore

Further to my last post on this subject, someone has actually been approved for a pass at the Labour Autumn conference on the basis of an application (falsely) using my email address and even though I emailed the conference organiser and complained about this.

Perhaps their security and accreditation teams were too busy planning how to deal with the OAP threat.

Posted by bigblue on 24/09/2007 at 08:00 AM
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Sunday, 23 September 2007
London House


The house on the right is (apparently) London House in Bala, North Wales, home of the “famous” blind preacher, the Rev Dr John Puleston Jones (1862-1925). He was the eldest son of Evan Jones of Bala and his wife Mary Ann Puleston of Llanfair.  After their marriage

Evan and Mary lived for a few months at “The Berth”, in the Vale of Clwyd, home of Mary Ann’s mother. Here their son John Puleston Jones was born in 1862, later in life known as ’ the blind Preacher ‘. From the ‘Berth’ Evan Jones and his wife and infant son went to Bala to live for about a year at a house named “Tremarran” in Tegid Street, just opposite the Welsh Presbyterian Chapel. They then moved to a house named “London House”, in the High Street,  Bala.  The ground floor being a shop where Evan Jones sold a variety of goods, household and building materials.  They were at “London House” for about ten years, during which time their son met with the tragic accident which resulted in his being blind for life. Mary Ann’s mother came to live with them at “London House”, where she died in 1867 and was buried with her husband in Llanfair DC Churchyard.

The quote is from the Puleston Jones website which has much information about the family.

Posted by bigblue on 23/09/2007 at 05:28 PM
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Saturday, 22 September 2007
The Royal Albert Hall

Royal Albert Hall

Another photo from outside the Royal Albert Hall yesterday before the concert.  The fairies are on the left of the statue and (disappointingly) they were mere bucket-shaking coin-catchers (collecting donations) during intermission and at the end. Phew: I managed to avoid the terms half-time and full-time in that last sentence.

The concert was truly amazing. Annie Lennox has incredible energy, and was the definite highlight.  It was also my first exposure to some of the other artists (mentioned yesterday.  The lowlight was almost starting World War III with a couple of women in the middle of the second half (just as Jeremy Gilley was being introduced). My cousin and I had swapped seats during intermission as we were seated on opposite ends of the theatre. I accidentally sat in the wrong row, and was confronted very aggressively by these two women after making myself comfortable in one of their seats for over half an hour. Well as comfortable as I could sitting next to another group of women (on my right) who had taken off their shoes and were lounging (as if on the couch at home) stuffing themselves with tubs of ice-cream. Do you know how disgusting stinky feet and ice-cream smells, sisters? 

Anyway, despite my best efforts to explain (sotto voice) that I was sure we could resolve the issue peacefully, and that if I had usurped their seat this was entirely accidental, and would they mind checking my ticket, the first two sisters were having none of this. Man Issues perhaps? When I confirmed that it was my mistake I couldn’t have apologised profusely enough or beaten a hasty enough retreat to satisfy them. And I couldn’t beat a hasty retreat anyway because the seat was in the middle of a long row of settled people whose knees and legs I had to squeeze past.  Thankfully as soon as Annie came on I was joined by a couple of other thronging masses in the aisles and on the stairs.

And where was the air-conditioning last night - it was like a sauna inside the Royal Albert - or was that just my guilt pricking me?

Extra link: Article by on Annie Lennox (by Vicky Plum).

Posted by bigblue on 22/09/2007 at 06:37 PM
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Friday, 21 September 2007
Outside the Royal Albert


And I found this happy group rehersing their laughs and lines. I expect to see them again later on this evening during the concert I’ll be attending inside.

I should have anticipated that there would be a lot of fairies at an Annie Lennox concert.  Actually Lennox is headlining a Peace One Day concert. The other acts will include Corrine Bailey Rae, Yusuf (formerly Cat Stevens), James Morrison, Kate Nash, Marc Almond.  The founder of the Peace One Day campaign Jeremy Gilley said:

If you build a house you start with one brick.
If we want to build peace why not start with one day…

Posted by bigblue on 21/09/2007 at 06:14 PM
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