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Beethoven, Christ Church, and Chez Gaston

I was the wake-up call for the Casa del Andrea. They should all be thanking me. I really don't think they would have got up without my cheerful, dulcet tones of "Good moooorrrrnnnniiiiinnnnggg!" There are exponentially less people at breakfast than there were during, say, the first week. People are getting tired, ergo eggs are going uneaten. But I was a good girl and went to breakfast, whereupon the conversation topics were being an only child vs. having siblings, and the subsequent relationships, and, to finish up, how much everyone hates standardized testing (mostly because this was with Noonie and Wally, who are both liberal arts teachers, who, on principle, hate standardized testing).

People are also caring less about their appearance in the morning. Take me, for example. I’m wearing my comfy Oxford t-shirt my dad bought on eBay for me before I left for England. Is this part of the dress code? No, but it's comfy, and hey, it says "Oxford" on it.

The first lecture started later than usual, so I decided to take a nap, and was awoken by a deafeningly loud blast of Beethoven's 5th, and subsequently mothered by Jennie. ("Oh, you poor baby! Did that mean Beethoven wake you up?") Such was the arrival of our lecturer, a doctor of music.

Programme Notebook Entry:

It took me approximately two seconds to recognize John William's Star Wars theme in Dr. John Traill's lecture, "Introduction to the Orchestra." Just goes to show how deeply ingrained into us music used for film can be. But what of the purely orchestral music, not accompanying film or theatre, but "autonomous art"? It's this concept that I find hart to grasp. It's not that I don't believe that it is autonomous art, but music, in my opinion, is such abstract expression, for it is often completely beyond words and thus beyond my natural mode of expression. It is my opinion that people in any humanities field is inclined to think in a certain medium -- words, colors, images, music. I think and feel in words. Music provides only feeling for me.

During his lecture, he showed us the art of conduction via the use of a tennis ball, and to demonstrate that anyone could do it, he pulled up Brian to demonstrate, who happens to be (unbeknownst to our lecturer) a tennis star. Go figure.

Nikki and Anna, being band dorks, tried to guess what instrument it was that the lecturer played ("I think it's a tuba." "Yeah, I'd say tuba.") We asked him afterwards, and they were wrong. It was something dull like the violin. After the lecture, I asked Dr. Traill about writing score music for theatre (whether I should search for already written score music, or find someone to write music for me), and he suggested that I make friends with a composer.

Jennie, the sweet girl that she is, brought me a taste of her hot chocolate (a new addition to our coffee, tea, and biscuits break between lectures), and I was sparked by the brilliant idea of making mocha coffee by combining hot chocolate and coffee. It is wonderful, and quickly becoming very popular.

I have also noticed that people have begun to talk in code when gossiping. Honestly, in code! I have no idea what any of these code words mean, but it's annoying nonetheless, feeling left out. And when codes fail, people merely gossip in different languages. It's all about secrecy in our tiny group. Extra measures must be taken as we're practically incestuous in our relationships, we're all so close.

Second lecture of the day. Not given by a doctor, for a change.

Programme Notebook Entry:

In librarian Miss Debbie Quare's lecture, "St. Hugh's College," the group was presented with the history of this Oxford women's college. What struck me as interesting, if not odd, was perhaps the main purpose of establishing this college: to prevent the daughters of less well-off clergy from having to get non-religious instruction. Oxford was concerned with religious education. Perhaps his is my coming from being a strong believer of the separation of church and state in a politically correct age, but this seems absurd to me. In such a great and powerful, and supposedly enlightened country as England, you had to be of a certain religion to recieve an education? The fact that this is no longer so must be progress.

After the morning's lectures, it was decided that we'd make a trip to Christ Church College -- a decision made, of course, by Speck. Noonie and Wally were informed by Speck that they would be giving a guided tour for us, as he would not be accompanying us. "WHAT?" was Noonan's general response. "I don't know anything about Christ Church! If I was given time to research, I might come up with something--"

"Well, you're just going to have to do your best, now, won't you?"

Bloody petty tyrant.

So the Noonwalls (the name of us programmers while under Noonie and Wally's watch) visit Christ Church! And in that visit, I have made my pilgrimage to my Mecca, combining my two greatest loves of Harry Potter and Alice in Wonderland in one, single, fabulous building. (And I made sure to get all necessary pictures for my parental units -- the firedogs of girls with elongated necks, the portraits of Dean Liddell and Charles Dodgson, the secret little door and the garden beyond it that the Liddell girls used to play in, etc.) Note: Alice Liddell was the inspiration for Charles Dodgson (pen name: Lewis Carroll) to write Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

Programme Notebook Entry:

In visiting Christ Church College, I have made the pilgrimage to my own personal Mecca. I know that I have made this point before already, but it is one that I believe in: make your experiences your own, make history your own. I have seen the Great Hall of the Harry Potter films. I have seen the firedogs of girls with long necks that inspired Lewis Carroll. I have seen the tiny door that leads to the garden where Dean Liddell's children would play. I have breathed the air. I have done something that I have always wanted to do, something that was important to me. Not because it's on a list of English tourist sites, but because it meant something to me.

In the gift shop, I was very, very excited to discover that the personalized merchandise spells my name right, which is amazing. Hayley (with two y's) is never spelt right in the United States. I bought way to much stupid personalized things, just because of that excitement (a coaster, a picture frame, a bookmark, etc.).

By the time we reached the gift shop, everyone had disappeared, mostly to go shopping elsewhere, or to return to the college. Noonie was quite annoyed, but gave up, deciding to continue sight-seeing with Wally, Maira, and me. Next, we hit the Bodleian Library -- another Harry Potter site! ...Unfortunately, we could see just about none of it, to my great vexation, though I got to hear a tour guide talk about the fact that some of the Harry Potter films were filmed there. Only the gift shop was available to visitors, where I again bought way too many things. ("But it's Shakespeare! And things that say 'Silence Please'! How cool is that? And cheap post cards!")

In other news, I've hit the 1,000 mark in my photo-taking. How have I managed to take over 1,000 pictures? That's insane.

Also, I've discovered that Noonie is likely the only person on the face of the planet who actually laughs "Hee Hee," which I find amazing.

And in some real news, there has been reports of an attempted terrorist attack at Heathrow airport. Our airport! England?! While we're here?! Why?! This makes no sense. This does not bode well for our departure, I can tell.

I'm so tired. I want a nap. If it weren't that the performance tonight is Shakespeare, I'd opt out.

...Except that, when we got there, there was a rhodes scholar rock concert masquerading as a barbeque, right next door to the open-air theatre, so the performance was postponed.

But did that mean nap-time? No. A variety of things occurred before we finally decided what we wanted to do. For starters, Brian and Ryan are on a testosterone-overload; instead of watching any Shakespeare-related movies, they want something with a war in it. I argued that many Shakespeare plays include war, but apparently that's not what they had in mind (i.e. blood and gore).

Also, Noonan has, perhaps, finally scared off Mike's creepy attempts to hit on her. I think she actually exploded. ("Stop touching me, for the love of God! Just go away!")

Finally, we decided to get crêpes at Chez Gaston on North Parade, the little street that runs right off St. Hugh's, and is practically a part of our home. It's an interesting, tiny little shop, with too many fish in its fish tank, and La terre est bleu comme une orange painted on the ceiling. The world is blue like an orange? What the hell does that mean? Oh, the French.

In distress over the terrorist attack-attempt, everyone's worried about what we're going to do about our luggage. (Wear all our jewelry on the plane? Ship most of our things beforehand? Etc.) That was the main topic of conversation over our crêpes. In addition, the pants caper develops: the boys had a cross-dressing party. ...In retrospect, I have no idea what that actually means. Jamie regaled us with stories of his shopping adventures. Apparently he can always find the very best deals, where you have to go to the back door with a password and a secret handshake. He bought a great pair of blue shoes.

Also, we all love British coins. They're so cute! And just more interesting than American money. And provides the option of just pouring out a handful of coins on a counter and asking the cashier to figure it out when you have no idea how much money you have.

We talked a little about family, and everyone has come to the conclusion that it is a marvel that Brian has not had therapy, considering the very strange dynamic of his family (even stranger than mine!).

On the way home, we found Henry Speck in a pub, the Gardner's Arms! Ha! We always suspected that he had a drinking problem. Apparently this is not the first sighting of Speck at a pub. According to Noonie and Wally, it's a quite frequent sight.

The weather outside is beautiful. I think it's something I'll remember forever. It's August, and it feels like the wonderful beginnings of fall. Brian in particular waxed rhapsodic about it, how it reminds him of the fall festival and Halloween and all. Why would we ever want to go home with weather like this?

Noonan's quote for the evening: "Ryan, call your mother!"

And in final news, to quote my archivist notebook, "I think I'm in love with Brian." If I'm to report my experience, I'm to report my experience. ...Though maybe some things were meant to not be reported, to be kept secret and sacred, and perhaps eventually forgotten. But not for now.


Mar. 30th, 2007 02:50 am (UTC)
the all powerful provider of hot chocolate
please keep it coming love - almost forgot about Speck's "little problem"...Not!


St. Hugh's Crest
Hayley Elizabeth Rushing

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