strange_complex: (Chrestomanci slacking in style)
...with whomever you want, where would you be and who would you be with? (late)

Written last night, but unposted because LJ was down.

Well, first I need to explain for context that I am exhausted beyond coherence at the moment. That's no surprise - it's been a very tough term, and I knew that at the time. I'm pretty sure I have adrenal burnout - it would be surprising if I didn't, really. Certainly, I feel physically leaden and just like curling up in bed all the time, and mentally dull-witted and utterly incapable of making plans, organising what I want to do with my work or anything like that. Again, no surprise. In simple, human terms, I have had my efficiency, motivation and intellectual engagement cranked up to the max for the past three months. Of course there's nothing left.

Anyway, this means that basically my vision for an ideal holiday currently revolves around the maximisation of opportunities for rest, relaxation and recuperation - with a little dusting of Christmassy goodness on top. I see some sort of hill-side lodge, surrounded by pine trees and snow (of course!). On offer in the premises are hot tubs, comfortable sofas and arm-chairs next to a roaring fire, a plentiful supply of good books and DVDs (with a lovely big telly to watch them on), and huge warm soft beds which feel like nests for hibernating animals - and which there is no particular reason to get out of in the morning. The place is kitted out with appropriate Christmas paraphernalia, including a tastefully-decorated tree with lots of presents underneath it.

In the surrounding area is beautiful winter scenery - snow-drifts, frozen streams, hedgerows full of holly, etc - which might be explored during pleasant wintry walks. But it can all be seen perfectly clearly from balconies and large plate-glass windows in the lodge anyway, and no-one is pressuring me to actually go on a walk. It's just a thing that's available for the doing if I decide one day that I feel like it. Similarly, there is a stack of sledges in an outside shed, some ice-skates and a suitably-frozen pond to use them on, and a cheery village complete with a traditional English pub in the valley just below the lodge. But no obligation whatsoever to make use of them.

The lodge is staffed by quiet, undemanding, efficient people, who just run the place smoothly and without issue. They don't insist on being able to come in to clean my room at a certain time each day - they just slip in magically while I'm not in it. They are totally happy to serve up meals at whatever time I feel I want them. They keep hot-tubs bubbling, fires burning and beds plumped up at all times, without me having to ask for anything. Trained experts are on hand to administer gentle soothing massages and other relaxation / beauty treatments whenever they are required, and the kitchen staff are Michelin-starred chefs. They will, of course, serve up the best Christmas dinner I have ever experienced on the day itself.

As for people to share this with me, I think if I can only have one person, it would be my sister. But this is a lodge, with plenty of rooms presumably. So I could very easily come up with a list of about ten or so friends - some ones I see regularly anyway, others I don't - whom I would also like to be there. We'd all go with the shared assumption that when we wanted each other's company, we would find each other in the public lounge, hot-tubs, dining room etc, but that anyone who preferred quiet and solitude would be very welcome indeed to pursue it. Each room would be equipped with its own fire-place, arm-chair, television, dining-table and jacuzzi-bath as standard anyway, and people would bring portable massage-tables up to your room at the simple push of a button if you wanted one.

So - who's coming to my fantasy lodge, then?

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strange_complex: (Sleeping Hermaphrodite)
I'm back from Verona. Very tired, but I had a brilliant time. In theory, I've gone all the way back through LJ to where I left off before I flew out, but it meant going back to skip=260, so it was very much skim-reading.

I'll post a proper report tomorrow, but in essence, after the initial flight cancellation tedium, it was all good. Students fine, my opposite number in Verona a real sweet-heart and very enthusiastic host, Verona wonderful, hotel welcoming, food excellent, and I have been to Venice! Wow.

In all honesty, I'd rather still be there than back in Britannia. But the good news is that the weather there is exactly as horrid as it is here, so I do not need to feel I am missing the sunshine. Only the warm internal glow of Italy and its people. :-(

I have many pictures, but for now you just get my favourite two:

My little friend from the theatre in Verona )

Have you hugged a tetrarch today? )

strange_complex: (Christ Church Mercury)
I am back from Bristol now, and it was great! However, it was so great that I am totally cream-crackered, and not remotely up to doing it justice in a post. So, instead, I am going to rewind to Thursday evening, and a garden party which I attended with Fleur WINOLJ.

The event took place in the Cathedral Gardens in Christ Church: particularly special for us, what with us both being former members of the House. They are reputedly the gardens on which C.S. Lewis (oops!) Lewis Carroll drew for Alice in Wonderland, and are usually out of bounds to mere student scum. Although Fleur had been in them before (to perform as the Queen of Hearts in a play of the same), I never had in my life, so I could very much sympathise with Alice's long quest to get there.

The goal of the evening was to Save Venice by raising lots of lovely money. So we set to work, content in the knowledge that the more we drank, the safer Venice would be. The evening went on until gone midnight (although we decamped from ChCh to Corpus Christi gardens with Fleur's friend Michael around 10ish), and it was so warm I didn't even think of putting my shirt on until gone 11. Along the way, we drank Bellinis, ate strange fennel-flavoured biscuity things, bitched a lot about other people's dress sense, and took these photos:

Fleur and I revisit the old Alma Mater )

Fleur enjoying her Bellini )

Me, communing with nature )

May morning

Monday, 1 May 2006 07:58
strange_complex: (Wicker Man sunset)
We totally made it through the night: me and Spiky Neil playing Worms and Puzzle Bobble, and then [livejournal.com profile] oxfordgirl joining us for the ritual viewing of The Wicker Man, and by then it was 4am and time to start phoning people like [livejournal.com profile] redkitty23 and [livejournal.com profile] stompyboots to chivvy them up and out for meeting at the tower.

It rained, but the freshness was perfect, and we walked in clutching sprigs of cherry blossom, me feeling more alive and alert than I think I've ever felt on May morning before, despite having been in such a state of extreme tiredness on Saturday that I was seriously afraid I was about to suffer internal organ failure or something.

And we had the best spot ever, right at the base, and when the Hymnus Eucharisticus rang out, I gazed up through the rain at the impossibly looming tower, held my blossom aloft and felt the hush and the still and the awakening summer all around me, and remembered all the previous times and the powerful magic of the morning and cried softly to think I might never be there again.

And then it was a damp picnic and dancers in the Radcliffe Camera Square, and some guy taking pictures of me and [livejournal.com profile] oxfordgirl laughing and waving our blossoms, and a physical manifestation of Apollo, and champagne and free hot chocolate and giggling at the extreme spaced-outness of [livejournal.com profile] stompyboots, [livejournal.com profile] edling and Cat WINOLJ.

And then it was home, and crash and burn, and my fingers feel like putty now on the keyboard. I think I may possibly need to sleep for a very long time, very, very soon.

But I'm so glad I did it, because I LOVE OXFORD. And it tears my heart to think I must leave it all behind. :(

This post brought to you by sleep deprivation and Piper Heidseick champagne.

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