My brain is telling me the outer door is closed ... yet more information keeps coming at me ...
|Sporting the Oaks - the|
two doors ... the outer
one is open, showing that
occupant inside welcomes
a knock from a visitor
Sporting the Oaks is a term I had not come across (and interestingly does not feature in Wikipedia ... no I’m not putting it in!) ... but when the Norman Gallery architecture page appeared on the Durham World Heritage site ...
... this phrase popped right out at me ... as too did seeing the oars suspended on the walls in the Norman Gallery – the River Wear has cut deeply, forming an incised meander, into the “Cathedral Sandstone” bedrock on which the Cathedral and Castle were built centuries ago ...
|Norman Gallery in Durham Castle - not open on the tour ...|
but the oars can be clearly seen hung above the doorways
c/o World Heritage Site
... as with the University Boat Race on the River Thames each year between Oxford and Cambridge ... I hadn’t realised a similar race occurs between Durham and Newcastle universities on the River Wear.
My father and uncle were oarsmen at college in Oxford and we had an oar suspended in much the same way at home ... well our room wasn’t a Norman Gallery, nor was it so big!!
Sporting One’s Oaks I feel applies to me now ...I’m betwixt and between ... loving the blogging, yet swamped with ideas to write about ... and I’ve been away again, and go off in a couple of hours to the west country ... and generally have rather a lot going on ...
Sporting One’s Oaks – a distinctive ‘old universities’ tradition, refers to the precursor of ‘Do Not Disturb’ signs. When the outer door is ajar, like the one in the picture is, it means that the occupant is in and does not mind being disturbed; but if it is closed ... it means ‘do not disturb’. I’m so pleased I came across the phrase.
|An iphone photo from the|
Guide Book of the Black Staircase
In keeping with the theme of oak and the flying staircase from my previous post – that featured very, very dark oak ... with the softer wood being painted black to match ...
... oak wood is very dense with great strength and hardness – with a very high tannin content – which darkened as it aged – hence the name ‘black staircase’ ... softer wood was used for the carving, but was painted black to match.
Certainly dark wood in houses and buildings of older eras is something I relate to ... personally I prefer light oak, or yellowy-gold colours for my furniture ...
|Buckingham Palace paper cup ...|
no bone china on offer!
As I mentioned I’ve been around recently! I went to London to see the Coronation Exhibition at Buckingham Palace last week, and we mellow yellowed looking at some Gauguins at the Courtauld Gallery ...
... then yesterday I went to London again to see a photographic exhibition in the walkway of Tower Bridge ... of 20 iconic bridges in the world. That trip will be worth doing in the future as they are replacing the floors with glass ... so visitors can see ships passing underneath – and watch as the bascules are raised and lowered.
I then went to see the “Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum” exhibition at the British Museum ... fascinating and I’m so pleased I went. I must order the book ... but if I’d bought it there – I’d be on my knees by now ... it was so heavy, lugging it back would have finished me off!
Why I went to London yesterday and not Saturday as I’d originally intended was because this week The Mayor’s Thames Festival is on ... and on Saturday the annual Great River Race took place ...
|Lots of craft and people|
c/o The Metro
... 22 miles of river racing that starts in Docklands and heads west to Richmond ... it is an incredible event (that I hadn’t picked up on) with 350 boats of all shapes and sizes taking part ...
.... it has become London’s other marathon – and is one of the biggest and most prestigious boating events in Europe with 24,000 competitors ...
Lots of events are occurring ... but what caught my eye was the Opera: 1513: A Ships’ Opera ... a symphonic maritime performance begins at sea ... while an armada of historic vessels from the age of sail, steam and diesel will perform a live, moving, operatic concerto of ships’ steam whistles, bells, horns, hooters, sirens and cannon as the centre piece of the 2013 Thames Festival ...
|1513: A Ships' Opera - by Richard Wilson|
(see details here)
... here you can access the Julibee Horns piece (and read more) ... which is a fabulous evocation of life on the water over the centuries, yet through it we can imagine the traffic of trade of the boatmen on the river highway ...
So without further ado ... I’m Sporting my Oaks ... and will get to your blogs once my race is run!
By the way – I’ve just had a lovely email from Lenny, who keeps in touch with Linda, one of the ladies up at the Nursing Centre, who I still visit ... so I copied out his email for her to read ... and when I next go up there will be a package for us too! Good old Lenny ... he certainly knows how to inspire ... but I thought you’d be interested to know I’d heard from him ... young lads have plenty of other things to do!!
PS: A bap is a soft bread roll ... so easier to eat - as no crusty crumbs splattering out!
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