I normally do not post random clips, but I would so much rather be there than here right now. (I am, of course, only saying this because I am chained to my desk).
…is making pancakes for breakfast and realising at 10.50pm that you are still wearing an apron.
I feel a bit like Renton in Trainspotting who stocked up on baked beans (I think) and pills before barricading the door to overcome his drug addiction.
My door may not be barricaded, but Christmas is cancelled and I am home alone for the next three weeks. My fridge is full of Coke (yes, with a capital ‘C’) and my cupboards are close to bursting with food.
I submit in mid-January and until then I have taken the liberty to put the world on hold. My world, not yours, that is.
For far too long I have neglected writing about my current residence. The house itself is quite famous because it was built and for many years inhabited by a guy who has been described as the “Father of Modern Medicine.”
Sir William Osler was a physician, clinician, pathologist, teacher, diagnostician, bibliophile, historian, classicist, essayist, conversationalist, organiser, manager and author. In short, your average Oxford don.
My mum forwarded me a couple of quotes of his from this week’s Journal of The Danish Medical Association:
Look wise, say nothing, and grunt (on the art of medicine)
Go to bed. Put a hat on the bedpost. Drink whiskey until you see two hats (about the best remedy for the common cold)
He is known for other brilliant pieces of advice:
…listen to your patient, he is telling you the diagnosis.
Remember the abdomen begins at the neck and ends at the knees.
Punctuality is the pure essential of a physician. If invariably on time he will succeed even in the face of professional mediocrity (source).
In addition to my house being steeped in history, I have recently learned that my opposite neighbour is pretty famous, too. Punctuality aside, it is easy to feel mediocre around here – Oxford is a bloody brilliant place to live.
I used a pint of gin (Tanqueray, export strength), half a litre of sloes, and 150 grammes of sugar. Now, it is time to sit back and wait (impatiently) for at least three months, interrupted only by the weekly shake of the bottle. Once properly infused, it will take on the colour of port.
I do not believe we can know anything merely through science; it is too precise, too rigid a tool. The world has a thousand tendernesses into which we must lean so that we may understand them before we learn what the sum of their parts represents… Only the sailor knows the archipelago.
-Jean Giono, L’eau vive
PS. Excerpt stolen from Jean Malaurie’s The Last Kings of Thule. As mentioned earlier, if you have yet to read this book, your literary life is far from complete. And while I am at it, Ultima Thule is, as the name indicates, the most comprehensive introduction to Arctic life and exploration.
Oxford is like a shelter for all the misfits of the world.
PS. Mind you, this quote comes from a man whom I recently caught frozen in a ponderous position in the middle of a public path. He could not remember for how long he had been standing there, just that he ‘had a brilliant thought.’