Thursday, December 20, 2007

A Perfect Moment

Today felt like a holiday; a really nice holiday.

I was only in work for a couple of hours. I arrived straight into a good meeting, proof-read and sent a report I’d written yesterday, did an interview over video conference with a potential new recruit in Bologna and then got on a train to Oxford. It’s the company Christmas party tonight but I’m skipping that this year to hear the BBC Singers sing music from the Tudor period in the chapel of Merton College, Oxford.

I arrived at the hotel around 3pm. Brett had booked us a room at the Malmaison which is a converted gaol. It’s all very nicely done and I especially loved the heated slate bathroom floor! As Brett wasn’t due until early evening I had a wander around the town centre. I think I probably have been here before, but likely on a very brief city tour with a group as I don’t recognise it particularly. Some of the town reminds me of Edinburgh – grand architecture in white stone – but not much of it is Georgian and the architectural styles vary quite a bit.

Brett arrived a little after five, a bit worried about whether we’d make the concert on time (it was due to start at 6pm.) In the end we had no difficulty as the College was only a ten-minute walk from the hotel. The chapel was everything you would expect from an Oxbridge College; candlelight, carved stone and wood, stained glass, stalls and pews lining the walls. It was also quite cold, which tempered the enjoyment somewhat. The music was lovely, although I don’t think the acoustic was sufficiently good to really let you hear all forty parts of Spem In Alium. I’m looking forward to downloading the MP3 when the performance is broadcast tomorrow night, in the hope that the positioning of the microphones will make the recording clearer.

The College itself looked well worth a visit too and we both agreed we’d like to come back to Oxford to explore it more closely. Looks like a weekend break in the Spring is in the offing!

Afterwards we strolled back to the hotel and had dinner in the brasserie before retiring for an early night in our beautifully appointed cell.

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