The Book of Na'Lon

or rather, Inane Ramblings of an Expatriot

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Oxonmoot ~ The Report (Second attempt)

I have been very busy with my portfolio of which more at another point and so haven’t got round to doing the report thing until now. But since I want a break from learning and teaching and not being able to find the references that I want to find, here’s my Oxonmoot report instead.



the_marquis and I set off Friday lunchtime in rain that didn’t quite qualify for either the ‘pouring’ or the ‘drizzle’ labels. On the train, we found seats at a table with a very friendly middle-aged lady on the way to lend moral support to her long-time friend whose son had recently committed suicide. But despite this sad tale, my mood was improving with every mile. I hadn’t really wanted to go to Oxonmoot this year, because the summer has been soo busy and I was feeling soo tired and there was soo much to do on the portfolio… But once on the train, all of these misgivings evaporated and I just began to look forward to a weekend of fun and food and fandom.

Once in Oxford, we headed straight to pellegrina’s old college, where this year’s ‘moot was being held. On the way to our room, who else should we bump into but megamole, whom the Marquis and I recognised immediately from Pellegrina’s description and from his lj-icon. He was a bit surprised, but figured out quickly enough who we were. He decided to come along with us into town to take a look at an exhibition of some of Tolkien’s original artwork in the Bod and then on to the King’s Arms.

Before we set out, however, the Marquis and I took our suitcases to our room past a sinisterly low ceiling in the stairwell. I just knew at that point that before long I was going to make closer acquaintance with that particularly piece of interior design… The room was a twin room, which was nice, and it was pretty good for an Oxford college B&B, but I was still glad that we brought along our newly acquired (and still very smelly) neck-support pillows.

The first stop on the way into town was past alitophilus’s shop, where I bought the next two instalments of Andy Seto’s “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” series, and where the Marquis got an update on the goss. Next we went to the exhibition at the Bod. It was only one display case of Tolkien stuff, but some of the other displays were also very interesting, such as the one on maps of what used to be the known world.

At the exhibition, we picked up another Soc T member, Hobbit, and the four of us headed down to the pub, where we sat and chatted about the films and about singing and beer and food and various other things. Eventually I headed off to meet up with Pellegrina and Apples at Apples’ place of work. We chatted for a while before Pellegrina and I headed back to the KA, where the Marquis had in the meantime been joined by Saxon. After they’d finished their beers, we went for dinner at Pizza Express, at which Pellegrina was nearly robbed of her crusts by an overkeen waitress. Dessert was the delightful Crema di Amaretto, which is far too rich, but very yummy indeed. *sighs contently at the memory*

Back at the college we had another drink in the bar, said hello to many of the usual O’moot suspects and then went on to Mistress of Earda’s sixtieth birthday-room-party, which had so many people joining in it was more of a corridor party.

Bed late… Was cold during the night… Thank goodness I had my pashmina with me.

Saturday as usual came around far too quickly as usual and I woke with a headache. This seemed fair enough, given the lack of sleep and the alcoholic circumstances of the night before. What was not fair enough was that I trapped a nerve in my neck as I was trying to put on my t-shirt. Ouch!

After breakfast, I went to a talk about the origins of the Stewards of Gondor, which I hadn’t really intended to go to, but I’d met the speaker the previous Oxonmoot and had had a strange conversation with him about Buffy, and since he has a nice Irish accent (well, I think it’s nice!) I went along to the talk. It was actually very interesting and I learnt some interesting facts about English, Scottish and Hungarian history. After the talk, I hooked up with the Marquis and we went for our annual Oxonmoot bookshopping expedition. I managed to get a copy of the Alan Lee illustrated Mabinogion, which I had been wanting to buy ever since I met Alan Lee at the Fellowship Festival. In the bookshops that I have tried, it was out of print, but Dibbler still had a few.

Once we’d spent some money we didn’t really have, we went to Ted Nasmith’s slide show, which was as usual interesting. I might not have gone this year, had it not been for the fact that Ted was concerned that the remote control for the projector wasn’t going to work. So I sat in the gallery as backup, so to speak. I still think that quite often Ted’s sketches have a spontaneity that his finished paintings lack…

Lunch went as usual – well almost, usually we don’t descend upon the canapés before the speeches. The food was okay, and for once vegetarian stuff was clearly labelled to the delight of the Marquis.

What with the stiff neck and headache, I decided to retreat to our room for a while and read a bit, until the Marquis came to let me know that it was time for the costuming talk I’d wanted to go to. This linked design of costume in with historical and geological/geographical considerations: what kind of fabrics could one plausibly get? What colours could they be dyed? What would the character have been able to afford? That kind of thing. Needless to say I found this to be a very interesting talk!

After the talk I met up with the Marquis again and we headed to the Artshow, where I got involved in a discussion with atreic and Mole about the Tolkien-women-as-four-seasons-idea, since Gaka had displayed a Japanese style painting on this theme. I wondered, whether she’d got the idea from my Tolkien-women-seasons that I had displayed at Oxonmoot two years previously. We also talked about the whole iconography about which woman to use for which season and so on… Must get those silkpaintings of mine finished at some point.

Later in the afternoon I went along to Martin Barker’s talk about his research on the audience reception of the Lord of the Rings movies. He was saying that after data cleansing they had about 24,000 questionnaires to analyse. What a return rate!!! The talk was fascinating and I was very chuffed that I recognised that Barker must be doing some of this work using discourse analysis. Ceejay would be proud. I wish I’d have had a chance to speak to Barker for a while, researcher to researcher, but it was time for the Dance Workshop.

We had lots of people this year (mostly women, of course) and Lorloth suggested that maybe we should use coloured armbands to help people remember whether they are ‘men’ or ‘women’ during the dancing. Some of our dancers were a group of seven Japanese girls who’d apparently never met before they all came to Oxonmoot. They were all in costume and giggled a lot and joined in enthusiastically.

Dinner was had at the Polish restaurant technically with a whole horde of people, but really only with Mole, Pellegrina, the Marquis and me. Pierogi… they were very delicious.

After dinner I felt peopled out and Pellegrina and I retreated to her room for a nice long chat about all sorts of things. We decided to join the party just in time for the Masquerade, which once again was very good. I particularly like the Japanese girls’ film replicas, a beautiful Elven dress (Este the Gentle), Rustica’s Goldberry, and “Finding Frodo” – an interesting “Finding Nemo”/LotR cross-over with a bunch of Nazgul(ls). Ouch.

Then on to the by now traditional emperor’s Birthday Party, where I drunk lots of Kriek and talked lots to Atreic.

Bed even later than last night. Still cold…

Sunday morning dawned nice and sunny and far sooner than I wanted and on the way to breakfast, I *did* make closer contact with that low ceiling. The bus ride to the cemetery was just long enough to make sure that I felt truly queasy, but Enyalie was quite atmospheric and besides, Polly (jane_somebody) and skordh and parrot_knight joined us there. It was lovely to see them.

Once back in Oxford, we met up for lunch at the Plasterer’s Arms (eventually) where Alitophilus also joined us. We spent most of the afternoon in a whole lot of different conversations. I also got a birthday present from Polly: the DVD of the recent Peter Pan movie (I look forward to seeing it), and gave some fashion advice to Polly – definitely the pinky blouse, not the greeny one.

We were going to head home on the 18.02 train, but discovered at the station that it had been cancelled. So we chatted with a couple other O’moot leavers until the next train at 18.32. This was extremely full (there’s a surprise…) and ended up picking up a delay. In the end we got back to Wolves an hour later than hoped and very, very tired.

Overall, I had a good time, this Oxonmoot weekend. Next year, however, I’ll take off Monday after!

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Very sensible.

Work was, um, Interesting on the Monday - as was Evensong that day.

the one on maps of what used to be the known world

And of course the island? tree? people? of Waqwaq, which don't exist.

I still think that quite often Ted’s sketches have a spontaneity that his finished paintings lack…

So I'm not the only one who thought so! :)
Many thanks for the report - considering that you had to type it twice!


I'm sorry we didn't get the chance to meet up.

Yeah, you need signs that say 'I am a man'... We often have this problem when that Aren'tEnoughMen at dancing.

Very very true. And there are *never* enough men ;-).

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