Or, rather, Oxford, to be more precise, where I’m coming to you from our room at Keble College at Oxford University. We’re staying in the dorms — which is actually providing for more comfortable accommodations that it sounds. Barb is down attending the first of several day-long meetings, while I . . . well, I was scheduled to join a bus (excuse me, coach) tour of the Cotswolds, but the other day, I came down with a slightly more than mild case of food poisoning, so I’ve been taking it easy. So while Barb works hard down in the main part of the college, I’m sitting up in the room, looking out at the rain-slicked roads, flicking through the U.S. papers online, and reading Simon Callow’s fine biography of Orson Welles. It’s not the Cotswolds, but it’s still not a bad way to spend a quiet day.
Not that I’m not enjoying the British newspapers. Each day, I pick up one of their “red tops” — the trashy ones — along with a proper newspaper like The Observer and read them from front to back. There’s been a general uproar over bankers and financiers awarding themselves enormous bonuses only a year after the government bailed out their banks with taxpayer funds — sound familiar? Meanwhile, the Trials and Tribulations of Sarah Palin led to much headscratching, until The Guardian finally declared that she was most certainly preparing to run for President…or maybe not. Plus, I now know more about British tennis history than I ever though possible by following the swell of national pride the British had invested in Andy Murray when it looked like he might roll past Andy Roddick and become Britain’s first male Wimbledon finalist in eight decades — until he didn’t, and thus went from being Britain’s great hope to just “the Scotsman.”
We spent the Fourth of July in London for dinner and a show — we saw The Woman in Black, a very loud and creepy two-man show — and the next day wandering the banks of the Thames behind our hotel in Teddington. Our hotel — which was actually a country club — sat right down the street from Pinewood Studios. “They filmed all the James Bond movies there!” our cab driver excitedly told us — and that’s certainly true. They also filmed The Dark Knight there, as well as one of the greatest TV shows of all time . . .
Finally, I had a very productive day earlier in the week running down a few of the sites associated with Project Blue Harvest. I took a few photos, dropped off business cards, made a few calls, and found everyone quite willing and excited to talk with me. I’m not gonna lie to you, Marge: this is gonna be cool.