Friday 31 December 2010

Final project 365 video: a year in 56 seconds

I'm really pleased with how this turned out.  Many hours of work over the course of 2010 condensed into one ridiculously quick video.

December retrospective video

For this month's music I've chosen an arrangement of the 12 Days of Christmas by Ian Humphris, which I saw the New London Singers perform on the 21st.

One more video to come: a whistlestop flight through the whole year of photos in less than a minute!

31 December

I made it!  Project 365 is complete!  Here we all are waiting to celebrate the new year at Simon and Helen's party at 23.56.  A great party.  The only sadness in this photo is that Jacqui's not in it: she's out of shot to the right hand side.  She would have been in January 1 and December 31, but as it is there's only me that's in both.

I've really enjoyed doing this project, though obviously there've been days when I've struggled.  I'm looking forward to not doing it in 2011, though!  I'm planning just a couple more posts on this blog (video for December and for the whole year, and maybe some stats or something like that), but essentially I'm now putting this project to bed.  Thanks to those of you who've read, commented, retweeted, featured, and generally been encouraging.  I do intend to keep photoblogging at, and sharing stuff I get up to on there and on Twitter.

I hope you all have a very happy 2011.

Thursday 30 December 2010

30 December

Today was the last day of my Belgian adventure, and involved meeting great aunt Philomena before heading to Brussels for a whistlestop tour provided by Leen's cousin Elien.  She took us all around the city, including up a multi-storey carpark for great views!  One of Brussels' famous sites is of course the Mannekin Pis, for no good reason as far as I can tell.  I did like these statues to take home as a souvenir, though!  Photo at 16.02.

Wednesday 29 December 2010

29 December

Today Leen and I went to explore Antwerp.  I'd never been before, and I liked it a lot.  A highlight was a beer and this tasty selection in De Foyer, a lovely theatre bar.  Photo at 14.59.

Tuesday 28 December 2010

28 December

Here's a big family party.  There were 24 assorted Van Broecks and hangers-on, and I think I managed to learn everyone's names!  It was good fun.  Photo at 22.39.

27 December

Today was the day for exploring Sint-Niklaas, the city where Leen went to school.  It has the largest market square in Belgium, and the tourist information is very keen that everyone should be aware of that.  As well as seeing that, we did a walking tour around various lovely art deco buildings, had a beer in a cool old beer cellar (photo at 12.29), saw a castle and a park, before taking a train back to Temse for dinner.

26 December

I'm in Belgium!  Or Flemland, if you prefer!  Saw Louise and Jacqui in the Hare and Hounds this afternoon, and then headed to St Pancras for my Eurostar.  Leen and her dad Erik met my train and drove me to their home in Temse, where I met the cat, Gust, who seemed about as (dis)interested as Erik in my iPad as they posed for this photo at 23.20.

25 December

It was a busier Christmas day than usual.  Father Christmas brought me a stocking!  That was an excellent surprise.  I went to the cathedral again, and enjoyed the choir singing Haydn's St Nicholas Mass with full orchestra, while the others went to Salisbury Methodist Church as usual.  Then we did presents (yes, before lunch! Shocking!).  I was very pleased with my haul.  Lunch was fantastic, of course.  We enjoyed smoked salmon from Andy Race of Mallaig for our starter, before turkey with everything, and Christmas pudding with some 1984 Rivesaltes that I bought in June.  Then after lunch mum drove us all up to London for Christmas part two at Andrew and gang's house.  There was another excellent presents session, followed by lots of playing with those presents (photo of the general scene at 18.37).  Then food again, more play and chat, and then I settled down to watch England destroy Australia in Melbourne.  A wonderful Christmas!

I hope you all had wonderful Christmasses too, wherever you spent them.  Happy Christmas from me.

24 December

I love Salisbury cathedral, and I love that it's part of my Christmasses since mum and dad moved there.  This morning there was still some present buying to be done, so I took my camera for a look at the cathedral in the snow on the way to town.  Photo at 10.49.  Christmas Eve traditions followed, with Carols from Kings, tasty dinner, and then midnight mass at the cathedral.

23 December

It's Christmas!  Well, I suppose strictly speaking it isn't yet, but after working from home (including a period of being locked out of my house - idiot) I've made it to mum and dad's house in Salisbury where there's a tree and presents and cards and Christmassy food.  Photo in their dining room after dinner, at 21.35.

Wednesday 22 December 2010

22 December

Unless my travel plans are disrupted, or something thrilling happens during the working day tomorrow, this will be the last Oxford photo of the year.  It shows Rich playing the part of a king, I think, surveying his garden.  Not a bad pad.  Photo at 21.22 (which is the same as yesterday!).

21 December

This evening I went down to London to see Anni and the New London Singers perform a concert of really lovely Christmas music at Kings Place.  They're a very good choir, and as well as some of my favourites from Tavener, Britten and Poulenc, they sang some great things that were new to me (Gant, Debussy).  Photo at 21.22.

20 December

Lots of snow in the OUP quad as I went out for lunch at 12.08.  This isn't actually a photo I'm particularly proud of, but the BBC appealed for snowy Oxford pictures, so I emailed it in and they published it, which is nice!

Sunday 19 December 2010

19 December

Leen and I stayed at Laura's in Dulwich last night.  I'd never been to Dulwich before, and so Laura took me for a tour.  It looked particularly great in the snow.  Here's Laura outside Dulwich Picture Gallery at 12.00.  Later I did some Christmas shopping, and this evening Stephen and Sarah hosted mulled wine fun at their house.

18 December

Leen and I travelled through the snow to London today to sing carols in Richmond with all these lovely people.  We were raising for money for the Vineyard project.  Photo at 14.56.

17 December

A quiet evening tonight, so I got this photo of the Christmas lights on Oxford High Street on my way home at 18.25.  I should definitely credit Alice for having pointed out to me on her blog how cool these Christmas lights are.

16 December

This is an actual, real, old, Roman coin.  It's a denarius of Vespasian, dating back to AD69-79, and it was given to Leen as a Christmas present by a friend.  I got a photo of it this evening at 21.31, and I'm using it because I didn't take a group photo during the fun party at Topaze and Chris' house this evening.

15 December

Don't I look brilliant in my Incuna Christmas beard?  Photo at 13.37.  Geo later turned it in to a wonderful Twitter/Facebook profile picture using her magic pad, which you can see at

14 December

These are strange fudge-type sweets, which a colleague brought back from America for us all to enjoy in the office.  They had a name that was something to do with reindeer, but I can't remember what it was.  Photo at 12.39.

Monday 13 December 2010

13 December

Leen and I went round to Hedda and Calum's house this evening for fun chat and to admire their Christmas tree.  You can see Calum and me in this photo, taken at 22.02.

12 December

Today was Rich's birthday, so here he is enjoying trying on Esther's earmuffs at the quiz at 22.18.

11 December

Stephen cooked a Christmas feast at his house this evening.  The main course was this delicious stuffed lamb. Earlier, Jubilate sang our advent concert to a sold out crowd in Keble chapel, and it went very well.  Today's photo was taken at 21.32, and is much less funny but much more publishable online than several others I took, which may or may not make it to Facebook at some point.

10 December

Here's my first case of wine from the Wine Society.  Thanks very much to the people who bought it for me!  Photo at 22.24.

Friday 10 December 2010

9 December

Hmmm.  Work Christmas party.  'Nuff said?  Photo at 23.27.

Wednesday 8 December 2010

8 December

Belgian chocolates again!  This time sent over to Leen for Sinterklaas by her mum.  Yum!  Photo at 20.02.

7 December

Tonight was Jubilate's final rehearsal ahead of Saturday's concert.  It went well, and I think those of you who are coming will enjoy it very much.  Those of you who aren't should think again: details at  Photo at 20.50.

6 December

Work, spin, photo leaving work at 19.57, and then a quiet night in.

5 December

A strange day really, in that it started and finished late.  I was up late watching the ashes last night, and so enjoyed a long lie-in before heading to the Jericho to see the Yarns at the Common Room festival.  Here they are at 15.42.  I also got a video of them, which you could watch on YouTube.  I then saw The American at the Phoenix, before wiping out at the quiz and watching more cricket in Worcester MCR.

Sunday 5 December 2010

4 December

Leen and Naomi hosted a Christmas party at Naomi's house this evening.  We enjoyed roast turkey, tasty veg, and Christmas cake and Christmas pudding.  Afterwards, we sang a few carols, which is what's being planned in this photo, taken at 21.51.

3 December

I was singing Imogen Heap's Love The Earth again this evening, at St Anne's church in Limehouse.  I wasn't able to get any photos there, but I did enjoy this snowy view of 1 Canada Square before the rehearsal, at 16.37.  It's blue because I messed with the white balance, but I quite like the result.  Leen and Ed and Clare came to the concert, and we enjoyed mulled wine and delicious pie at their house afterwards.

Thursday 2 December 2010

2 December

It's so cold in Oxford at the moment.  Cycling around is zero fun.  Anyway, that moan has nothing to do with this photo.

Leen and I went to see Another Year at the UPP, which was very good, but not quite as good as The Kids Are All Right.  I got home to the warm without a photo to record the day, so here's the photo of me at (I think) Crown Meadow first school some time in the late 80s.  Mum and Dad brought it when they came for my birthday, and it's been sitting on the TV surveying the scene in our living room ever since.  Taken at 22.40.

1 December

Today was a London day: Online Information conference at Olympia, and then Arcade Fire at the O2, during which I got this photo at 21.28.  They're definitely one of the best bands on the planet at the moment, and they put on a fantastic show.

Tuesday 30 November 2010

November retrospective video

The music for this month's video is Earth, by Imogen Heap, which I sang with her at the Royal Albert Hall on November 5.

30 November

I should have checked this photo more carefully before putting my camera away and considering photography done for the day - it seems I had some settings wrong on the camera.  Still, it captures the fact that mum and dad came for lunch at OUP today, and that I made them pose for a silly photo afterwards, at 13.55.

Monday 29 November 2010

29 November

A very nice evening round at Fran and Craig's house for delicious dinner, leftover wedding wine, and Catholic chat (hilarious Catholic chat, I should add).  Photo at 22.16.

28 November

We woke to excellent news from Brisbane, which was a great way to start the day.  We then rehearsed hard, and parts of our final run-through went so well that we were worried we'd peaked!  In the end, there were of course a few hiccups in the service but they were mainly logistical, and we sang some things really really well - particularly Poulenc and Dove.  That's why we're all looking pretty pleased with ourselves in this photo, taken by Clare after the service, at 18.10.

27 November

Jo and I are really spinning our birthday out this year!  Pete's birthday's coming up too, so there was lots of cake ahead of Betsy rehearsals today.  Thanks to Sarah for baking.  We're posing at 13.25.

26 November

It's Betsy weekend.  As is starting to become a(nother) Betsy tradition, I got the train up to Macclesfield after work to stay with Nat and Gareth.  Jo came too this time, and we all had a lovely dinner, during which I took this photo at 22.11.

25 November

Harry Potter day: here we are after the film, at 23.07.  I thought it was good but not great, but it's certainly set things up for what I expect to be a brilliant final installment of the series next year.

Thursday 25 November 2010

24 November

Rich took Leen and I for dinner on high table in Worcester college tonight which was, as always, a fantastic treat.  Lovely food, and very good wine.  Great company too, with loads of other people I know in for dinner.  Becky took this photo in the bar afterwards, at 22.56.

Earlier in the day, we launched a new website at work, and I'd love you to take a look.  It's called withink, and it's an ecommerce site selling customized business stationery.

23 November

Jubilate rehearsed in Keble chapel tonight, which will be the venue for our advent concert on December 11.  It's going to be a good one, so I hope you can make it.  Photo after the rehearsal, at 21.30.

Monday 22 November 2010

22 November

Jo passed her DPhil viva today!  Well done, Dr Jo.  Celebrations happened in Manos, where I got this photo at 21.22.

Sunday 21 November 2010

21 November

Breakfast at Lower Blackaton, at 10.24.  This was followed by a drive on Dartmoor and a pub lunch in Widecombe before heading back to Oxford.  I really enjoyed the weekend: thanks for John for organizing, and to everyone there for being fun.

20 November

Today's big excursion was a less-than-sensible but lots of fun walk on Dartmoor, with John in a totally unsuitable wheelchair.  Dragging him across a muddy moor was not easy, but we made it to the pub we were aiming for, and even the wheelchair survived.  Obviously, it was fun to leave John in a puddle and take a photo at 13.43.

19 November

This weekend, we're away celebrating John's birthday.  We're staying at Lower Blackaton, which is a lovely house on Dartmoor.  Photo at 23.38.

18 November

I was very tired after yesterday's late night, so failed to go to any of the gigs in Oxford that I'd hoped to see.  Instead, I took the last chance to see The Kids Are All Right at the UPP.  It's a fantastic film which I'd very highly recommend.  Definitely one of my favourites of the year so far.  I got this photo of the Christmas display in the Westgate centre when I was buying cookies for the cinema at 18.54.

17 November

Stornoway's biggest headline gig yet happened tonight at a sold-out Shepherd's Bush Empire.  They were brilliant, of course, and the show got some well-deserved great reviews.  I got this photo at 21.42.

16 November

My 30th birthday!  Mum and Dad came to Oxford, and took Leen and I out for a delicious birthday lunch at the Mole Inn in Toot Baldon.  Dad took this photo of me looking happy with various presents, cards, and my birthday ice cream scoop at 15.26.  In the evening, some friends came round to help me with some birthday wine and some excellent birthday cake (thanks Mum!).

Thank you to everyone who has helped me celebrate my birthday this year.  I had a great party, a lovely actual birthday, and some amazing presents.  I feel very lucky.

Tuesday 16 November 2010

15 November

This is a big yellow pipe ready to be planted underneath Walton Street.  I thought it looked a bit like a fairground ride, and very out of place, and colourful, so I took a photo of it at 19.47.

14 November

Not a very good photo, but I didn't take any of me watching the Formula 1, or evensong at New College, or dinner with Leen, so instead we have tonight's second-placed quiz team at the Gardeners' Arms pub quiz.  Photo taken by someone in the next team, at 21.30.

Sunday 14 November 2010

13 November

Leen and I went to see the choir of Merton college perform a concert of various Palestrina works and Vaughan Williams' G Minor Mass (which I sang with Jubilate in March).  They're a very good choir, and it's a wonderful building, so it added up to a great evening.  Photo during the interval, at 20.16.

Saturday 13 November 2010

12 November

It really is birthday season at the moment: Lydia and John today.  Lydia's in Paris, but we went to the Rusty Bicycle to celebrate with John.  He had an unfortunate accident this week, so is currently crippled.  He drew this illustrative storyboard to explain how he managed to break his kneecap, and I thought it worthy of recording.  Apologies for the language, but it must have hurt a lot!  Photo at 19.51.