Today marks the half-way point of my Covid quarantine, and before I get into your update, I’d like to thank each and every one of you for reading, commenting, reaching out, and sharing your thoughts and support. I have never been challenged for such a long, continuous time like this and thankfully I’m doing pretty well because, while you’re all out there, I know you are in here with me too.

I am pleased to announce that the washer/dryer from hell has been vanquished, for now. A repairman was here this morning and he replaced the broken handle, so my laundry has been freed from its imprisonment. I found a laundry service that will pick up and drop off at a reasonable price, so I may try that and see how it works. Yes, that is a bougie move, but I fear my nemesis will strike again once I feed it.

I had a decent breakfast today: A wiltshire ham and cheese toastie with coffee. It was pretty rich for me, but on the breakfast spectrum to date, it was a solid order.

This morning I had a Zoom call with the college about academic dress. If you want to learn more, click here. The session was interesting, we mainly talked about what is and is not acceptable to wear at what occasion — I’m set with bow ties, suits which they referred to casual dress, and tuxes — but the formal robes are a complete mystery to me. The academic dress is called Sub-Fusc, it’s a Latin term, and for men it means black suit, black shoes, white shirt, and a black tie. For more formal events, it’s a black tux with a black tie. And for even more formal events, it’s a tux with a white tie. Once I get free of my quarantine, I plan to visit one of the shops to see what I need. I think I need a scholar’s gown and mortar board, but I may try to get away with a cape.

There were three funny moments on the call. The first was when the professors and staff leading the session called me out because of my beard and Churchillian glasses. They said I had a good style and might be able to get away without a bow tie because my beard would hide it. I think that was meant to be funny, but part of me thinks they were mocking me. I still have not yet calibrated my British humor sensor. Second, they mentioned something about what tie to wear when we go on hunts — that got my FULL attention. And finally, which made me so happy, they outright banned clip on bow ties, which if you know me I am 100 percent opposed to, and encouraged everyone to use the untied bow tie that “is shaped like little fishes”. That gave me a big smile. See, I knew all along clip on bow ties were frowned upon.

I fully realize that this is a strange post, but for literal and mechanical reasons, I am oddly fascinated by my window on the world. First, some background. I have one window, and it looks out on Magdalen Rd. which is a fairly busy one way street with two parking lanes. Additionally, and I’ve made references to this before, there is quite a bit of foot traffic during the day and evening. Most of the day I have the window open to let in the fresh air and so I can hear cars, scooters, people, etc.

I find it interesting that many drivers seem to park facing the wrong way. I don’t know if that is rebellious laziness or something allowed.

When I first arrived in my flat, I was somewhat disappointed that my window only opened an inch, until I used all my academic prowess and observational capacity to realize that there was a small latch at the bottom of the window that, once unhooked, allowed me to open the window all the way.

It is quite secure with three, locking handles (this seems like a bit of an over-precaution) and, to the horror of everyone I Zoom with, no main screen. There is, tucked away at the top, a small vent that opens up. It does have a screen and, I’m embarrassed to say, took me about three days to realize that this secret feature was there for my convenience.

Now, I do love my window, but there is one problem: bees. Yes, this tree is filled with bees. I have no idea what kind of tree it is, but these little buggers love to visit it, and when they can, come into my room.

If it gets out of control, I may do some pruning with this butter knife.

So in conclusion, and one has to laugh because this is one more case of 2020 irony, my only source of fresh air and perspective on my little slice of Oxford is filled with a potential sting-a-rama, you just can’t make this stuff up, but fortunately, my one consolation is that they are bees and not murder hornets.