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I had some disparate kitchen-things I wanted to get today (ice cube trays, a cruet), so I went to one of my favorite stores in Oxford, Boswells. (I was going to link to them but they are so hip and technologically literate they have a URL and no actual website.) It's this wierd old, profoundly English throwback department store. It's not all scrubbed down and shiny, it certainly hasn't changed much in, oh, the last thirty years. Toys and models are upstairs, and downstairs there are four sections, luggage (which you can see from the street but can only get to through this little secret corner in the store), a pharmacy, cameras and electronics (a tiny little counter which nonetheless sells replacement MagLite bulbs, which are really hard to find), and a knicknacks and china which can only appeal to 60 year old middle class English ladies and tourists. Being in Oxford, they do well. But downstairs is my favorite place, the dim, cramped, amazing cookware department. You can find anything there, like six kinds of spatula, spare glasses for cafetieres, toastie makers shaped like cows, novelty wine corks in lurid colors, crimpers to get every last drop out of your tube of tomato paste, 1970s style iced tea pitchers, and cruets with salad dressing recipes on the side. They graciously dug new ice cube trays out of the stockroom because there had been a run on them in the hot weather. And they had Le Creuset casserole dishes on sale so I officially joined the bourgeoisie and got one.

I also walked home in the most astounding downpour. I could have waited it out in the Westgate Centre the way all other Saturday shoppers were doing, but it had been so intensely tropical all day I thought it might be nice to walk through the rain. And it was! It was like going for a refreshing afternoon swim, especially when I had to wade through a flooded street where the water level was halfway up my calves. A carful of people lurked nearby, too timid to drive through the deluge. They looked at me in astonishment as I sloshed past, laden with groceries, smiling beatifically. Their discomfort gave me schadenfreude.

It was a satisfying change from the boiling heat, and distracted me from the fact that Lebanon is being bombed to pieces for no real reason. I also noticed this interesting piece on BBC Online. As I'm sure everyone who links to it is saying - Is the BBC watching me right now? On the one hand, I'm not surprised that they do this, and I am surprised at anyone who thinks their blog is private unless they screen in from search engines and make everything friends only. I admit there's something a little bit big-brotherish about it, but it's also pretty cool, especially if they'll change anything or cover something new based on what bloggers are saying. (Assuming they're not listening to the right-wing nutter bloggers, of course.) I'm going to go write an email to Jeremy Paxman right now!

And finally, on a completely different note, look what I found!!! I squeed with joy and all at once, I was a 12 years old and trying to Dewey decimalise my bookshelf again.

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