Remember the last two weeks of April? Remember the cricket, the punting, and the blissful sunshine spilling out all over the quads? Remember the Met Office blithely telling us that it was the driest April since records began in 1659? Flash-forward to May, the only one of the summer months that falls entirely in Full Term, and gaze disconsolately over a stunning vista of grey on grey. That is, if you can see it at all through the driving rain and forbidding clouds. The only people more miserable than the punters, picnickers and cricketers, are the global warming theorists. Where did it all go wrong, indeed? There is, of course, an interesting point to be made here about how our expectations change. A British summer is the worst kind of oxymoron – the type that provokes wry laughter from foreigners and indeed, most natives. Whole years drifting by without a real cause for short sleeves haven’t exactly been unheard of. I think it’s only been the last couple of years when we’ve not only had real hot weather, but a lot of it. So rather than dropping everything and rushing out at the first rays of sun, we’ve gone steadily on in libraries and workplaces, safe in the knowledge that it will still be there at the end of the day. And that’s why, I suppose, people have been stomping around the streets of Oxford taking the rain as a very personal insult. “How dare you be raining?”, we ask the sky. Never mind that it’s early May in Britain, where’s the sun? This is perhaps compounded by the fact that the clothes people choose to wear always seem to depend on yesterday’s weather, rather than today’s. If it was sunny yesterday, people will be wearing T-shirts and shorts, cotton skirts and flip-flops, in scant disregard of the puddles. It always seems to take a couple of days before it really sinks into the collective consciousness that wellies are the way to go. It’s hard to be Little Miss Sunshine when you’re wearing a miniskirt while it’s five degrees.And, of course, Oxford is so very nice in the summer time. There are the traditional pursuits, already mentioned, of cricket, eating strawberries and cream and messing about on the river. But the simple, day-to-day course of life is also immeasurably better. It’s all in the details: the scent of flowers after dark, the intense colour of the sky, cobblestones baking in the sunshine warming your feet. It’s an old cliché, but it’s true, everyone really is much more cheerful. Total strangers smile at you and hold doors open. Even the people drifting past in sub fusc seem a tiny bit more serene. The only real disadvantage is that hot weather brings the tourists out en masse – hands up who’s had to dodge a Japanese-language tour taking up most of Broad Street – but it’s perhaps not too steep a price to pay for the glorious weather. Still, there are probably wonderful things to be said about rain, although it must be said that right at this moment I am at a loss beyond the decidedly Aristotelian “it makes the plants grow”. Perhaps there is some moody poetic beauty about the dreaming spires seen through a blurring mask of rain. Still, I’m not convinced. Any beauty there is palls after ten solid days of thick grey clouds and endless downpour. There’s only so far you can go to wring literary significance out of stormy weather. Ultimately, it all comes down to the decidedly unromantic feel of rainwater down your neck, cars whooshing past through six inches of dirty water, and a sudden need for paracetamol and cough syrup. In short, there’s nothing like rain for making everybody miserable.So I shall hurry to look on the bright side – no pun intended – and remind us all that it might just be improving. No longer must I run down Holywell Street with the Cambridge New History of India on my head because the heavens are opening in cacophonous fashion above. It’s been a gradual process. At the beginning of the week, the sun came out for twenty whole minutes and rumour has it that there were people seen engaging in sporting activity. Later on, this was followed by whole days of sun, and again, a renewed hope that maybe this time we could trust it would stay. I’m particularly enjoying the nights, at the moment. The heat of the day lingers, becomes deliciously cool and still, and it’s a joy to sit outside reading or having a picnic. Let’s hope that it stays, if not for good, or even long enough to develop an even tan, but long enough to dry out my umbrella and eat ice-cream without excessive need for self-justification. And, of course, long enough for the general mood of soporific misery to leave the city with the fog.But perhaps I have been a little too scathing about the rain. If we pause to consider the even brighter side, fifty years from now, whilst we all roll in battered wheelchairs across the dried, arid sands of the Greater South-eastern Deserts of England and Wales, watching salamanders loll in the baking sun, we can look back to the good old days at Oxford, when temperatures were not hot enough to melt lead, and occasionally, water even fell from the sky. Take your comfort where you can find it is the moral of the story, I guess. More importantly, take an umbrella, and sing in the rain while it lasts.Iona Sharma
Lottie “Jane” Bruce, 90, of Moores Hill, Indiana, passed away Sunday March 25, 2018 at Ripley Crossing, in Milan. Jane was born December 13, 1927, in Cleves, Ohio, to William and Lottie (Humphrey) Bruce. She graduated from Moores Hill High School and attended the University of Cincinnati. In 1946, she married Malcolm “Mac” Bruce; they were wed for 49 years.Jane worked as a Laboratory Technician, first with Schenley Corporation and then National Lead Company. Her attention to detail led to the position of Executive Secretary to the Vice President of The Austin Company, where she was employed until her retirement. Jane and Mac enjoyed summer vacations on Long Lake in Traverse City, Michigan, along with her lifelong friend, Katherine “Tattie” Thompson and husband, Carl.Jane is survived by: her son, Bill (Connie) Bruce of Grand Haven, Michigan; sister-in-law, Grey Hammond, Cincinnati, Ohio; grandsons, Joe (Corinne) Newport News, Virginia, Jesse (Thaye), Grand Haven, Michigan; great grandchildren: Kyle, Auburn, Indiana; Zachary, Newport News, Virginia; Olivia and her namesake Hannah “Jane,” Grand Haven. She was preceded in death by her husband, Mac; brother-in-law, Edmund Hammond; and very best friend Katherine “Tattie” Thompson. Lottie Jane will be remembered for her fierce devotion to her husband, her family, and her friends.The family wishes to thank the staff of Ripley Crossing for their loving passionate care of Lottie Jane for the past three years. Also, thank you to the Mary Margaret Home Health and Hospice staff, their reassuring, gentle nursing was comforting for both Jane and our family.And, a very special, heart felt thank you to Louise Rohrig for being Jane’s helper, caregiver, and friend for many years.Funeral Services for Jane will be at 12 Noon Thursday March 29, 2018 at Sibbett-Moore Funeral Home, Moores Hill with Pastor Ted Hamrick of the Moores Hill United Methodist Church officiating. Burial will follow in Mt. Sinai Cemetery east of Moores Hill. Visitation will also be Thursday 11-12PM at the funeral home. Memorials in her memory may be made to the Moores Hill United Methodist Church. Sibbett-Moore Funeral Home entrusted with arrangements, 16717 Manchester St., Moores Hill, In 47032; (812)744.3280. Go to www.sibbettmoore.com to leave an online condolence message for the family.
Sophomore Taylor Wurtz could bury Minnesota after shooting 4-of-7 from the arc against Michigan.[/media-credit]As the conference season gets underway for the Wisconsin women’s basketball team (9-9), the Badgers have finally started to play some more familiar foes.Thursday, UW will face Minnesota for the second time in the last two weeks, just a couple games after the Badgers played Purdue twice in the same amount of time. Although this may seem like an obvious advantage, the team must remember that the Golden Gophers also have a good idea of how Wisconsin will approach the game.“The advantage is it’s fresh in your mind, you have a scouting report and you have a good idea of what they’re going to do,” Stone said at a Monday press conference. “The fact is they have a good idea what you’re going to do. And now we’re on the road, so it will be that much more difficult.”Despite a recent loss to Michigan, the Badgers have still gotten off to a solid 4-2 start in Big Ten play and realize they need to finish the season strong if they hope to bring home a conference title or qualify for the NCAA Tournament. Taking downMinnesota on the road will be no easy task, and the fact that Wisconsin’s opponent is coming off a bye week will only make things more difficult.Although road games always present a challenge, Stone recognizes that if the Badgers want to make a postseason run, they will have to reel off some tough victories away from the Kohl Center.“As a coach, you try not to make [road games] different, but it is different,” Stone said. “You can’t hide that. It’s different. You’re not at home anymore. But we’ve got to find a way and be a little tougher on the road.”The Gophers are currently winless in conference play, but Stone emphasized that their record is not changing the way Wisconsin prepares for this game. Minnesota has been in a position to win several close Big Ten games this year but has never managed to come out on top.“They’ve got good size inside that will be an imposing force for Lin Zastrow, and they need a good-sized player against Lin ,” Stone noted. “We’re not looking at the record. We know that they’re much better than their record shows, and at their place you can’t look at that record at all.”Another component of the game UW will try to regain when they travel to Williams Arena is defense, something that has been the primary focus of the team all year. Following a couple strong defensive performances to open conference play, Wisconsin surrendered 75 points to Michigan Sunday.“Tomorrow in practice, we’ll go back to some core drills,” Stone said. “Our players know it. They know we didn’t play well defensively, and that’s who we are. I expect a great response on Thursday.”Success in the two upcoming games against Minnesota and Illinois could certainly depend on the play of guard Taylor Wurtz. The sophomore kept UW in the game against the Wolverines, hitting 4-of-7 shots from beyond the arc in the loss.Wurtz, who has continued to improve over the year, led Wisconsin with 14 points and once again showed the coaching staff how important her performance is to this team.“I continue to encourage her to shoot the ball,” Stone said. “That’s her role on our team. She’s got to score the ball and rebound for us, and she’s been doing a great job. Last night, her second half was huge in our comeback.”If the Badgers plan to close out the season in an impressive manner, they will have to continue to limit their turnovers. An area of the game Wisconsin struggled with early in the year, they have vastly improved their ability to take care of the ball and have averaged just over 13 turnovers per game in Big Ten competition.“Our turnovers have a direct effect on our defense,” Stone said. “If we turn it over, there’s nothing we can do in transition defense when they’re getting a run out. Our defense relies on our offense taking care of the ball.”