I had lunch today with Daryl D'Art, who is my Dad's Mom's Sister's Daughter's Husband. We found out he was doing a six month sabbatical in Oxford from the University of Limerick. It turns out that Friday is his last day here, so we took the opportunity to meet up and say hello before he left.
Amusingly, the only two things I knew about him before our meeting were that he is an avowed Socialist and smokes a pipe. Luckily for me (so that I could recognize him) he was smoking said pipe on the steps of the pub where we had arranged to meet. He did not have any immediately obvious exterior signs of Marxism. He was a nice older man dressed like a frumpy academic and constantly fiddling with his pipe (which, by the way, is a tremendous accoutrement with which to keep one's hands busy: cutting tobacco, tamping, lighting, fussing etc). Once we got past the initial pleasantries he dove right into a lengthy diatribe on the plight of the Proletariat (he's presently working on a book about the history of the English and Irish Labor movement). He bought me lunch and we chatted for a bit about different places we'd been and whether the fruits of my scientific work would be misappropriated by the Capitalist machine.
It was a cool conversation which reminded me of one of my favourite things about Oxford: the breadth of characters you meet walking down the street. Then I was reminded of one of my least favourite things as it absolutely poured buckets on me when I cycled back to work. Blech.