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Ecthelion goes to Oxenmoot 99 Sept 24-26, 1999


Hi all Ecthelion here and I will tell a little about Oxenmoot. First of all is Oxenmoot a "moot" (i.e. meeting) by the Tolkien society (U.K.). It was held in Oxford at Professor Tolkiens old college Exeter, which by the way is a charming old college worth visiting on its own, where we were also housed. Since I'm not an Englishman I arrived at Oxford, via Heathrow, approx. 6 PM. I started with leaving my bags in my room and went to the REGISTRATION. Full of anticipation I journeyed towards the registration which was at the college-pub. So I bravely entered and registered for my first ever Oxenmoot. Once at the desk I received a hearty welcome and got my register-kit of which the most important was the Badge. The badge is a source of information first of all it contains the name of the bearer, this is a good thing especially for a first-timer like me, and it is also color-coded. For instants I got a white one so that everyone who I asked a maybe not to intelligent question could see right away that I was indeed a first timer who didn't know anything. Furthermore the Oxenmoot subcommittee had there own color so that everyone could ask them.

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Then it was time for the Friday-evening meal at "The Mitre" a "local" near the college. We had a nice three course meal (and drinks) during what time we got to know eachother. Since all Tolkien lovers are friendly we continued at the college pub afterwards (they did have non-alcoholic drinks as well !!). For those who hadn't had enough at closing time the fun continued in the Teleri-cicrle, which is a gathering of people who read poetry, sings or just like listening. I on the other hand was not able to go since I had a very important thing to do on Saturday morning. Saturday morning started with breakfast, well not just breakfast but an English breakfast, i.e. sausages, beans, eggs etc., so after some tea I felt ready for the main Event - the trivia-contest.

The Oxenmoot trivia contest is for three-man teams and is in a cupform, i.e. the winning team advances to the next round. And here my hat goes off to the trivia team who had come up with really tricky questions. After a long, hard and well fought contest there was a winner.......... And the winning team was.......

FORGOIL!!!!!!!!!! A team made up solely by Swedes and I must confess that I was myself a member of the winning team. So after the best possible start of the day I went first to look at the art-exhibition, which was truly great, and thereafter went to the salesroom. This is not a thing for the weak-hearted or the compulsive buyers. In the salesroom you have just about everything you ever wanted by Tolkien plus a lot of Tolkien inspired or related work and a lot of other fantasy stuff. I was determined to hold on hard to my wallet before entering and it worked out well except for the tiny detail of my credit card. Since I'm afraid that my mother might read this I can't tell you how much I spent. Well ok then I bought only half as much as I wanted to and not nearly as much as I really needed to. But the gem of it all was the millennium edition of LOTR, seven volumes + a CD with Prof. Tolkien reading extracts of LOTR, and I am also rather glad that I got a copy of "Smith of Wootton major".

At 12 Miss Priscilla Tolkien had a reception, with food and drink, in the main hall. This is of course very much appreciated since it gives everyone a chance to greet the professor's lovely and indeed very hospitable daughter. In the afternoon it continued with a concert by the "Tolkien Ensemble" from Denmark who performed work from their new CD: A Night in Rivendell. If you do like this kind of music I can really recommend it! From there on it were various forums, slideshow and workshops.

But if none of these things interests you, one is free to visit all (well not really all) the pubs you want or just take a tour of the really wonderful town of Oxford. From eight o clock the college pub opened and the main hall opened for a really Tolkienesque evening. There were music, singing and reading but most of all there was the costume-contest in which all sorts of costumes were entered. But as always after making the pub-staff work for their money they closed. So we had to organize some after parties to keep up the good work.

On Sunday morning after all perky ones had had breakfast we entered the buses that would take us to Wolvercote Cemetery where we should have Enyalie or remembrance at the graveside of Edith and JRR Tolkien. This was truly worth the ticket. It was a memorable moment when we laid the wreaths by the graveside. Priscilla at home was next on the list for those fortunate to get an invitation. Since I was a first-timer I were the lucky keeper of one such invitation. One of the buses took us to the home of Priscilla where she met us and personally greeted every one of us personally. As a bonus her brother John Tolkien was also there and entertained everyone who wanted to listen to him. This was a visit I shall always treasure, she and the rest of the family that was there really made me feel welcome and they also seemed pleased with that we had an interest in Prof. Tolkiens work. All things must come to an end and sadly enough this was the case even for me and Oxenmoot. After leaving Priscilla we went back to the college for lunch at a Tolkien-related pub and then it was time for goodbye. We all promised to see each other next year and went off to our respective travel arrangements.

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To conclude I must say that it was a truly exceptional event and I will treasure the memories until I can return. You must all forgive me if there is something I have forgotten anything but in true hobbit- spirit we had a lot of good food and drink. This is Ecthelion signing off, 'Anar kaluva telyanna!'

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