|Like The Queen
Whatever happens to strike my fancy, but surely some sort of fiber content.
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Friday, June 13, 2003
ENGLAND IN MAY
Today is a RainyDay - a real English rainy day - chilly, gray, but, to my joy, exactly what I wanted on this visit. On our travels I overhear an American woman from California murmur that everything is so gloomy. Not for me. I am sure I could grow tired of it, but I haven’t yet.
We go off solo, BD and I, to Oxford, to the Ashmolean Museum to see Pohatan’s mantel - 4 hides, sewn together, embroidered in cowry shells. BD is busy photographing and taking notes. This cloak had been given to John Smith - the story goes P whipped it off his back, in a Raleigh-esque gesture, and presented it to Smith ... but of course, Smith told the story. Smith gave it to John Tradescant who left it to the Ashmoleans who used their collection to start the first public museum in England.
Our trip out is an adventure, though, for every train is packed full. At Liverpool, BD decides to take the bus to Paddington - across town in the rush hour! It’s a traffic nightmare. An hour on the bus and 30 minutes walking after we find out we’re on the wrong one.
Oxford is very august. The colleges are spectacular examples of stone architecture.
I get my obligatory LibrariansTouristPhoto on the steps of the Bodleian Library - though we don't go inside. We tramp around the city till 6 but many colleges are closed to the public. Is it exam time? I never ask. For L18, though, we take a brief bus tour and hear many interesting stories. But it’s so foggy and rainy, we can’t really see out the windows.
The town is full of scholarly looking folk, young and eager, middle aged and ... if not smug looking ... at least very fatherly. My question - how can these buildings all look so similar when they were built, or at least the colleges were all founded over a span of 300 years? The most impressive thing is the Magdalin Chapel -pronounced Maudlin.
Rain off and on all day, sometimes pretty heavy, that is the feel of Oxford. Without D, we get to every train station just as our train is pulling out, so we get lots of opportunities to people watch, and I, to sketch.
A fellow at the Oxford station is waiting with an Airedale - who leaps in joy when "mama" gets off a train. It makes me a little homesick for our dogs. This is the first pang of anything like homesickness I've felt on the trip.
The train we do catch is packed, and it's standing room only on the tube and almost as bad on the London-Chelmsford line.
My fashion note for today is that nearly every man in England has his hair pushed up in front like this fellow - a daddy reading one of those glaring newspapers while riding home on the train.
We’re home by 9 but BD insists we eat something, so as not to put our hosts out. We stop at a fish & chips shop run by Turks who are friendly and chatty and invite us to visit their country. Of course, A has a full dinner waiting for us at home, so BD manfully eats another meal.
posted by Bess | 7:14 AM