Oxford Archives ~ Bodlein

Continuing posting from my archives to refresh our memory of our time in Oxford and to remind us of what we do not want to miss this time around. We will be making sure to sign up for a tour of the Bodlein Library this time in September of 2022.
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This magnificent room in the Bodlein in Oxford was used as the Hogwarts Infirmary in the Harry Potter movies. The detail of the carved ceiling is amazing, don’t you think?

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Oxford Day 6 074Our timing wasn’t the best to be able to get the guided tour of the library room while we were in Oxford in 2014. You have to sign up for their timed tours and we were a bit late out of the gate to do that. Next time…


Portal to Hogwarts?

I think we’ve found a way to reach Hogwarts from the Northwest. I love this mile marker on the Sammamish River Trail. I rushed towards it but nothing happened… but I think I’m way too old for Hogwarts.

So at 12:01 a.m. July 15th  you can go see the latest Harry Potter Movie to hit the big screen. I’ll be in bed. I choose to go to theaters when I am awake. My daughter and a few of my nieces, nephews, and SIL will be in the theater tonight in Washington and California. Only one more book that is being made into two films after this one…(thanks for correcting me, Sara) :0)

Photobucket is holding all my photos that I stored on their site from 2007-2015 hostage replacing them with ugly grey and black boxes and asking for a large ransom to retrieve them. It is a slow process to go through all my posts deleting the ugly boxes.

A Meme about Books

 Willow from Willow’s Cottage tagged me for a meme about Books. I had to think a while on this one and I’m sure my answers might change as time goes on or as my memory clears here and there…

The Bible would fill the bill for many of these answers for me but I’m going to answer with books written by human beings…

1. A book that has changed your life.

I loved Willow’s answer about Dick and Jane. I too remember how thrilled I was to be able to read those books, hold them in my hand. I even remember the smell, putting in the book mark, not wanting my reading time to ever end but I’m going to come up with something different…

I’m going to say that being able to read and enjoying reading and reading a variety of books through my life has changed my life for the better. From Dick and Jane, to the Little House on the Prairie Series, The Freddy the Pig Series, some classics, some good Christian non-fiction, George MacDonald, C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, Stephen Lawhead, R.C. Sproul. That might be cheating but I really can’t point to one book except the Bible that has changed my life all by itself.

2. A book you read more than once

Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit both by Tolkien, The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, Byzantium by Stephen Lawhead, The Harry Potter Series

(and of course all those childrens books that I read over and over and over to my kids)

3. A book you would take to a desert island.

Before I answer I was wondering… What is a desert Island? A deserted Island? An Island that doesn’t get rainfall? Anyway it for sure doesn’t sound like somewhere I’d want to be so maybe I would take a book I can escape into and be inspired by like,

The Lord of the Rings

4. A book that made you laugh.

Lots of them have but right now I am reading Anne of Green Gables and it has made me laugh a lot.

5. A book that made you cry

The last time I read the Lord of the Rings and got to the last page I closed the book and wept and thanked God that He gave someone such a talent to write like that. I also cried at the end of the last Harry Potter Book…

6. A book you wish you had written

Something classified as being a classic. But honestly I don’t know if I’d be comfortable living with such brilliance. So maybe a beloved children’s book like The Pokey Little Puppy.

7. A book you wish had not been written.

I’m drawing a blank here. There is a lot of trash out there in the form of books.

8. Two books you are at present reading.

Right now besides the book of Hebrews (I’m on a quest to try to read every book of the Bible 20x before moving on to the next) I am reading Anne of Green Gables.

9. Two books you are going to read.

I’m on a reading children’s classics kick. I’m going to read The Wind in the Willows. Then I just got an Elizabeth Goudge book called The Child From the Sea that I’ll be reading too.

10. A book you read and never figured out.

Oh this is an easy one for me. I so enjoy George MacDonald but one of his books just bewildered me. It’s called Lilith. It’s one of his fantasy books. If anyone has read it and wants to explain it to me, I’m all ears. I really think I get along better with his regular fiction not his fantasy…

So there you have it. If anyone would like to join in on this meme please do and let me know when you do…

Some of the Cutest Harry Potter Fans I Know

 Bridget ~ Julie ~ Erin ~ Lucy

 Hands Down the Most Adorable Owlet ~ Finn

One of the most loyal Harry Potter Fans in the World and Finn’s Mother

Michelle, Katie and Kelly discussing Harry and all the possibilities.

Loved the Box Our Copy Came In with Attention Muggles Do Not Deliver or Open Before July 21st!

An Older less cute fan…

Katie almost done with the book at 8:00 PM Pacific Time

And now off to a corner to read till the end.

Ht: I stole photos from Erin’s blog and Bridget’s blog. Please let me know soon if you’d like me to give them back!

My photos are being held hostage at the Photobucket site as of July 2017.

Summer Reading Challenge 2007

Here are my list of books for the Summer Reading Challenge…better late than never. Still completing my Spring challenge books. So for the summer…

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and these….

Hood by Stephen Lawhead

Ancient Christian Devotional (year long)

Linnets and Valerians by Goudge

The little White Horse by Goudge

The Nine Tailors by Dorothy Sayers

Have His Carcase by Dorothy Sayers

The Documents in the Case by Dorothy Sayers

Knowing Scripture by R.C. Sproul

Stepping Heavenward by Prentiss

Future Grace by John Piper

I’m also in the midst of my daily Bible reading. I’m reading every book 20 times starting with the shorter books in the New Testament. I’m on I Timothy right now and I’ll move to Philippians next. By the end of the summer I might have 3 more books of the Bible completed…

I might also add any good books I find at Goodwill during the summer…:)

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

I hope to join the fun at Seasonal Soundings….

Walking Tour in Great Britain~Wales~Lakes~Scotland~York

In May of 2006 “Dear” and I traveled to Great Britain with 4 of our best friends. Our travel itinerary arranger was Jody and she did a fantastic job finding lovely non-smoking B & B’s with parking and good food. She also made the arrangements for a 7 passenger van that we used for the trip. It was a tight fit with 6 of us and luggage, but we managed. We all just packed one bag that we carried on the plane. (This was before liquids were not allowed anymore in carry-ons). So here’s a short explanation with pictures of our tour.

I’ll be your tour guide. The picture below is of “Dear” and I taken in Edinburgh at a Turkish restaurant.

We flew into Manchester Airport, picked up our van, and headed West to Wales. Our first B & B was in Conwy. The grounds of our B & B shared the castle walls. This was the view from our bedroom window.

The day after we arrived we tried to climb Mt. Snowden, the highest Peak in England and Wales. The day was very blustery and we were literally blown around on the upper part of the mountain and never made it to the top.

This is a Stile (steps for scaling a wall or fence). We felt like we were in a Jane Austen novel. The trail was very rocky, there was loose and fixed shale. It was uneven and very steep which made it hard on the ankles and knees.

Jan and I were happy to turn back half-way up but “Dear”, Bob and Jody made it further up till the wind got to be too much. Dave had an injury shortly before we left on this trip so he could not join us on the more strenuous hikes.

See the shale on the trail?

After that grueling hike this was our first pain killer of choice.

Then we were rewarded for such a heroic attempt by eating out at Bistro Conwy one of the highlights of our trip.

Dave the primo photographer and Jody at Bistro Conwy.

“Dear” and I shared the Welsh Lamb Shoulder. Oh my gosh, good to the last drop in a tasty reduced sauce.

On our 3rd day we headed north to the Lake District. We stayed at Hollows Farm, a 17th century National Trust owned farm outside of Keswick in the Borrowdale Valley along Derwent River. We were literally on the path of many wonderful walking trails. It is here that I heard my first Cuckoo Bird. They actually sing “coo coo, coo coo!”

The farm is in the background.

This was lambing season and it was so much fun to see all the little lambs frolicking about. The walks along River Derwent were wonderful. We went through kissing gates and over stone bridges.

Beatrix Potter’s Derwentwater and trails around this area are the inspiration for some of her books.

Jody, Jan and Bob made it to the top of the Catsbells overlooking Derwentwater.

We checked out of Hollows Farm on a Sunday and  found a little church to go to in Keswick and had some food for our Souls before we continued North to Oban, Scotland.

 In Oban we stayed at a waterfront B & B for two nights.

Our B & B is the fourth one from the left

From Oban we took a ferry to the Isle of Mull. We crossed Mull via tour bus to get to a smaller ferry that took us to the Isle of Iona. We were all so happy we followed through on plans to come to this Isle. Mull and Iona are part of the Inner Hebrides Islands. The Isle was full of history about the Book of Kells, Columba, Viking raids and the advancement of Christianity into Scotland and beyond. So much amazing history on such a small isle!

On our final morning in Oban we toured the Oban Distillery and tasted Scotch. Even though it was quality stuff only one of us truly appreciated the taste of it. We all appreciated the history and being shown the process.

We now drove Southeast across Scotland to our next stop Edinburgh.

With the help of knowledgeable staff at the Starbucks in Edinburgh we managed to find the Elephant house. This is where J.K. Rowling is said to have mulled over a cup of coffee while writing her first Harry Potter novel.

This is our B & B in Edinburgh . It is here that we experienced our first taste of Haggis, it really was quite nice. We relied heavily on the bus system here and that worked well for us.

From Edinburgh we drove to York which would be the end of the trail for “Dear and I”. Dave, Jody, Bob, and Jan would continue on from York to Bath and London.

York has wonderful cobblestone streets and narrow passageways to explore. Our B & B was just a few blocks outside the city walls and we enjoyed seeing most of York. The free guided tour was worth it, rich with history and information.

One of the highlights of our trip was our ongoing quest to find the best Sticky Toffee Pudding in Great Britain. If you have never tried this wonderful dessert you have truly missed a gastronomical delight!

From York “Dear”and I walked to the train station and boarded a train that took us straight to Manchester Airport. We exited the train took the escalator and were in the airport, fantastic! Here are the three couples who walked, prayed, ate, conversed, drank, hiked, and discovered so many wonderful sights together.

Bob and Jan in Keswick

Dave and Jody (the master planner) in Oban

Ellen and “Dear” in Conwy

The Three Amigas

The three of us have been walking together on Saturdays in Seattle for a few years now. We walk 6 miles and we talk and keep each other accountable. We try to be real and speak the truth into each other. We confess to each other and love each other, deeply. What a blessing God has given us in this friendship. When I’m in California I miss my girls!

Britain with Lewis, Tolkien, Austen and (Monty Python!)

For our daughter Katie’s high school graduation in 2004, “Dear” and I took her to Great Britain. Katie is a reader, a learner, a writer, a poet and an artist. We asked her what she’d want to see and she came up with the brilliant idea of following some of her favorites around the Isle! The following is a photo log of our trip that we can highly recommend to all lovers of Hobbits, Inklings, Literary Giants, 19th Century England, Harry Potter, and wacky Holy Grail enthusiasts!

The Eagle and Child (The Bird and Baby) Oxford

We set out from our first B & B base in Cheltenham to tour Oxford. Our first stop was The Eagle and Child (The Bird and the Baby) where the Inklings would meet and discuss their current writings, thoughts, etc.

The pictures on the wall are of C. S. Lewis, Tolkien, and other Inklings, plus letters, etc. We had a bite to eat and a pint was raised to toast our respected authors! “It comes in pints?”

Addison’s Walk

“Dear” and Katie on Addison’s Walk. This is on the grounds of Magdalan College (pronounced Maudlin) where Tolkien and Lewis would walk and have long conversations, after which C. S. Lewis was converted to Christianity. We found it, walked it and reflected on the beauty and wonder of it all!

Tolkien lived at 21 Merton St. after his wife died in 1971.

Katie would not let us leave Oxford till we found Tolkien’s grave. This was no small feat! Here we are at Wolvercote Cemetery in North Oxford at the graveside where he and his wife are buried. His son is buried here, also.  Katie left a note in Elvish, (yes, she learned to write and speak Tolkien’s Elvish).

1889 – 1971
1892 – 1973


Our next excursion took us in search of Hobbits in the Cotswolds. This is the little village of Buckley. While in the Cotswolds we also visited the Hidcote Garden which we highly recommend. We were here in April so gardens were not in their prime. If you get a Heritage pass this garden is part of the deal along with some of the castles and other sights we visited.

Hidcote Manor Garden

We next concentrated on Jane Austen. Our first excursion on this theme took us to Bath. We walked around the city finding the places she stayed and where some of the social gatherings happened in her books. Our prior research and guidebooks explained where these sights were. We imagined being at a dance or performance in these grand halls. We toured the Roman baths, Bath Abbey, and Number One on the Royal Crescent where Austen lived while in Bath. Two of her novels are set in Bath. On a side trip we visited Gloucester Cathedral where parts of Harry Potter movies were filmed.

Jane Austen Center, Bath

We left our first B & B in Cheltenham and headed Northeast to our second B & B in Sheffield. Although Sheffield wasn’t a comfy, cozy, little town it gave us good access to continue following Austen haunts. (I’d definitely pick some place more quaint to stay the next time we tour this area). The photo below is of Chatsworth House. The house Jane Austen based Darcy’s family home after. The new Pride and Prejudice movie actually filmed segments here. We were here in 2004 before the new film.  The estate was quite breathtaking. The small village of Bakewell close by was very reminiscent of  Lambton where Jane and her Aunt and Uncle stayed in Derbyshire.

Chatsworth House (Pemberley House)

“Every disposition of the ground was good; and Elizabeth looked on the whole scene — the river, the trees scattered on its banks, and the winding of the valley, as far as she could trace it — with delight.”

Bakewell (Lambton)

From Sheffield we continued North and a little East to the wonderful walled city of York. We dropped our rental car off here because you do not need a car in this compact city and from here we were taking a train to Edinburgh. We had the coolest walking tour book of this city and we were able to see a lot of things we would have missed without it. York Minster is a beautiful  Gothic Cathedral and we would recommend attending Evensong there.

From York we traveled by train north to Edinburgh. We arrived in Edinburgh found our self catering flat we rented and toured Edinburgh Castle and as much of Edinburgh our tired bodies could endure. We ate at a nice pub where Katie says she had the best hamburger she’s ever eaten.

Edinburgh Castle

 Our main side trip from Edinburgh was by bus to Stirling with a connecting bus to the little town of Doune where you’ll find Castle Doune. Castle Doune is the sight of some of the filming of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. This was a must stop for our daughter Katie. We were the only people at the castle (it was part of our Heritage Pass). To those of you who are familiar with this film you are handed coconut shells to walk around the grounds with. We were throwing out lines from the movie (Run Away, run away!) and making horse clip clop noises (with the coconut shells). They even take a picture of you here and post it on the official web page for Castle Doune and Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Hilarious fun. Back in Edinburgh we were given bad directions to the Elephant Cafe and never found it. So our Harry Potter sightings had to be confined to the outside of Bodleian Library (Oxford) and the outside of Gloucester Cathedral (Gloucester) where filming took place.

Castle Doune

From Edinburgh we took a train straight to London. We were finishing our trip here with so much to see. We walked our feet off. We went to the National Gallery, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral, The Tower of London (photo), and so much more. We were here for the Queen’s 80th birthday and got to hear and see the cannons speak 80 times! One of my favorite sites in London is the British Library and their Greatest Treasures Room. You’ll see the Gutenberg Bible, Magna Carta, many incredible Sacred Texts, Literary Manuscripts by Austen, Bronte’, Chaucer, etc. Music on loan from the Beatles.  A must see when you’re in London. We included a trip to the theater to see Les Miserables. London was a wonderful culmination to a great tour of Great Britain.

The Tower of London and Tower Bridge

Here’s the main contributor and researcher for our marvelous literary tour of Great Britain.

Katie, our Seattle Girl.