Sneak Peek to Blenheim

Today Thursday the 22nd of September and the first day of Autumn we walked our feet off. After our hotel breakfast at 7am we walked to a free entrance to Blenheim Palace grounds only to find out the paths we wanted to take were closed and restricted because of work being done with dredging in the lake. We walked around the restricted paths and found our way to the Harry Potter Tree which I will post about later. Back to town and showers and lunch and then back to Blenheim grounds for a ticket to tour the grounds. On Friday we are heading back to Oxford for our last night in the United Kingdom.

Quiet Today…

Today Monday September 19th should be a quieter day here because of the Queen’s funeral and it being a bank holiday here in the United Kingdom.

We stocked up on picnic supplies to enjoy in our apartment today during the funeral televised on the major channels here.

Grocery stores are closed today. Some of the other businesses will have open hours today. We are going to have an off day today just relaxing in our apartment, eating up what we have on hand. Curious as to what we purchased? Well let me tell you anyway. We have a beautiful loaf of Rosemary Sour Dough bread we purchased at the amazing Gail’s Bakery. We have a lovely Pear tartlet and Strawberry tart with custard we purchased at Paul Bakery. We have salami, cheese, olives & feta combo, avocado, grapes, tomatoes purchased at Sainsbury. We won’t starve.

Later I’ll share about the nice Sunday we had worshipping at a church service here in Oxford and our other Sunday experiences.

Evening Posting Oxford Time

Today, Tuesday October, oops September13th! was a full day on our feet. It’s almost 7PM here and almost 11AM at home. (Thank you, Vera, I was really tired when I posted this.

A Full English Breakfast, The Covered Market, The Bodlein 1 hour tour, Grocery shopping and more. As it happens the tour we signed up for in the afternoon turned out to be a private tour since no one else signed up. We ended at the Turf Tavern and are now at our apartment falling asleep as we watch the evening news here in Oxford.

Good night from Oxford. Hope you all have a good day.

Birthday Dinner on the ‘Coast’

Our kids on the coast planned a birthday dinner for their dad since we had to travel to that side of the state to fly out on Sunday. It was a lovely dinner and time together. I wanted to document it before Oxford takes over in my posts. Our kids on our side of the mountains had a delicious meal for Gramps on his day and we didn’t take a photo. Addy and JJ made cards for Gramps. All the kids went in on a very nice gift, too.

Off we go. We arrived and we are settling into our apartment for the next 9 days.

After we got settled we stepped out to find something for dinner. We passed the Wesley Memorial Methodist church. I’m always attracted to old substantial doors and doorways.

We enjoyed a traditional steak and ale pie and conversation with a couple from Finland and a young lady from Thailand.

Hopefully we’ll have a good nights sleep after being up for many hours and crossing too many time zones. Cheers!

Another Year

We grieve with Great Britain at the passing of beloved Queen Elizabeth II on her death yesterday. Shedding tears here. It was her appointed time dying at Balmoral, a place that seemed to bring her lots of comfort. We have no idea how the grieving period in Great Britain will impact our trip this coming week but our time will be historic. 

Today is Dear’s 69th birthday.  We will be celebrating his last year in his 60’s tonight and tomorrow, too. All these photos I’m sharing today are from 2006 when he was in his 50’s. We recently copied the photos from a disc from our trip with friends on what we called a Walking Tour of Great Britain. We were in Conwy Wales, The Lake District, Oban, Edinburgh and York from May 2nd until the 12th, 2006.

We flew into Manchester. There were six of us on this trip. We rented a vehicle and headed to Conwy, Wales.

The view from our bedroom at our Bed and Breakfast in Conwy.

The 2nd day in Wales we attempted to climb Mt. Snowden.

Still smiling at the beginning of the hike. It really was a difficult ascent and much more difficult descent because of the slipping steep shale path. Jan and I made it 2.6 miles and we decided to turn around and head back. The other 3 troopers carried on for another mile but had to turn back because of the high wind. It was windy enough to move our bodies. In total 5.2 miles for Ellen and Jan, 7.2 miles for Bob, Dear, and Jody. We were sore and our knees suffered for the rest of our trip.

The very bright side to this day was our dinner at Bistro Conwy. One of the best meals we’ve ever enjoyed at a restaurant. Leek soup w/potato and bacon, Casaba salad with melon-strawberries-kiwi-with a raspberry sorbet sauce-mushroom tartlets-lamb shoulder in reduction with potatoes and vegetables. Sticky toffee pudding with chocolate sauce for dessert.

From Wales we traveled to the Lake District and stayed on a working farm. We had a few Derwent River walks.

While Bob, Jan and Jody scaled this path to the top of Cats Bells, Dear’s knees stopped here on this grassy knoll and we made our way back to our Farmhouse B&B.

From the Lake District we traveled to Oban, Scotland.

From Oban we took a ferry to the Isle of Mull and traveled across the island to catch a ferry to the little island of Iona.

From Oban we traveled to Edinburgh.

In Edinburgh we visited Elephant House with ties to the writing of the Harry Potter books.

Our last stop was York and we enjoyed our favorite Sticky Toffee Pudding here.

We won’t be enjoying Sticky Toffee Pudding today but hopefully within a weeks time we will.

Grow Old With Me Hodgepodge

 

If it’s Wednesday, it must be Hodgepodge. Thank you Jo From This Side of the Pond for gathering the questions.

1. Tell us a little bit about the best birthday you’ve ever had. 

My 60th and 70th birthdays were over the top wonderful. Filled with face to face time with friends and family. Delightful surprises planned with love. Delicious food, beautiful flowers and precious gifts. So thankful for the time and energy and travel my dear friends and our family honored me with. The bonus on my 70th were the addition of one more daughter, son and two grandchildren.

 

2.  In what way(s) have you changed in the last five years? 

Four years ago I became a country mouse after being a city mouse for 66 years! My role as a Baba (grandmother) is a change in the best of ways. My body is letting me know I’m aging. The mirror is confirming that fact.

I’m becoming more reformed in my faith concentrating on a Biblical world view that is shaped by a better understanding of the Providence of God and the Sovereignty of God coming from the belief in the inerrancy of scripture from Genesis to Revelation. Truth Matters!

3. What’s your favorite thing about the street on which you live? 

It’s mostly flat and I can make it to town when it snows.

4. The Hodgepodge lands on National Beer Day…are you a beer drinker?

Dear bringing our pints at the Castle Hotel in Conwy, Wales.

I’ve been known to enjoy a pint here and there. Soon I’ll be enjoying half-pints in cozy pubs. Reminds me of the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit Pippin’s exclamation when Merry sits down next to him with a pint of ale, “it comes in pints?!”

Pippin:
What’s that?

Merry:
This, my friend, is a pint.

Pippin:
It comes in pints?

Pippin:
I’m getting one.

Buttermere Ale IPA at the Bridge Hotel in Buttermere in the Lake District 2006

What’s a recipe you make that lists beer as one of the ingredients? If not beer, how about yeast?

We have used beer in some marinades or in a stew here and there.

5. As I grow older I would like to be a woman who __________________________.

loves my God and Savior more, with the proof in the pudding…

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

This is our granddaughter’s drawing of me at my 70th dinner celebration. She was so enamored of the crown and the birthday sash.

Oxford Archives ~ Doors and Fences

‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.’

This is a post from my archives from 2014.

Oxford Day 6 040Our tour guide in Oxford, July of 2014, said that there are stories about this door being an inspiration to C.S. Lewis on the writing of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe as he was housed behind this door from time to time.

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Oxford Day 6 041and just to the right of this doorway was this…

Oxford Day 6 042…the lamp post that served as the model in the story.

Good story if it’s true and you can see the inspirations are there. The Chronicles of Narnia are a favorite of mine.

There is so much great history to hear about and see in Oxford. We are already talking about spending at least a couple days in this city the next time we visit Jolly Old England. 

Back to the present. Not just a couple more days but our apartment is booked for 9 days!

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This fence with “Head” posts is in Oxford England close to the Bodlein and and next to the Sheldonian Theater and Old Ashmolean. Each post has a different head.

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Last night while Dear and I watched an episode of Inspector Morse they drove on the street next to this fence. I enjoy seeing places we have walked when we watch shows like Morse, Inspector Lewis, or Lord Peter Whimsy series from Dorothy Sayers mysteries.

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Oxford Day 6 079I didn’t have a lot of time to research why there are heads on each of these posts and information about them isn’t an easy click away.

During our 2022 visit to Oxford we do intend to take in the Sheldonian and a few museums, too. I found this Youtube description and some history of the Sheldonian.

This is my last archive post of Oxford. The days are ticking down for our trip in September.

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…

 

Revisiting Oxford Posts ~ Balliol College

Our internet these days is painfully slow. Uploading anything new is a huge challenge. In the meantime, I’m revisiting my posts from our July 2014 trip to England and specifically our day in Oxford. Remembering and making notes on what to see if we can indeed travel in September.

On Wednesday July 9th (Day 6 of our England Trip) we boarded a train in Moreton in Marsh to Oxford for the day. We found free parking on the street close to the station. The train ride was a short 37 minutes. Since parking in Oxford is a challenge and you are advised to use park and rides on the outskirts of town we thought a train ride close to the center of town was the best option for us.

Oxford Day 6 011We opted to go to the visitor center and sign up for a walking tour. There were a few other tour options but they seemed a little too hawkish for our taste.

We only visited one of the colleges with the tour guide. The oldest Oxford college continuously on one site, co-founded by a woman, Balliol is home to young people from many different backgrounds who have come to study with world-class academics.

Oxford Day 6 012Each of the Oxford Colleges to my understanding have their own chapel, dining hall, libraries, and dormitories.

Oxford Day 6 013Some inside views of the William Butterfield chapel.

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Oxford Day 6 023These are the outside views of the chapel designed by William Butterfield in 1857.

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Oxford Day 6 026This was the dining hall for the college.

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Oxford Day 6 032Oxford is a very bicycle friendly town and on our walk around town it seemed we were more in danger from being hit by a bike than a car.

Oxford Day 6 033Because of the way this chap was dressed our tour guide said that he’d be sitting for exams. The white bow tie was significant as to what exams he’d be sitting for. There are dress codes that are still observed for taking exams and other ceremonies, too.

After Balliol our tour guide showed us some other major sites in Oxford that I will post about soon. When our tour was over Dear and I spent some time at Trinity College and Magdalen College before we met up with a couple we met on the tour from Vancouver Island at the Oldest Pub in Oxford.

The Left Coast Hodgepodge

Jo From This Side of the Pond has some beachy questions for us today.

1. Do you like the beach?

Yes, I like the beach. I like to walk at the beach, especially in the winter. I’m not a fan of heat and being overheated. I like to walk the pier, watch the waves and enjoy the cool breezes. We lived in Huntington Beach from 1975-1984. We lived in Ventura (which is a beach town) from 1984-1988. We lived in Camarillo, 8 miles from the beach from 2006-2010. While we lived in Camarillo we drove to Emma Wood State Beach most every Saturday morning to walk the beach at dawn. The collage at the top of this post include photos from Emma Wood.

How far do you have to drive to get to the nearest beach?

Since my definition of beach is related to an ocean we would have to drive over 450 miles to get to the Pacific Ocean.

If you are talking about a sandy or pebbly shore we could get to one of those in under 10 miles. We live close to the Columbia River, Lake Roosevelt and other lakes and rivers.

Your least favorite thing about the beach?

Getting sandy or sunburned.

Last beach trip you took? 

I flew to Southern California in June and stayed with my sister in Huntington Beach and enjoyed walking at Corona Del Mar and Huntington Beach.

2. Are you known for making waves or are you more of a ‘go along to get along’ kind of person? Explain.

Hmm, if I have to make waves I will but it’s not my first choice. When something goes against my beliefs I won’t compromise. I don’t nod my head or keep silent when someone presumes to speak on my behalf and what is said is not part of my convictions. I will challenge things said that aren’t the truth in proper settings, when it’s within my boundaries to say something and could make a difference.

3. A favorite song that in some way references the beach?

I’ll give the beach nod to our Marine son-in-law and all Marines!

A favorite book and/or movie with a beach-y setting? 

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader from The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

4. Tuesday is National Simplicity Day…what’s a simple pleasure you’ve enjoyed this week?

The simple pleasure of enjoying my cup of coffee each morning and the pleasure of the morning unfolding.

What’s something you could eliminate from your life to make things simpler? 

Extra weight on my body. My current clothes would fit better and my movements would be easier. It’s harder to move excess weight around,

5. What’s something you love to do? Do you do it often? Why or why not? 

I love to plan a trip. I don’t do it often, maybe once a year or every two years. It’s fun to anticipate a journey or a destination that will be fun to experience. I find the more I research the destination the more enjoyment it gives me when we get there.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Two months from today, Lord willing, me and Dear will be in Oxford, England for about 12 days. I’m doing what I love and making plans for our days there. We will be staying in an apartment in Oxford (central) for 9 of the nights, 2 nights in a hotel in Woodstock, and our last night back in Oxford in a hotel.  When we had our trip planned in 2020 that got cancelled for obvious reasons, we were reimbursed for everything but a day tour we had booked with Go Cotswolds, a small touring company. We asked them to keep our money just in case we were able to return to England in the future. They were appreciative as they had to cancel so many tours and the more people that kept their reservations on hold allowed them to stay in business during the tough season everyone was in. We contacted them and they were so gracious to honor our two year deposit for a day tour. They are flourishing again in their business. We will hop on the train in Oxford to Moreton in Marsh and get picked up for a day in the small villages of the Cotswolds. Another tour we have on the books is The Kilns, the home of C.S. Lewis just outside Oxford. We will ride a bus to Headington for that tour. We are not renting a vehicle for this trip but depending solely on public transportation and our own two feet . Most of our sight seeing will be right in Oxford. There is so much to see in this compact city that we will be able to enjoy on foot from our apartment.