Best-Laid-Plans Hodgepodge

Dear and me at a courtyard on the campus of Magdalen College (pronounced Maudlin) in Oxford England. (July of 2014)

The phrase the best-laid plans is a translation of a Scottish proverb that was first published in 1786.

The best-laid plans refers to something that has gone awry, something that has not turned out as well as one had hoped. The expression the best-laid plans carries the connotation that one should not expect for things to always turn out to plan. Like many proverbs, the best-laid plans is usually quoted by itself, though it is not the full proverb. The full proverb is, the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry. This is a passage from the poem To a Mouse, written by the Scottish poet Robert Burns in 1786. The verse was translated into English, the original Scottish quotation is: The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft a-gley, / An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain, / For promised joy. Note that best-laid plans is spelled with a hyphen, as best-laid functions as an adjective before a noun. Laid is sometimes misspelled as layed, though layed is not a word. Laid is is the past tense and past participle tense of lay.

And now here are the Hodgepodge Questions on this first day of July!

1. Are you currently making plans of any kind? What kind? 

Currently I am making plans for getting things ready for some summer visitors arriving next week. 

What emotions are associated with the planning process? 

Excitement to be able to share our new environs with some loved ones who haven’t visited with us in our Country Bungalow before.

Tell us about one plan you had to cancel due to the current situation which shall remain nameless. Ha!

We had to cancel our trip to England scheduled for the middle of September. We are very pleased with the cancellation policy of Airbnb. They refunded us our money within an hour. We still need to call British Airways and try to get our money back for our flights. That was a big chunk of change and we hope to have good dealings with the airlines. As you can imagine they are swamped with phone calls. We were going to stay in Oxford. We are disappointed for sure. 

2. Last time you saw stars, either literally or figuratively?

Our country bungalow is in a part of town where there are no street lights and very few lights shine from neighboring properties so star gazing is something we can do most nights when we don’t have cloud cover. It really is amazing to see so many stars and to be able to pick out constellations.

3. Blueberries yay or nay? Blueberry pie, blueberry muffins, blueberry yogurt, blueberries by the handful…what’s your pleasure?

Yes to blueberries. I like them fresh picked by the handful. I also enjoy them thrown into a bowl of cereal/granola.

4. swim against the tide, swimming upstream, in the swim, sink or swim, makes your head swim…choose one of the ‘swim’ idioms listed and tell us how/why you relate?

In the current climate of our country I’m definitely swimming against the loudest tide. I know there is a quiet tide that I’d fit in with but it is being drowned out by all the angry noise.

5. Sum up your June in a single sentence.

A glorious time in June for family to be all together again.

Be happy in your mask! 

Start them young!

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

One of my favorites to quote in good times and bad times, C. H. Spurgeon:

“Visit good books but live in the Bible”

“Let us not fear the enemy until he actually comes, and then let us trust in the Lord.”

“Lord, help us in such a way that we may see that thou thyself art working. May we magnify thee in our inmost souls. Make all around us to see how good and great a God thou art.”

Thank you to Joyce for coming up with the Hodgepodge questions!

Maundy Thursday

I took this photo 2 years ago at the Monumentale Cemetery in Milan, Italy. Today and this whole week Christians around the world remember the events that led up to the crucifixion of Christ and Christ’s resurrection over 2000 years ago. I always look forward to Easter week which is also called Holy week. Celebrating our risen Savior and what he accomplished for us  tops my list!

The Last Supper and the Washing of the Disciples Feet are both remarkable events. While in Milan I was also able to see Leonardo da Vinci’s mural of the Last Supper. The original mural is on a wall of the refectory (dining hall) in the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, Italy. No photos allowed.

While in England last year we saw two amazing paintings of the last supper, one in the Parish Church of St. John the Baptist in Windsor and one in the chapel of Magdalen College.

The Thames 104 - Copy - CopyFrom the Lectern, look down the centre aisle and observe in the West Gallery a painting of The Last Supper. This is a national treasure. The picture was originally presented to the Royal Chapel c. 1660 by Brian Duppa, Bishop of Winchester, Prelate of the Order of the Garter. It was “bought by him beyond the sea”. Another tradition ascribes it to Franz de Cleyn (1588-1658), Rostock, Mecklenburg, Court painter to James I. It was rolled up and buried “in the plumery” (plumbers workshop?) in the Great Rebellion. It hung over the altar at St George’s, Windsor in 1702, and can be seen there in Sandby’s drawing dated 1786.

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Oxford Day 6 141Above the stalls in the chapel hangs Giampetrino’s remarkable 15th copy of Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper, on permanent loan from the Royal Academy. In view of the bad condition of the original fresco in Milan, Magdalen’s copy on canvas is a piece of increasing historic and artistic significance.

Oxford Day 6 144This next sculpture of Jesus washing Peter’s feet is at the Gardens of the World in Thousand Oaks, California.

Excerpts from John chapter 13…

It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.

Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God;  so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist.  After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them.  “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am.  Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.  I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Magdalen College ~ Cloisters

The 15th Century Cloisters construction commenced in 1474 which makes this medieval square of stone among the oldest parts of Magdalen.

Oxford Day 6 156Balancing on the buttresses that jut from the Cloister walls are the figures later known as ‘hieroglyphics’, the ‘GARGELS”, Magdalen’s very own gargoyles. Some are biblical, some heraldic, all symbolic. Since they entered the College in 1508-9 they have been keeping their emblematic eyes on the comings and goings in the Cloisters and the quad.

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Oxford Day 6 155Wanted to let you all see that we did “keep off the grass”.

From the Cloisters we headed out to Addison’s walk and the New Building following the footsteps of Tolkien and Lewis along one of the paths that leads to  the famous meetings of the “Inklings”.

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Oxford Day 6 170As you can tell from my posts from Oxford there is a lot to see in this city. I still haven’t shown you photos from Bodleian and Radcliffe Camera or the University Church of St. Mary the Virgin. These places have been seen in many Masterpiece Mystery series and scenes from Harry Potter movies, too. My last post of Oxford will be photo heavy.

Back at this old house the renovations continue. We were hoping for things to be wrapped up today but that’s not happening. Maybe by Tuesday…

We have Fleet week and SeaFair and Hydro races and the Blue Angels in Seattle this weekend. What does the first weekend in August hold for you?

University of Oxford ~ Magdalen College

We visited Magdalen College with our daughter Katie in 2004 and we were happy to re-visit the buildings and grounds this past July. What drew us to this college in 2004 was the information we read about Tolkien and C.S. Lewis enjoying walks and theological discussions here and along Addison’s Walk. We wanted to walk along that path, too.

Magdalen College was founded just outside Oxford’s City walls in 1458 by William Waynflete.

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Oxford Day 6 137The chapel was begun in May 1474. The remarkable West Window of the Antechapel is a dramatic depiction of the Apocalypse and the judgement of souls. This vision was cast in 1637 but has been subjected to subsequent restorations, the re-glazing in 1859-1861 leaving the windows as they appear today.

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Oxford Day 6 141Above the stalls hangs Giampetrino’s remarkable 15th copy of Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper, on permanent loan from the Royal Academy. In view of the bad condition of the original fresco in Milan, (which I had the privilege of seeing in March of 2013) Magdalen’s copy on canvas is a piece of increasing historic and artistic significance.

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Oxford Day 6 139In 1635, the repaving of the Chapel floor in a pattern of black and white marble tiles.

Oxford Day 6 140The doors to the main Chapel were locked so I had to get these photos by looking through the glass on the doors. The choir sings from the middle stalls at either side. Towards the end of the 19th century the Choir achieved renown and played a pivotal role in ensuring an unprecedented fondness of carol singing among the general public by the publication of an anthology of carols.

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Oxford Day 6 157This is the Hall which was built at the founding of the College. The High Table at the far end seats the President, Fellows and formal guests, just as it did in the early 16th century when it welcomed King James I. Oscar Wilde was a fromer member of Magdalen.

This post is getting long so I will do another post with photos from the Cloisters and some outdoor spaces.

Cheers From England ~Day #6

Oxford Day 6 155Today we hopped on a train in Moreton in Marsh and headed to Oxford for the day. We chose today since there are rain showers moving in the rest of the week and we wanted a dryer day since we’d be on our feet and away from shelter for most of the day. The above photo was taken in the courtyard of Magdalene College.

We kept off the grass.

We payed for a 2 hour walking tour of Oxford at the visitors center.

On our tour we met a retired couple from Vancouver Island who do house sitting around the world.

We visited several colleges and learned the history of the Oxford Colleges.

We enjoyed a meal at the Eagle and Child where we met a family from the Bay area and enjoyed a lively conversation with them.

We re-visited Magdalen College where C.S. Lewis and Tolkien would stroll and discuss philosophy.

We headed to the oldest pub in Oxford and chanced to meet up with the couple from Vancouver Island and enjoyed a table together with our refreshments. More enjoyable conversation about their retirement lives spent on the island and in other parts of the world.

Back to the train station we jumped on the wrong train first and realized it in time and hopped off.

When the right train arrived because of problems on the line between London and Oxford we were packed in like sardines. We were happy to finally make it to our stop and hop into the cool breezes.

We stopped at the grocery store close to the train station and bought a few items to enjoy for a evening snack. We arrived home exhausted but filled with appreciation for all the wonderful sites and people we met and talked to.

Now we are chilling at the cottage and watching Argentina play Netherlands.

Oxford Day 6 046Christ Church, Oxford

I will have to devote a few posts to all the wonderful colleges and architecture of Oxford after I get home.

Hope all is summery where you are!