Days 13-15: My Brain has Rewired…I Can Only Hear in “British.”

Day 15: How Oxford Got it’s Name…It’s Kind of Like the “Poteau” Urban Legend

So, if you’ve been in Oklahoma for a few years at some point you’ll hear the joke about Poteau and how the town was named. Not from Oklahoma? Well, it had something to do with someone tripping over the town hall steps and yelling, “Oh – my po’ toe!” (Groan away…please).

If you follow that logic, then you can guess how Oxford got it’s name, right? Evidently, the locals used to drive their oxen across the ford. True story.

Where was that body of water?

Well, it’s still there, and is a feeder river to the Thames, in south central Oxford.

How do I know this? Because I stood on Folly Bridge and read a sign.

Where did Folly Bridge get it’s name? I don’t know, and neither does Wikipedia.

I can tell you that it’s nice…standing on the bridge and looking over the river. The boats floating there now don’t really give you a mental image of peasants driving oxen across the way, but this is the 21st century, eh?

I can also tell you that there’s something about Oxford that we won’t have in the US for a long, long time. A sense of permanency about the place. When they build a building, it’s there for ages. The building becomes an institution in and of itself. From my view, it seems that when we build a building in America, there’s a predisposition about the fact that in 50 or 100 years, it must just get torn down and a new one built in its place.

The US has contributed great things in the name of Progress. On the other hand, I think that Oxford and its accompanying history have contributed great things in the name of Institution.


Day 14: Are you a Narnia Fan?  If so, this post is for you…

I mentioned in Day 13’s posting that I would share a bit more of the Literary tour information with you. This particular information is fun. Downright dandy fun.

If you are a Chronicles of Narnia fan, then you might recall that when Lucy goes through the Wardrobe to enter Narnia, she passes by a Lamp post and a tree. She then meets Mr. Tumnus.

This particular part of the story was influenced by St. Mary’s Passage, adjacent to St. Mary’s Church where C.S. Lewis attended quite frequently and delivered his famous “Weight of Glory” sermon there from the cathedral floor to the parishioners.

Well, little did I know that every day at least twice I pass by the lamp post and the beautiful tree that provided inspiration for Lucy’s passageway to Narnia in the Chronicles of Narnia children’s book series.

This first picture shows St. Mary’s passage with the lovely tree.

The second picture shows the enchanted lamp post.

And the third picture shows a carving on Brasenose College that provided the inspiration for Mr. Tumnus.

Finally, I’ve attached a fun little video to remind you of the tree, the lamp post and Mr. Tumnus from the movie set to the tune: “Leaning on a Lamp Post.”  What fun!

Above – here’s the lamp post.  You can see the tree and Mr. Tunmus in the background.

And…there’s our dear Mr. Tumnus.  He was just waiting around for someone like Lewis to create a character on his behalf.

And…HERE’s your video!  Enjoy!!

Day 13:  J.R.R.Tolkien & C.S. Lewis by the Skin of My Teeth

There are so many community events going on within Oxford on a daily basis, I have had to monitor their tourism website at least every other day.  And while I can’t possibly DO all the things I would like, I MUST DO some of the things I’ve marked most dear to my heart.  One of these “most dear” choices was the Tolkien & Lewis Literary walking tour.

It only takes place once a month.  You purchase tickets for the tour at the visitors center on Broad Street.

And…it just so happened that the gentleman from Australia just in front of me in line bought the last one.  The tour was full.

I had encouraged him get in front of me just prior to this knowledge because he couldn’t seem to find where the line actually began and ended.  I did my best to keep the disappointment from my face, and thought to myself: “Karma…All good things…It was the right thing to do – – he looks 75+ in age and I’m sure he wanted to be here just as badly as I…”

Perhaps this is where growing up on a farm and getting the job done in “way #2, #3 or #4 if necessary” was helpful?  When I had verified that they would indeed not sell any more tickets for this tour, I decided to purchase one for August the 7th…a Saturday.  My last day in Oxford.  It would be taking place immediately after my last course final and I knew I would be physically zapped.  But I also knew that there was perhaps a fleeting chance someone might not show up today.

I said a tiny prayer and bought the ticket.

I stood around outside and watched those who had the correct tickets for the tour begin to gather.  I started counting warm bodies as they showed up and wondered what the cap on the group might be.  Every once in a while I made eye contact with the man from Australia.  I didn’t see any particular emotion register on his face, and he frequently looked away.  I wonder if HE wondered why I was standing around?

Pictured above – “The Randolf Inn,” where royalty and many historical figures have stayed.  The scene in “The Shadowlands” where C.S. Lewis met his future wife was filmed here, in the dining room.

When the tour guide arrived, I walked up to her straight away and said, “Hello there.  I’ve purchased a ticket for the August 7th tour, but that is my last day in Oxford.  May I please wait around and see if perhaps someone doesn’t show up so that I might take their place?”  She seemed to take the request in stride and answered, “Yes, yes…of course…that often happens, doesn’t it? Someone neglects to show?  Just wait here and perhaps you’ll get in.  We’ll see now.”

Pictured above – “The Eastgate Hotel,” where C.S. Lewis ACTUALLY met his future wife in the dining room.  Evidently, the makers of the film thought it wasn’t glorious enough for the big screen.

Okay, hurdle number one cleared.  Time for hurdle number two: body count.  They were only allowed to take 20 on each tour.  20 per month in a town where C.S. Lewis & J.R.R. Tolkien spent the majority of their lives.  Go figure.  16 currently stood in the group and had their tickets checked (including me).

It seemed that the time between 1:28 and 1:30 passed excruciatingly slowly.

Two people showed up at 1:31:30…they said, “Hey there, we’re not too late are we?”

“No, no.  Of course not!” the guide responded.  She then began to provide orientation information to the group about how we had to pay fifty-pence when we got to Merton College, but if we weren’t on the tour we would have had to pay two pounds.

One more person showed up.  “What have I missed?” they asked.  My stress level increased just a bit.  We were at 19 including me now.

As the tour guide began repeating everything she just said, I began talking to her in my head:  “Go!  Just go…it’s 1:34…go now!”  The lady next to me leaned over, and with a kind smile she looked at me and said, “It’s sort of like waiting to get on a plane using the stand-by method, eh?”  I smiled back.  Yes.  That’s exactly what it was.  Exactly.

Pictured to the right – the town home where J.R.R. Tolkien lived after his wife passed away.  He admitted to being very lonely after her death, but still made time to spend with the students in tutorial, and still taught classes for quite some time.  The students seemed to help take his mind off his wife, he admitted, but at this point in time most of his literary friends from the club had died as well.

The tour began.  Halelujah!  We got indoctrinated into more history about the Eagle and the Child, the Lion and the Cross and a few other pubs the “Inklings” club used over the course of twenty or so years between the 40s and 60s.  We saw the hotel where C.S. Lewis met his future wife for the first time as mentioned in “The Shadowlands.”  I found out that the Church of St. Mary Magdalene (prounounced Moglin) right by Brasenose College is where Lewis delivered his, “Weight of Glory” sermon…one of my favorite essays by him.

And then the guide’s cell phone rang.  Evidently the last two people who had purchased tickets had been waiting at the Eagle and Child Pub for 1.5 hours for the tour to begin.  They had printed material from the internet showing that this was indeed the place where they were supposed to be.  She hung up the phone.  As she told the group that we would be waiting on them for five minutes to join us the man from Australia looked at me.  I looked away and bit my lip.

The two tourists arrived in good spirits, waving their “proof” around for everyone to see.  I leaned over to the tour guide and asked, “Do I need to go back now?”

“No,”  she replied.  “I told them that we would have one extra and they called ahead to Merton College.  It’s all just fine.”  Yea, yea, yea!  I know my face lit up.  The man from Australia turned to me when we began to walk again and said, “You got lucky, now, didn’t ya?”

“Yes,” I replied.  “Very lucky.”  Then he smiled and began walking beside me for the rest of the tour.

Perhaps he was relieved as well.

*****  ***** *****
See below for a few photos of today’s tour…

The five windows and door on the bottom two floors pictured here are where Tolkien taught.  There was a bedroom there where the door was, as academics would travel great distances for tutorials.  The accommodations were so that they could spend the night while studying there, or a few days if needed.

This is one of the oldest buildings in the Oxford colleges.  It was built in the mid-13th century.  It is the Merton College Library.  Each College has a Church, a Dining Hall and a Library.  The books were all kept in the upstairs floors due to danger of flooding and mold, and the shelves were built at right angles to the windows in order for any breeze possible to blow through and keep them dry and in good shape.

This is the Lamb and Flag pub.  The “Inkling” club moved here after the Eagle and the Child (nicknamed the Bird & the Babe by the locals) enforced a no-smoking policy.  The Literaries could not see giving up their pipes as inspiration for their discussions.

I have more pictures, but I’ll save them for another time…suffice it to say, I saw where the idea for Mr. Tumness originated, the Lamp Post and Tree whereby Lucy entered into Narnia, and all sorts of other sights to see.  Nite.

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Day 12: Housekeeping – Literally & Figuratively

Rather than my usual entry style, this time I wrote a song about my day for you since it was rather boring and basically consisted of chores, homework and exercise.  Please sing it to the tune of “America the Beautiful” in your head.  I chose that particular tune since we’re still in the Independence Day general area on the calendar.

Oh, and if you have a webcam or a microphone and want to sing it – then send me a recording, I’ll bring you a souvenir.  And if there’s more than one submission, I’ll pick the winner and double what I would have normally spent. AND – if you’re REALLY good, I’ll put it on my blog with a spiffy little write up.

Otherwise, instead of singing “Oh beautiful for spacious skies…,” give this a whirl….

V 1.
Oh, help me now
It’s morning time
My mattress is a rock

I try and move
Then pop my back
And grapple for my clock

It’s ten a.m.
How did I sleep
So late when it’s so hot?

I guess it’s due
To such a great
Relaxing, quiet dorm – NOT!

V 2.
First laundry time
Then breakfast time
Then dryer takes my pounds

There’s no one here
To hear complaints
I know, I’ve searched the grounds…

I then decide
to a-ir dry
The entire wet load

But just as I
Walk out the door
The drier changes modes.

V 3.
I turn around
and glare at it
And wonder if it lives

I think I heard
It chuck-el-ling
I scream at it: “What gives?”

It silently
relented to
My loading all the stuff

And then it nicely
Dried my clothes
And acted normal ’nuff.

V.4
I then bought plastic hangers and
a desk fan
for my room.

I donned my reading
glasses and
read stacks and stacks past noon.

I stood and stretched
I donned my shorts
And ran into the Park

I then ate soup
And strolled a bit
And now it’s nearly Dark.

– G’Nite, then.

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Day ‘Leven: Legal Tour of London…Lovely Learning

Today’s entry is short. There are no classes in this program on Friday. Therefore, in the spirit of taking a breather I’ll let this movie speak for itself.

Our group took a walking tour of the legal educational and practicing district today. For more information about this particular tour, please visit:

http://www.discovery-walks.com/london-walks/educate-your-legal-mind-with-a-london-walking-tour/

Featured in this video is a memorial to the Knights Templar, sections of Old London before the fire, buildings after it was bombed in WWII during the London Blitz, The Royal Courts of Justice, the four Inns of Court and many more historical sites – each with their own stories.

If you see something you’d like to know more about, just send me a message and I’ll do my best. And, to those of you in Oklahoma…enjoy your “Friday Night in the Big Town!”

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40 Days in the UK (Days 7-10): Getting Down to Business

Day 7:  “The Height of Rudeness,” and Kelly tries to manage her new video camera..HA!

Today I’m going to share a two videos of my travels.

The first one is a special treat for you.  Pictured here is Sir David Yardley who is an Oxford emeritus fellow and ambassador/representative in the UK to several political or national bodies.  He welcomed our group to the college and then gave a little talk on cultural differences between the US and the UK.

Here he talks about his hay fever.  I wish I had the entire talk for you…after he gave a small note to us on the Obama comment about “Kicking BP’s a**” and what that comment means in the UK, I decided to capture a short clip of the moment.  More on that comment in my upcoming “British phrases, etc” entry.  Here’s Sir David:

(you might need to turn up the volume or use headphones)

The next two videos are from this afternoon.  I was walking across campus just now and I heard pipe organ music coming from the college chapel.  I didn’t even see the pipes the first time I visited at night.  I walked in, stood there for a good ten minutes listening, took two short videos and left.  The gentleman was practicing and with the echo in the chapel, the moment was simply divine.

I hope you enjoyed the videos.  I’m going to try and capture some special moments and continue to upload short clips on YouTube then post the clips here.  I was having trouble uploading directly into my blog today – I’ll try again, because the quality will be better.  Below are two pictures to close out today’s entry.  The first is of the lecture hall where our classes are held.  The second was taken off High Street today.  I don’t see many hat shops so I thought you might enjoy the shot as well.  Take care…KR

Day 8: A Brush with C.S. Lewis, “Kelly’s Turf” and The PUB is UNDER the CLASSROOM!

After class this morning I decided that I had waited long enough for my body to catch up on the time change and that the crowded sidewalks were really no excuse to avoid running.  There HAD to be some open area somewhere!  I heard at breakfast that there are two large parks in town – one that is more open (and has cows grazing, supposedly) and the other that has manicured flowers and shrubs.  Well, I opted for the cows, of course!

While leaving the more congested market district I walked by “The Eagle and the Child” pub where the famed “Inklings” group (consisting of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkein, and others) sat in the “Rabbit Room” and conspired to create all sorts of fiction. [oh – and by the way – – they DO sell rabbit quite commonly here at the meat market].  My other C25K entry covers a bit more of this adventure.  This picture is of the outside sign – – my heart melted knowing that the walls within this place heard the conversations of those great masters.

Later when I got back, I realized that I haven’t shared any video of by dorm room.  The style includes very late 60s/early 70s dorm room furniture, but the building is much, much older.

Here is “Kelly’s narrated video tour” of my “turf” for the next few weeks:

click here for a quickie-tour of Kelly’s living quarters at Oxford

This evening we were granted a special one-hour lecture by Sir David over the differences between the U.S. Constitution and the non-existent British constitution.  I am enamored by this delightful gentleman.  I found out today that he is in his eighties, and has visited the OU Summer Program at Oxford for each of the 36 years it has existed.  This picture shows him lecturing…but there’s a funny thing you can’t see.  The World Cup finals were going on at the same time as the lecture, and the pub managed by Brasenose College is just downstairs from our lecture hall.  Two points were scored during the lecture and ROARS erupted from the basement.
The students are encouraged to “do research” after classes each day in the pub.  I’ve not yet conducted any research, but I did conduct a short perusal so I could see the place.  It’s very nicely designed.  Here are a few pictures of our basement pub.  Cheers~!

Day 9:  Flowers, Candy and Romance…why Oxford works for young lovers and old romantics

Last night I was talking to my husband and for the first time since I’ve been gone I think we had a “I really miss you” moment.  So, with that in mind I thought I would put together some of my day in a mid-summer Valentine message to my hubby.  So – Mickey (and girls!), if you were here we could enjoy the following…and since you’re not, I’m writing the best tribute letter I can in order to share my day with you.  And readers, if you need a Valentine today as well – here you go!:


The FLOWERS – Wow, in a temperate climate like the UK, the flowers get lots of rain and chances to thrive.  Here are a few shots of the neatly trimmed botanical garden I ran by today, the flower market (with English flowers not generally sold in our mid-US area), and someone’s yard that had a lovely little perennial garden:


CANDY: Evidently, TOFFEE is quite the treat.  Remember something in C.S. Lewis’ books about Treacle?  Well, it’s a type of toffee…and it’s all delicious. And fattening. And delicious.

There is a little store at the end of the street named “Mr. Simms Olde Sweet Shoppe – Purveyor of Finest Confectionery.” I picked up a “Crunchy Bar” for a friend of mine at church, then I spied the chocolate covered currants, then I spied the Raspberry Chocolate Log, then I had to snap out of my sugar-addictive fit and get out of there.  FAST!

Romance…or, “Punting” as it were…

If you remember the brat pack movie “Oxford Blues” from the 80s, you might recall that Rob Lowe’s character took the Ralph Lauren model (Amanda Pays) who played the princess out on a boat.  It was long and flat, and she sat in one end while he talked and pushed it along with a pole on the other end.  “Punting” has a long standing tradition in this part of the country. I think it’s funny that those in Oxford stand on one end of the boat with their poles, and those in Cambridge stand on the other end.  Ha!  Here’s a picture I took through the sculpted rails on a bridge looking down at the boats on my run.

And here is a borrowed photograph of an Oxford couple punting.  The photoblogger is named “fantompoet” and here’s their link: http://fantompoet.com/index.php?showimage=196

So…today was a lot of learning and working, and MUCH reading.  I only ventured out to run, and am now back reading statutes.  But, I just want Mick and the girls (and my readers) to know that right before I came back inside the quad to begin my homework, I stopped in St. Mary’s church, said a prayer for a family I’ve been lifting up for quite some time, and said a prayer for my own family.

I miss you too!  Love always to Pappy, Rass and RyeDye – – Sincerely, Mams

Day 10:  At Christ’s Church College, God and the Humility of Seeing All Those who Died Before Us Trump Harry Potter.  And then, Harry is Way Cool Too. PLUS…The Bear!

After class this morning, I took a nap. We’ve finished learning what it takes to get a marriage in Oklahoma, and will be spending much time over the next week or two learning what a mess getting a divorce can be.  Of course, I’ve seen this in my therapy room, but seeing the cases, jurisdictions, precedents, etc. will be altogether confusing to a greater level, I’m sure.

I’m STILL not sure if my body is completely adjusted to the new time schedule although I would think by now it should be. Right?  Perhaps I get extra credit days because I’m middle aged?

See photo of walk upon entering Christ Church College: “My sword I give to him that shall succeed me in my pilgrimage.”

When I woke up I knew my mission for my short walk today would be in the direction of Christ Church College. My children love Harry Potter and I’m not sure I could travel back home if I didn’t witness – IN PERSON – the dining hall after which the Harry Potter series was conceptualized and filmed.  Here are a few pictures paying deference to the dining hall scenes of the famous books and movies as well as a photographic tour of the grounds, the Church and the memorials.  I can’t really describe the feelings I experienced while looking at the WWI memorial, the breathtaking church, the knights and saints memorialized there with their dogs or a lion at their feet (representing Christ), and pane after pane of stained glass.  It was humbling and awe inspiring.

I also happened upon the right alley way and found “The Bear.” I’ve been saving my first pint for The Bear in honor of my friend Ellen who graduated from Oxford.  So – Ellen, I found it!  I had a pint of cider and it was delicious.

Here are a few pictures of the pub and the historical decor (ties from young students who graduated and ceremoniously gave their school ties to the pub – – labeled and signed, they cover the walls and ceilings in glass plated frames…”1939, St. John’s College, Cricket Team….or, 1968, Agricultural College…”).  I want to go back there – it’s quiet, historical and quintessentially Oxford.  Cheers!

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40 Days in the UK (Days 4-6): So. Much. Information!.

Day 4: Trains & Rain, and “True Story” List of Observations.  OH, and Pasty rhymes with Nasty only it really is Tasty.

My day started out at 5:30 a.m.  My sleep patterns are completely screwed up right now – I couldn’t go to sleep until 3, and then to get up at 5:30 was tough.  So, I reset my alarm for 6, then RUSHED to get ready because my train to Bristol Park Meads station left at 7:00 and I had already paid for the ticket.  When the cab dropped me off at Paddington Station I had a slight panic.  The ticket machines weren’t reading anyone’s cards, and the ticket office was closed.  These machines work like they do at the movie theatre where you buy your ticket then swipe a debit card to get them at the gate.  The LAST machine read my card (whew), I got my tickets and RAN (literally – there were about 20 of us running) to get on the train.  I had two minutes to spare before it pulled out, but was breathing heavily when I finally got to my seat. Wowzers…I was awake then!!

Here’s a picture I took later that day on my return trip of a Paddington Bear kiosk in the station.

The train ride was interesting.  I had another “First Class Awareness” moment where I went into the wrong car at first and looked around.  “Wow,” I thought.  “What a nice train.”  Business men in designer suits were sitting around reading the paper and drinking coffee…it was very quiet.  There were only about four in the entire car.  THEN I realized the “First Class” sign was hanging right in front of my face so I made my way, car by car, down the row until I got to the coach section.  It was nice too – the chairs were just closer together.

The cab ride to the Benson’s home where I was going was absolutely nuts.  NUTS, I tell you!  The streets in Bristol are extremely narrow, and people are parked on both sides on most streets. It’s so bad that many of the streets up in the hills where the residences are have room for only one lane.  The cars are constantly backing up to allow a car who had traveled further down the block the right of way.  It was really funny, but crazy! In the US, I know people would freak if they drove that close and hit that many curbs and rocks.  I was holding onto the handles inside the cab for dear life, and bouncing so high the top of my head was hitting the headboard – it would have been funny but I was genuinely just holding on for life.  The cab driver got me to the general area of their home, then had to get out and point me down the street because he couldn’t drive up to their house…not enough room.

Here’s a picture of the signs in Bristol – they have “parking reports” and status updates because it’s such a problem.

The sign is showing that Temple has “spaces” but I swear I didn’t see while I was there.  All the other sections look like they were saying, “Sorry – not today.  We’re full.”

So I got to their house and met with Mr. Benson, Founder of the Bristol Community Family Trust (the largest marriage education services deliverer in the UK) for a few minutes before we walked down the hill.  I guess I should write “ran” – our clip was really fast and he rehearsed his responses to the prepared questions all the way there.  Then he would ask, “What about that answer?”  Then I would say something while were were still basically walk-running and he’d move on to the next one.  All this was taking place while we were dodging cars in the narrow streets.

We arrived at the BBC studio about 10 minutes before show time, checked in through their security, and made our way back.  Here’s a picture of Harry and I sitting in the studio waiting for the show to come on the air.  In no time, the show started.  Harry’s spot was to take place about 13 minutes into the hour.  Their first spot highlighted a speech by Sarah Palin and was followed by an in studio discussion over “Conservative Feminism,” and whether or not it could exist, how Palin’s message was different than Hillary Clinton’s, etc.  I was listening to the show because I was interested, while Harry and our hostess talked about her relationship issues with her teenagers.  I just wanted to hear what they were saying on the show so I ignored the relationship discussion.  I was glad that Harry was talking with her because normally I’m the one who gets engaged in those situations.

I liked the idea of the show, their take on it, and was glad I got to listen in on Harry’s complementary comments.  The host challenged him a bit, and we processed that on the walk back to the house, but I think it went pretty well.  Click this hyperlink to get to the show and then go to the July 2, top right if you want to listen. (The Sarah Palin/Part-Time Marriage show is the one from today).  I thought it was sweet that when we go back to the house, his wife said, “Jenny wasn’t very nice to you, was she?” (empathized with the challenging).

I’m going to write an entry at some point on British colloquialisms, metaphors, vernacular, etc.  But right now, I’m still soaking them in.  I will say that today when they were talking about “having a row (an argument) go down the potty” I giggled.

The Benson family were lovely hosts – they lived in a three story row house high on the hills of the older part of Bristol, and the walk back was slower so I got to look around.  Here are two pictures of that journey – the first was lavendar…growing everywhere. MMMmmmm.  Second was just a shot of how many stairs and upramps we traveled.  My legs are a bit sore right now.

Kate Benson was a cooking soul mate.  She has a cooking school and a lovely English kitchen.  While Harry and I talked about social policy, marriage education in the UK, the tax structure, etc. she prepared a divinely light and fresh meal.  Here are pictures of her kitchen and our meal.

BTW – it rained while I was on the train. My first English rain.  Evidently they feel they get way too much in Bristol, but in London they think it’s sort of average – not too much there.

To keep these blog entries manageable, I’m going to stop with thoughts here.  The train ride was lovely on the way home and I have some pictures below.  I’ll end with telling you about some genuine English cliche’s I’ve witnessed thus far – and then I’ll put captions on the pictures to end.

1.  There really are Lombardy Poplars everywhere.  They are used to line driveways, to divide property, and just in general…sometimes, it appears, to create windbreaks.

2.  There are really sheep on the English countryside. Tons of them.

3.  There are really children running everywhere in school uniforms, and quite frequently the little girls are wearing all sorts of hats, bows, pressed crisp cotton dresses with socks and Mary Janes.

4.  There are really groups of blokes standing together, drinking ale, and laughing their fool heads off at the end of a hard work day.  This is a sight to see….and they don’t care who hears them, or what they’re talking about. It’s kind of like a ritual.

5.  Pastys are sold everywhere, and I’ve had one.  They’re good.  Really good.  Mine had potatoes and corned beef in it.

6.  There really are Clydesdales in the pastures here.

7.  I saw TWO English riding horse farms today, one wherein someone was taking an English riding lesson.

Okay – that’s enough for the day.  Suffice it to say, not all we learned in the states is heresy.  I’m eternally grateful to Harry and Kate Benson and the beautiful and educational day in Bristol.  Nite.

*** ***
Here is a picture of a park in Bristol where you could, at one time, see a castle and four other cathedral towers.  It was beautiful.
Here is a picture taken off the train of Bath Spa, and then is followed by a picture of thousands of row houses in Bath Spa.  Row houses are everywhere – everywhere!
Here is a picture of British fashion (through a display window), and then a “One-Stop-Shop” handwashing machine – the soap, the water and the dryer are all together.
And finally, here was my “character of the day” – he was on his bike at the train station in Bristol and I thought you might enjoy seeing him.  I know I did.

Day 5 (7/3/10):  Vroom, Vroom! Ouch, Ouch! and Sigh, SIGH, and Siiiggghhh.

Vroom, Vroom! I have been taking pictures of cars since I got to London.  I’m so mesmerized by their automotive prowess and beauty that I feel like a teenager in my first romance – with a car! The first car grabbing my attention was a chocolate brown antique w/cream leather and polished wood interior.  The chrome shone in the sun and I heard angels singing in my head.  I was so dumbstruck I didn’t take a picture. Doh!

After that, I did.  Here are a few for your car show from London perusal.  I labeled all of them as best as I could.  If you’re not into cars, scroll down below them for the rest of the UK Daily Mail, Kelly version.

Mini Cooper with X-Ray Wrap
Bentley Azure with Gold Plates on the Matching Wheels

Peugeot 407 Coupe
Yellow Lamborghini (see note at bottom)
SmartforTwo City Coupe by Smart GmbH
Audi 4 Saloon
Mercedes R Class Grand Edition
BMW 635D Sport and Porche 911 Carerra Cabriolet
Range Rover Freelander
Alfa Romeo Brera
Note about cars: I chased a few with my camera that I just didn’t catch.  The picture of the Lamborghini is one of them.  I saw that thing three times, but it was going so fast I gave up.  The picture in my blog is from a search on Google images.  Sorry I couldn’t get the real one.

Ouch, Ouch: So, the bed at the hotel is hard as a rock, my suitcase is 56 pounds with my computer in it, and I frequently have bags over both shoulders. Between all that lugging the luggage, and the no-sleepie-on the plane, I decided to get a massage before I went to Oxford.  Usually I do this at the end of each semester – this time I was going to START my semester with one.  Let’s just say – I was sore before I went in, and I was sore when I came out…but in a better way. That chick left no muscle knot untied, and only said, “Um. You might be a little sore in the morning.”  One hour later – the pain came knocking.  But, I’m hurting in a good way now.  So – Ouch, OUCH, Ahh.

Sigh, SIGH, and SSiiiiggghh: Sigh #1: The Saturday morning market was lovely this morning.  See pictures below.

SIGH #2: It was HOT today, and after a cab, the underground, and two trains and a cab – I was worn out, hot, sweaty, and probably really, really stinky.  And, so were all the other people I encountered.  Elevators reeked!

SSiiiggghhh:  Got to Oxford, walked up to a huge wooden door with a knocker, entered Brasenose College and got a lump in the throat. Topiaries, flower boxes, sculpted shrubs…a large center lawn…St. Mary’s Church…my dorm is on the 4th floor looking down on High Street (I can hear groups of people laughing and a dog barking right now – and someone is singing in the background), 65 degree weather, special first night meal at the Beefeater ancient steakhouse, walking back to the College I opened the big door again and walked by a group of four students talking to each other about pronunciation of certain words in German, Italian, English and French and chuckling about nuances, and then….I heard violin music.  As I walked across the lawn to the entrance of my wing, I saw a student leaning against a tall rock wall playing the violin.  Another lump in my throat, another sigh.  Pure joy.

Below are pictures of the market today and then of the college tonight.

Nite, Nite.

Day 6: (7/4/10): God, Country and the 4th of July Oxford Baby

God: If you’ve watched “The Sound of Music” you might recall the sound of church bells ringing for a fairly long period of time when Maria and Capt. Von Trapp were married.  That’s the same sound I heard when I woke up this morning.  God is here in Oxford, and the High Church calls those within ear shot to come worship him on Sunday morning. Here’s a picture of the MASSIVE stained glass windows at St. Mary’s cathedral.  I get to walk by and look up at this masterpiece each time I go into town:

Country: On the train ride to Bristol a couple of days back, I looked across the way and spied a billboard basically shoving our US Independence Day back into our faces.  I smiled as I read: “4th of July – Independence Day for England.  Celebrating the Freedom to govern ourselves.”

4th of July: I was coming back from the square this morning and happened to think that my entire family is enjoying their Independence Day BBQ at the Roberts’ household.  I looked around and realized there wasn’t a flag in sight, no one was wearing red, white and blue clothing and there wasn’t an “Independence Day SALE” to be seen.  Just then I saw this little curly haired baby propped on top of his father’s shoulders.  He had a red and white striped shirt on, and a red, white and blue silk kerchief tied in a knot around his neck.  I asked if I could take his picture.  The parents pleasantly agreed and made a joke about retaining copyright privileges should it be sold.  So this little moment in time is my 4th of July this year, and I’m alright with that…Happy Independence Day!

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Showcasing Red Dirt culture ~ authored and managed by contributors with connections to the great state of Oklahoma.