hello, darlings! you'll be pleased to know that sajee's bag arrived intact, and only put us a little bit behind on our schedule. we arrived in goring a little later than we intended to, but we still got there. the trip involved five different trains, one of which departed from PADDINGTON STATION! i got my mum a bear. we also went via camden, so i made lots of jokes about trousers:
once in goring we put up at a sweet little b&b called 'north view house'. they had two cats and three dogs and a garden that was so english you wouldn't believe it - climbing roses, hollyhocks, etc. one of their dogs, dorrie, was tiny and hilarious - she would growl at you if you stopped patting her:
we were served a breakfast of eggs and toast, yoghurt with sunflower honey, and fruit salad at a round table in the bay window of a sitting room that looked out over the garden, and then the others started their big walk.
we'd established that oxford wasn't far away, so i decided to take the train up there for a look around. it was utterly, utterly brilliant. i cannot describe how amazing it was. truly. i saw oscar wilde's old college. i saw the places lewis carrol was inspired by when he wrote 'alice in wonderland'. i saw the pub where tolkein, c. s. lewis and the rest of the inklings would sit and read their stories aloud to each other. i saw the place where king charles set up headquarters during the civil war. it was so full of stories and history and culture and beauty. i didn't have time to see everything that i wanted to see (you could spend weeks there exploring the libraries, museums, galleries, chapels, etc. etc. etc.) but i did explore christ church college and trinity college...
this is the exterior of (part of) christ church college. it was begun by cardinal wolsey in the reign of henry viii and was going to be called 'cardinal college', but then wolsey died and it just sat there for years and years before king henry decided to finish it. i'm very glad he did, because it is quite magnificent. ( more beautiful than i can possibly describe<a href= )
so i was completely overstimulated, and spectacularly excited when i left and met the others in nuffield (after a hilarious taxi ride with an old ex-serviceman who told me i was a tough little lady and would have been a credit to the service. i think that was because i could lift my own suitcase...?) they had had a good day's walk and had lots of stories to tell, and we compared tales over dinner, then wend back to our b&b to sleep. the next day i said goodbye to those insane walkers and took a hair-raising taxi ride through the hedgerows to our next inn. it's part of a miniscule village, resembling dibley in many ways, with lots of thatched cottages. all it had by way of public services was a church and a pub, so i was obliged to take a bus to nearby thame to get some stamps, and have a look around for gluten-free food (which i found - hooray!). when i got back i had a walk around the village and it was very charming:
can you imagine living in a little house like this? ( the lovely village of sydenham )
i'm back in oxford today. i couldn't stay away - there was so much more to see! i'll tell you more later, but i'm at an internet cafe, and all of oxford is out there!!!!
big love to all of youuuuu xoxoxoxoxoxo