“The conditions of entry below set out a few rules which are made for the good of all.” – entry sign, Christ Church Meadow, Oxford
My first long, jetlaggy Sunday in London – my flight got in at 6 in the morning; I managed to stay awake until 8 that evening – was spent in the British Museum and National Portrait Gallery, and wandering about feeling awestruck.
The next day I went to Oxford for the day. It’s gorgeous. I didn’t get to see the Ashmolean, as it’s closed on Mondays – the original plan was to do Oxford on Tuesday but rain was forecast so I changed my plans. I saw the Bate Instrument Collection, which was band geek paradise, overseen by a charming, stammering superintendent who got rather flustered if more than two visitors were on separate levels, and had an optical theremin so positioned as to make a startling fart when one walked past it. Across the road was a theological bookstore, packed to the rafters with Newman, Chesterton and Belloc; very Oxford Movement, and made me wonder what their conversion rate (High Church to Roman Catholic) was.
I climbed the spire of St Mary the Virgin, which was slightly terrifying; I always forget about my vertigo until I am halfway up a medieval spiral stair with rope handle. But the views were spectacular.
I also had two pints of Brakspeare, a delicious local ale, and one of Abbot Ale, which was almost as good.
Along the canal path I saw a water rat, who vanished with a splash before I could take its picture.