“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.

More photos.


3 responses to “Oxford

  1. The couple of times I’ve been to Oxford and Cambridge as an adult (I spent the forgotten first two years of my life in Oxford), I’ve always been rather green. They’re such ludicrously elegant places. Cambridge is equally stunning, if you didn’t have a chance.

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