Merrie Olde England – trip report – days 1 and 2

Another long trip report. If you are not interested just skip this post.

We are just back from Merrie Olde England. Oxfordshire to be precise, just at the edge of the Cotswolds. We flew RyanAir from Perugia to Stanisted. It took about two hours to get to our National Trust Cottage in Buscot village. It is called Lock House and used to be the lock keepers house. It was built in 1790 and has meter-thick stone walls throughout. We’ve stayed in four of these cottages so far and I think this one is the least comfortable. It does not have wifi which, in the future will be a priority. I like to keep in touch with my cat sitter via email. It’s also quite loud outside as it sits just beside a waterfall that roars. I am not sure if this is seasonal as it has been quite wet here. That said, it is fine for our six night stay.

Lock Cottage.

Rookery. Rooks, like big crows, live in neighborhoods called Rookeries and are raucous. Also, if you park under them your car is trashed. Our rental definitely was!DSC05458

Just outside our cottage this torrent rushed from the river into a wier and thence back into the river. Very loud.

Path along the canal over to the river.

The Thames river itself. There is a path the whole way to Oxford.

Our first day we arrived at about six in the evening and were pretty tired. We drove the two miles up the road to the Trout Inn, a pub. Inside was kind of odd because it had two long tables and a few small round ones in front of a cheery fire. The barman was large, cheerful of face and friendly. The menu was on chalk boards above the fire. At the other end of the room a band was setting up. It was Tuesday so that was kind of a surprise. The gents in the Thames Valley Jazz band as well as all the people in the place were older than us by a good bit.

We ordered the trout (what else?) and it was fried with lemon and butter with two generous bowls of sides. One was veggies, assorted. The other was french fries. The trout was excellent. They farm it in this area.

Trout by the fire. Cozy.

The band got going and were playing jazz from before and during WWII, which I enjoyed. There was a coronet, clarinet, stand up bass and a banjo. They were all pretty good. Too bad they couldn’t sing.

The second day was sunny and cool. We decided to take the train into Oxford. It is a lovely city. Britain’s oldest university is here. It was founded in 1290. It is made up of many individual colleges, I think about 40. Some of the more famous are Brasenose 1509 (named for the brass nose-shaped door knocker on their main door), Christ Church 1120, Exeter 1314 etc. we picked up a little guidebook and it lists a few of the famous people who attended the colleges. Christ Church had William Penn. Brasenose, Michael Palin. Exeter, J.R.R. Tolkien. Magdalen College, Cardinal Wolsey, Oscar Wilde, C.S. Lewis, Prince of Wales, Dudley Moore and 14 prime ministers. Anyone who is anyone went here! Oh and there is a HUGE rivalry between Cambridge and Oxford. The architecture spans the centuries and so is quite beautiful and remarkable. Just a few pictures of the many I took are below.

This is the pulpit in one of the college chapels.

For Harry Potter fans. This statue in front of a college building was who Nearly Headless Nick was patterned after. Recognize him?

Room where the students go to gown-up before graduation. It is a glorious room. These ceiling carvings are each made up of a college donors initials. You had to give 500,000 pounds to get up there.

One of the beautiful windows in the same chapel.

The whole room. This also was in the first and third Harry Potter movies. It was the hospital where Hermione was taken when she was hurt.

Main cathedral.

Some of the college buildings.

We had lunch in the Turf Tavern, a 14th century pub. It is famous because it was the place that Bill Clinton said, “…but I didn’t inhale”. Pretty good pub food. We returned to our cottage in late afternoon after shopping for dinner provisions. A nice day.

Days three and four.

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