I was in London last week, spending some time visiting my parents and relaxing with hubby. John, one of my oldest friends, wanted to take a visit to Oxford.
I was fortunate enough to attend Ruskin College when I decided to embark into higher education, so I was thrilled to go back there for the first time in years and show my hubby and my friend some of the cool places Oxford has to offer.
John picked us up and we set off fairly early. It didn’t take us too long to get to the outskirts of the city.
For those who don’t know, Oxford is a city which hates cars. You’d be more likely to find a first edition of Lord of the Rings lying around on the streets than a decent parking spot.
So we stopped at one of the Park and Rides to catch a bus for the final part of the journey.
Our first stop (well, after grabbing some ice cream from the amazing G&Ds on St Aldates) was the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology. It was just around the corner from Ruskin and a place I often popped into for inspiration, while I was studying there.
The museum has a fantastic collection of antiquities. Here are a few examples:
Well, wouldn’t all that art and history be enough to give you a terrible thirst? So our next stop had to be a bar.
Those of you who know me are probably quite aware that I write a lot of speculative fiction for younger people, so there really was only one choice (made somewhat easier by its close proximity to the Ashmolean).
Why is this place such an important literary landmark? A blackboard in the back of the place explains why:
There were several nods to the Inklings around the bar:
And a door you probably wouldn’t want to mess with:
So we had a fine meal in there and, of course, a pint. Then set off for the place my hubby wanted to go most of all, the botanical gardens, to see a particular bench:
So, those who’ve read Phillip Pullman’s, His Dark Materials, don’t need to ask how important this place is, and I’m not going to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t experienced the sheer brilliance of this trilogy.
I’ll only say we were there on the day after midsummer, so we missed them by 24 hours.
It really was a fantastic day. The experience of going back to Oxford has rejuvenated me in a way I could not have wished or expected. I plan to go back again in a couple of months and, this time, I’ll take a decent camera with me.