I don’t suppose anybody actually noticed that I have been doing this blog for a year, now… well, why would you, especially when time has flown by so fast and August 2012 completely escaped my grasp?! I expect the lost month is simply proof of how time can slip through your fingers. Certainly, I can’t quite see where summer went, weatherwise, since we had only a few days of a heatwave before autumn literally dropped in, ready for September – dropped temperatures, dropped rain and dropping leaves as we speak.
August was a month that saw some birthdays (a great summer kid’s party described over on my daughter’s blog at chaperontachete.wordpress.com), some outdoor movie fun (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel – a true must-see – at the Open Air Weinfelden), some new starts (my youngest in a new apprenticeship for 3 years and my grandson at Kindergarten), seeing friends for lunch, attempting to find the ideal combination of sun and wind for sailing, the end of an era for another daughter, an emigration and some health upsets in the family. No wonder the month whisked by.
Having seen the dressmaking apprenticeship off to a good start, with a mountain of books and specialist tools to be acquired, I proceeded to accompany my middle daughter to England, where it seems that there will be less of this
and (hopefully!) more of this
The Oxford area is new territory for me, having only ever been there once before. In a couple of days we managed to explore a good chunk of Oxfordshire, though, from Abingdon through some delightful small towns (notably Wallingford, Faringdon and Wantage) and adorable villages such as Uffington or Harwell – real thatched-cottage-and-roses-round-the-door stuff, and we even saw part of the Uffington White Horse:
(this is not one of my photos – apparently you can only see it properly from certain far-off locations or the air, so I was actually a bit disappointed with the one hind leg I could see and am calling it the Uffington Squiggle…still impressive with the surrounding countryside, though)
One of the highlights of the visit was going to be Kelmscott, possibly the most beautiful hamlet (apparently a population of 101…) that is perhaps best known for Kelmscott Manor, rented by William Morris and Dante Gabriel Rossetti in the late 19th century and later bought by Jane Morris for the family – the name was famously also used for the family’s London house and Press. We did make it to Kelmscott, which is very remote and off the beaten track, and found it to be breathtakingly lovely – and the Manor closed to the public for a private party. Ah well, another day. (wikipedia.org/wiki/Kelmscott)
Fortunately, Oxford is never closed. Or perhaps unfortunately – I don’t know when the town might ever have a quiet period, but its fame and popularity mean that it’s either overrun with tourists or with students or both. However, we did at least manage a few snaps and that cream tea above meant we also dodged the raindrops! This leads to the area where the colleges are, which I was interested in, having recently read Dorothy L. Sayers’ “Gaudy Night”, set in Oxford in 1935… perhaps Lord Peter Wimsey might just sweep round the corner! Down that passage there on the left is Brasenose College. (that’s the Bodleian Library on the right…)
There is certainly a lot to see and do in and around Oxford, so I’m looking forward to a few more opportunities, there! Museums and concerts appeal, though I’m not sure I’d go as far as doing the “Morse walk”, the “Alice tour” or any of those tourist offerings. In fact, I did see an episode of “Lewis” while I was in England and kept jumping up excitedly to point out landmarks I’d seen on my visit, and was thrilled to see they’d filmed in the covered market where I’d admired the beautifully arranged fruit and veg behind Laurence Fox and his suspect…
This was the lull before the storm, as apart from a lovely family afternoon with cousins, the rest of my visit to England was taken up with getting to know the National Health System and its defects and juggling the logistics of hospitals with those of looking after my granny and feeling relief that my daughter was close by to provide back-up! All’s well that ends well, though, and the patient is convalescing so that I am back home again, with the other three generations looking after each other, now, instead 🙂