Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Merton, Magdalen, and Ashmolean

So, today was our last full day in Oxford, and we got a lot in despite a late start and my being a slow-moving recooperee. First we went to the Ashmolean, which I never got to my last trip five years hence, where we not oly got to see Arthur Evans' Minoan exhibit, wh was great, but also their Old English room, with the Alfred Jewel. Dimitra and Andrew had highly recommended this display when we saw them on Sunday, and it lived up to their description. So there's something I first learned about and saw a picture of in that old Time-Life series about the ancient world when I was about ten or eleven that I never thought I'd see in person. They also had an item on display from the 'Thame hoard' -- shades of Farmer Giles? -- wh I'll have to find out more about.

Lost track of time among their Egyptian exhibit, and almost made us late for our lunch at Merton with Stuart Lee (editor of a forthcoming collection I'm contributing to) and his colleage Elizabeth Solopova (w whom he collaborated on a Tolkien book a few years ago, The Keys of Middle-earth), as well as John Garth, whom I'd gotten to meet when I was here lasr. See Merton's Senior Common Room was purely amazing, and we greatly enjoyed the guided tour thereafter, wh included seeing the medieval college library' a few of whose books are still chained. And it was moving to see the very street Tolkien walks down in Tolkien in Oxford.

After parting company after a v. Pleasant time, Janice and I walked down to Magdalen, where we strolled down Addison's Walk, saw the deer frolicking (that's really the only word for it), watched some brave but prudent souls go punting w a gondolier, and enjoyedbseeing three harts, one brown one dappled one black. Zulieka Dobson v much on our minds, what between seeing the Beerbohm Room at Merton and then shortly thereafter the river by Magdalen Bridge. Didn't get to climb the tower, wh is perhaps just as well, but I did point out to Janice roughly where CSL's rooms were where the Inklings met -- wh sparked the memory in me of someone else's showing me that, years ago, on my v first visit to Oxford. But I cdn't quite remember who -- was it Humphrey Carpenter? It must have been; another thing I wish I cd thank him for.

After that it was getting towards the time when things shut down (wh is earlier in England than the US), so as one last stop we went into Blackwell's to see it they had my book. They did. Yay, ego-boo. And, I might add, lots and lots of other books I'd have likedto make off w too, but end of vacation weight-limits and budgetarybrestraints kicked in here. That, and hopes I cd get some of these things -- like the 2013 hobbit calendar -- back in the US, if I'm patient enough.

Finally came a v gd dinner at a Jamie Oliver restaurant, a walk back to Newton House, and an early evening at the end of a great day. The vacation is winding down now, but it's been a great one.


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