Saturday, May 10, 2014

Oxford & the Cotswolds, part I



Have you heard of the Radcliffe Camera? That's it, above! It was soooo cool, in Oxford, putting a visual to all these famous names, like the Sheldonian and Bodleian and Magdalen College and on, and on. And that was just in a few hours' worth of strolling. Holy CR**. OXFORD. It's jaw-dropping. My photos are uploading sooooo slowly on this wifi connection, so I can't put up pics to prove it, and anyway, pics don't do Oxford justice. It's the way you're just walking along and EVERYWHERE YOU LOOK there is an architectural wonder. The word for it is: ridiculous.




(the coolest of these pics are by Jim Di Bartolo :-)








We may have lost restraint when we discovered these Hungarian marionettes in an amaaaayzing book & stationery shop...




Oxford. We didn't even stay a night. We took the train from London, rented a car, went for a walk (that turned into something like six hours), then skedaddled out to more villagey destinations. But we'll be back. I can feel it.

Villagey destination the first: Woodstock, gateway to Blenheim Palace. We stayed here at the Macdonald Bear Hotel:



(Again, insufficiency of photos due to slow uploading! Imagine cuteness!!)

And, through the back door of that cuteness--literally, through a monumental stone gate, monumental like TRIUMPHAL, like an Arc de Triomph hidden in the back of a village, how crazy--out the back way through unassuming Woodstock lies...

BLENHEIM PALACE.




Winston Churchill was born here, yo.




It, too, is ridiculous. (In the good way, the I-have-no-words-way.)








Wow! 

It was this extraordinarily windy day, which meant that rain clouds were scudding really fast across the sky, so it was: Rain! Incredible blue sky and sunshine! Rain! Incredible blue sky and sunshine! Repeat. All morning. We didn't experience the whole gardens, which are partly the work of Capability Brown ("England's Greatest Gardener") and include a massive hedge maze. I wonder if we'll ever return. With so much else in the world to see, who knows. It was spectacular though. 

And we moved on from spectacular to more charmingness, at the tiny tiny tiny village of Minster Lovell, which has this walk up a lane of thatched cottages to a pretty church and, behind that, a ruined great estate, just open to exploration...




The river that runs through Minster Lovell is called the Windrush. Is that the most romantic river name EVER? 




It was so cool. And I love those red flashes of Clementine darting around with her sword and shield. This was a magical day. A couple more of them, one hopes, before we leave England. 

And for now, cheers!











9 comments:

Unapologetic Ginger said...

LOVE these pictures! I visited Oxford when I was a junior in high school and it's been so long that I'd forgotten the excitement of strolling through those ancient buildings. It really does feel like a dream! I especially love the pics of your daughter running about with sword and shield. <3 I bet she'll appreciate those pictures when she's older. I hope the rest of your trip is amazing! I now feel the need to go check on plane tickets... ;)

Isabella Taylor said...

That picture of you and Clementina-- she in her Doc Martens and pink hat, and you with your pink hair. Cutest, most badass family ever!

Anonymous said...

Please tell Dr. Asshat you got that rabbit marionette on the right! He's wonderful and I want to visit him right away when you get back. Pics are wonderful! So glad you three are having such a beautiful trip!

Ruth Brookes said...

Fabulous pictures Laini! So glad you & the family get some exploration time whilst you're over here. I didn't get to any of the UK events (sadly none were close enough to me in beautiful Shropshire), but just wanted to thank you for such a wonderful end to the trilogy. I spent a few days in a daze of almost not being able to breathe from anxiety & excitement! Thank you for not breaking my heart & concluding the story so beautifully... I'm hopeful you might consider telling the story of the Godstars? Enjoy the rest of your break! x

Ruth Brookes said...

Great photos Laini, I'm so glad to hear that you & your family have some time to explore whilst you're over here! I didn't get to any of your UK book your events, sadly all were a bit too far away for me on the Welsh borders. However I just want to thank you for a glorious end to the trilogy. I spent a few days completely absorbed, almost unable to breathe with the anxiety and tension. Thank goodness for such a satisfactory conclusion & that you didn't break my heart (though I thought you might a few times!). So thank you!!!! :) I'm comforting myself that although it's finished, the story continues - in my head at least, and perhaps one day you'll tell the story of the Godstars. :) Living in hope here! Enjoy the rest of your time here in the UK. xx

megan said...

Love Oxford, and I love Clementine running through the ruins with her sword. Her imagination must be running absolutely wild! If only we could see inside her head! Glad you managed to make it there, and always so appreciative of your blog. I feel like you're a friend, as well as a wonderful author!

Carly Gencer said...

It's so cute, that Clementine seems like she is having a great time :) I love it, that she wears a princess dress, a shield AND a sword haha. Reminds me of my childhood :)

Laurence King said...

Oh how gorgeous! I love England :-) Lush and quaint and monumental all at once... And little Red Riding Hood Clementine is so precious with her sword and shield. En garde! XO

Marie said...

You take such wonderful pictures! I love England and seeing your photos makes me want to go there NOW. :)

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