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June 2, 2016

Wednesday, June 1, 2016 Day 32

Sarah had planned the day for us to go to Oxford, a famous city in south east England. I was happy to do whatever she and Trevor wished to do. We left early in the morning as we were to catch the 7:40 am tube into St. Pancras Station in London and from there catch the hour long train to Oxford. We were lucky to get a seat with a table facing each other so we could chat better on the way there. We talked about their plans upon returning to Canada after their contract finishes July 22 and in time for Gary’s wedding, July 30. They are “up in the air” at the moment; their main goal is to get into teaching in Ontario and it will be great to have them much closer to home!!! Oxford is very famous for its University of Oxford, the oldest one in the Englsih speaking world with instruction as early as 1096. It is composed of 38 colleges , with the most popular being Christ Church, where scenes from the Harry Potter films were created. There are over 80 Nobel Prize recipients associated with Oxford University. Our first stop was the Museum of Natural History which opened at 10:00 am and it was free so we had an hour there before we were to meet up with the free walking tour at 11:00 am. The museum was awesome and I loved the section about BEES, which was a special exhibition exploring the world of bees. We then joined our 2 hour walking tour with a great guide who took us around the university, sharing his knowledge with an added flair of storytelling and quotes..such as this one from Oscar Wilde , an Oxford student and of The Importance of Being Ernest fame, ” Be yourself, everyone else is taken.” Unfortunately it was freezing cold, rainy and miserable weather, although you soon get used to it here, I think. I can hardly imagine hot and sunny anymore! We came across a group of graduate students who were celebrating with some starnge antics and then jumping into the river with all their clothes on….Brrr!!! We saw and learned a lot during this educational tour. We were hungry after the tour so we headed to a Pret a Manger, a popular eating spot and grabbed a light lunch, before heading out to do more exploring. We made our way to the Bodleian Library, where over 12 million print books are stored and is used by the University students and paid for a tour of this beautiful historical building. There was a chair there that had been salvaged from Francis Drake’s ship..I remembered studying about him in public school! When that was finished we walked over to the Shakespeare’s Dead and the Bodleian Treasure displays, being cognizant of the time, as we were to go into the Christ Church Cathedral for another paid tour before it closed for visitors at 4:15 pm. I was excited to see the Magna Carta document, again remembering learning about that many years ago in my history lessons.  We really liked the Christ Church self guided tour, especially getting into the big dining hall of Harry Potter fame. We loved this Great Hall which was replicated as the dining hall at Hogwarts. I snapped a photo of Trevor going down the grand staircase where Professor Mcgonagall welcomed Harry in the first film. We walked around the Christ Church meadow area and came across a plaque on the wall celebrating James Sadler so Trevor James Sadler posed beside that too. We soon headed off to have supper in the famous pub mentioned by our tour guide : Turf Tavern and aside from the famous people who have frequented it, the food was delicious! I thoroughly enjoyed my British Beef and Ale pie. Trevor and Sarah had the  Sausage and Mash, both meals being traditional English meals and they enjoyed their meal as well. Back to the train station in Oxford, snagging a table again and playing a fun game on the way back to St.Pancras in London and then tubed to South Ealing . Home by 9:00 pm and I won the Uno card tournament with Trevor! A fun, interesting day once again, well planned by Sarah; best of all for me was spending it with my beloved son Trevor, who our whole family has missed while he is over here in England !!!! Good for him for spreading his wings and taking on the big challenge that he faced in a very difficult teaching assignment. Good job, Trevy!!

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