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Published: September 13th 2019
Christ Church in Oxford featured in Harry Potter
8 September 2019, Sunday
The photos are back so we have revised and edited this post.
A rest day and visit to Oxford. No walking on Thames Path today. Day 23 of travel.
Our breakfast at Lakeside Guest House features fresh fruit with granola and yogurt.
We plan our day to explore the colleges and see downtown Oxford. Here is Karen's narrative of our day.
Sunday - A day amongst the 'dreaming spires of Oxford.'
We have a lovely breakfast in a sunny dining area and then are off to see the town.
- According to a 2017 census the population of Oxford is 154,600 people. This is misleading as the traditional, 'old' part of the city where the university is located, is very compact. We have signed up for one of those 'pay what you think it is worth' walking tours. We locate where it will start from and walk around several streets.
- Right around the corner where we are to gather a young woman is setting up for her walking tour and she is so enjoyable we wish we were going with her. She does tell us where her husband, a coffee
The Christ Church
snob, goes for his 'best' cup of joe in town. The main decor of the coffee shop is WWII veterans' portraits who returned to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the landings at Normandy.
-So what do we see on the tour? The guide is a professor of psychology in one of the colleges and guides on weekends. He is knowledgeable and has an excellent voice that his considerable group of followers can hear. ( Harlan believes we had 50 tickets for the group)
- He tells us the history of the walled village and the enmity of 'town' and 'gown' over the years.
- Someday I dream of returning to Oxford and spending a week visiting libraries. We circle the 'symbol of Oxford,' the Radcliffe Camera that is part of the Bodleian Libraries. It is affectionately known as Rad Cam and has been a feature in a number of English TV series.
- We visit the Westin Library, know as 'The New Bodleian Library,' as well as 'The Old Bodleian Library.'
- One of the most beautiful sites of the tour is that of the School of Divinity. Many are acquainted with this site as it was featured in
"My sword I shall give to him that will succeed me in my pilgrimage."
This inscription at the entrance to Christ Church meadow
the Harry Potter books as the Hogwarts Infirmary. The vault bears shields of arms, initials, religious subjects, animal and foliage representations as well as inscriptions appearing in English, French and Latin. The room was used as a lecture hall and exam hall.
-Our guide has brought a bag of Harry Potter paraphanalia and we have fun dressing up and posing as Harry Potter characters.
- We also see the copy #2 of the Bridge of Sighs. Cambridge had first copied the Venetian bridge and then Oxford copied the Cambridge copy!
-After the tour is over we locate St. Helen's Passage and follow the narrow little path. The alley used to be called Hell's Passage, to Turf Tavern where we have the traditional Sunday Roast. It is delicious. The Turf may not be Oxford's oldest pub but its ancient foundations support a warren of small, oddly shaped rooms, connected by narrow passages, small staircases, and two small, busy bars. Many famous people have visited this Tavern.
- After refueling we backtrack to Front Street and Blackwell's, a famed book store. Founded in 1879, the store gained notoriety when the Norrington Room was opened in 1966. It extends under part of Trinity
Big Tom Quad at Christ Church
College. It boasts three miles (5 km) of shelving and at 10,000 square feet (930 m2) merited an entry in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest single room selling books. Just let me bring a sleeping bag and camp out for several months in that book store!
- Now we finally visit St. Mary's Church which is acknowledged to be intimately entwined with the earliest days of the university. It was the first building of the university with a congregation meeting there as early as 1252. It has beautiful stained glass windows and a tower that provides good views of Oxford.
- We return to our lovely room, gather up our laundry and end a wonderful day washing clothes in a dirty, grungy laundromat!
More thoughts and information from this day.
Looking for a college?
If you are a:
-Straight A student, actually above a straight A student
- you might be asked for a personal interview to this school
- one question given--examiner looking for creative, out of box answer.
- Example of exam questions: "100 ducks are in a field--99 ducks fly away to a lake--how many ducks are left in the field"-- and why?
High Street and Cornmarket intersection looking east. Big red double decker coming toward us!
"A student comes to a professor with his two hands behind his back. He tells the professor, 'in my hand I hold a bird, is it alive or dead?" The professor answers in a very philosophical manner. What does he say?
- can you quickly write a 2000 word essay on a single word such as 'egg.'
- if the examiner likes your creativity you have been invited to enter one of the 38 colleges at Oxford University. Among the statistics of students are the following:
- you will study 14-16 hours daily
- you will attend lectures in a subject in lecture halls that mix students from all the different colleges
- you might have a one on one tutor
- you will be one of 24,000 students and have access to 2,000 reading rooms -- and you will read, read, read
- every fourteen seconds a request is sent to the university book collection in Swindon to fullfil a student's request. Book storage is necessary as the university is a depository for all copyrighted material in UK, the Library of Congress fullfills the same duty in the USA.
-after four grueling years you
Mini-cakes in bakery at the historic Covered Market
will graduate and the chancellor will give the address in Latin and your name will be inscribed in Latin on your diploma,
. Congratulations--you have just graduated from one of the finest universities on earth--Oxford University.
- And, the last thought for this endless blog! In St. Mary's Church there was a lectern like affair noting some visiting speakers: one was Desmond Tutu. C.S. Lewis was another one of the notable speakers. He speaks in 1940. England has just gone to war with Germany. The country is gripped by dismay and fear. The memories of WWI rise up. In a number of little village churches we have seen memorials to village lads who, rather gallantly and jauntily went off to the Western Front. The military encounter will be brief. You will look at the memorial markers and there are often twice as many WWI markers as there are for WWII. The Great War was a turning point for England--and now are they, in 1940, to relive those days of infamy again? Below are excerpts from Lewis's 'Weight of Glory' speech/sermon. Interesting reading for our days-----
"C. S. Lewis
Clive Staples Lewis, is best known as the author
Our group for walking tour of Oxford outside St Michael's church
of the Chronicles of Narnia but he also wrote poetry, academic work on medieval literature, and books and sermons exploring many and varied aspects of Christianity.
Lewis believed humans were born with a longing for completion and desire for heaven and that this meant everyone carries immortality within them. He thought
immortality gave humans the potential
to become god-like or demonic and called
this potential the Weight of Glory.
The Weight of Glory sermon was
preached on 8 June 1941 England was
at war with Germany and the sermon
addressed the concerns of a generation
of young men and women facing an
uncertain future and very real tests of
their concepts of service and loyalty.
THE WEIGHT OF GLORY
There are no ordinary people.
You have never talked to a mere mortal.
Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations - these are
mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat.
But it is immortals, whom we joke with
work with, marry, snub and exploit - immortal
horrors or everlasting splendours."
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