Sunday, 11 November 2012


Hi-ya all you cheeky monkeys,
Sometimes the Brits just have a way with words.  I was brightening the day of one of Kal's classmate's mum as we waited to pick up the kids from school one day this week and she told me I was a "cheeky monkey".  Appropriate and funny, sometimes the Brits just have a way of wordsmithing the English language over here.  Now onto the week.

The week has been pretty slow.  Both Bob and Lona have been feeling sub-par so we haven't been venturing out much.  Instead they have been resting up for the weekend.  Lona actually has been a little worse while Bob has been a little better and even ventured out for a few walks.  Hopefully they will be feeling much better before the flight back.

I did manage to further frustrate myself with the tumble dryer (clothes dryer) service technician in this week's "Dan Stine extreme self restraint in the face of surmounting adversity moment of the week".  The service tech came out to replace the drain pump and did replace it but didn't stay long enough to see a load dry enough water out of the clothes to activate the pump.  So of course it didn't work so I called the company and made a formal complaint that it has been seven weeks and my dryer still it isn't working.  So this upcoming week will be his final chance, if it isn't working when he leaves I will have them refund the sixty pound service charge and I will just fix it myself.  Obviously I should have done it myself but I never dreamt it would take two months to fix it.  And Lori just looks at me with her "what did you expect" look.  At least I have a system now to partially use the dryer and am caught up on the clothes.

Dana Johnson Pic - Cornish Pasty night.

Dana Johnson Pic - cut open pasty on the left, uncut pasty on right.  They taste like at home except the dough is like layered phyllo dough and they are a little peppery.  Pretty good tasting I must admit.

Our favourite travelator at the big Sainsbury's grocery store.  Every trip to the store requires us to ride up one side and right down the other.  Basically an incline/decline moving ramp but twice as fun. 
On Saturday we drove down to Oxford as Bob wanted to see the Ashmolean Museum and I wanted to see Christ Church College, one of Oxford University's 39 independent colleges.  Bob found the museum online and wanted to check it out while I wanted to see CCC because of the Lewis Carroll, Harry Potter, Inspector Morse and other literary/television connections. 

Doubledecker bus ride into Oxford.  We used a park and ride just outside the city centre as most people who have visited here and travel site forums recommend it.  Plus I saw a traffic congestion sign in one of the areas we walked by during our day which means the park and ride is the way to go.  I'm not sure if the traffic congestion tax (some places over here like parts of London that have a lot of vehicle traffic require car drivers to pay an extra tax to drive their cars in their areas) is required here but for the relatively inexpensive cost and convenience of the park and ride it was well worth it. 
After we de-bussed the group went to the Ashmolean (link) while I darted down a couple of streets to snap a few pictures that I spied on the Steve's blog and on Tim's blog (thanks for hitting Oxford before us guys).

Sheldonian Theatre, designed by Sir Christopher Wren in 1664.  Wren also designed St. Paul's Cathedral and many other buildings in London.  We didn't stop to look inside, maybe on our next trip to Oxford. 

The Bridge of Sighs in Oxford.  Maybe we will see the Bridge of Sighs in Venice before our UK adventure ends.

Bodleian Library on right (square building), Radcliffe Camera in middle (round building), and spire of St. Mary the Virgin on left.  Great building architecture in Oxford, reminded me of Bath but more elegant.

The Turf Tavern where President Clinton famously didn't inhale during his Rhodes Scholar days at Oxford. 

Or it is also known as a favourite watering hole of the fictional Inspector Morse as Theresa Marsik can attest.   

The Martyrs' Memorial.
My solo adventuring is over and I finally catch up to the group in the underwhelming Ashmolean.  We don't see a tonne of museums on our travels because we would rather see rare/famous local sights instead of more paintings, sculptures, pottery, etc. so it may not be fair to compare this museum to the impressive ones we have seen recently but Lori and I agreed that it felt lacking.  Bob confirmed our suspicions over lunch as you will read below.
"Marble Relief. 
Two pairs of collared slaves are led on ropes by helmeted men, perhaps to fight like the animals below.
From Smyrna (Izmir, Turkey), about AD 200."

"Gods of Rome. Arch of Trajan at Beneventum, AD 114.
Jupiter, bare-chested and bearded, holds out a thunderbolt.  On either side, stand a helmeted Minerva and veiled Juno.  In the background are Hercules, Ceres, Bacchus and Mercury.  The relief was paired with one to its right in which Trajan will receive the thunderbolt: the emperor is Jupiter's viceroy on earth."

Athenian grave relief of soldier and family, c. 350 BC.
A hoplite soldier shakes hands with his wife.  Their baby and a dog are under her chair, and a slave girl stands behind her mistress' jewelry box.  The relief represents social norms for citizen men and women in Athenian society, with emphasis on the family.  The handshake represents proper and harmonious relations in the household."

Read below.

For above.  I snapped this pic because I remember Karl mentioning one day that most pictures of Buddha show him as skinny as opposed to the older rotund seated Buddha image in the Western world.  He learned it in his Philosophy Religion Ethics class when they were studying Buddhism. 

Read below.

For above.  I don't see many volcanic stone statues so I snapped this pic.

Coin trivia for the Numismatists in the audience.

There were also some average oil paintings here in a small room so I snapped a couple of pics for posterity.

Read below.
For above.  Interesting fact if it is true.

The women are always the problem...

Karl spied this "Cinquedea, early 1500s, Italy, metal and mother of pearl' treasure.  His character in Assassin's Creed has one so that's where recognised it.  He also has spied weapons in Nottingham, Paris and Scotland museums that he uses in his games.  At least he is somewhat interested in the museums I guess. 

Dana Johnson Pic - I had penne pasta with butternut squash and blue cheese sauce which was very good.  On the left is salad.  While we were sitting at lunch Bob asked me how much of museum I had seen so I answered about a half.  So had he except he was ready to go.  He also thought the museum was lacking which confirmed mine and Lori's opinion.  Apparently the website is much better than the museum.
So after lunch we left the museum without going through the top two floors and retraced my earlier walk past the Sheldonian Theatre, Bridge of Sighs, etc. to show them a little more of Oxford.  Unfortunately Bob and Lona didn't feel like exploring any more of Oxford so we called it an early day and came home.  We'll have to go back to see the other sights so stay tuned for another Oxford post this winter as we explore Christ Church and the other colleges in Oxford. 
The healthy blahs continued Sunday so we scrapped our plans and hung around the house.  Karl and I did squeeze in the Skyfall matinee which we both really liked.  Some nice twists in the story line plus we saw a couple of geographical spots we have toured over here which I thought was neat.
Thanks for listening,


  1. Too bad about the ill in-laws.

    Nice photos on your sprint through Oxford. Our guide took us by Turf Tavern but didn't tell us either of the anecdotes you did. Perhaps you could get a job as a guide . . .

    I fear sounding like a museum snob, but the Ashmolean didn't do much for us either. Hard to compete against the British Museum, the Louvre, etc.

    Hope you can get to CCC sometime.

    1. If I weren't retired I would consider a job as a guide.

      I plan on going back on one of those dull winter weekends when the weather looks to be decent. We can't afford to spend Jan-Feb sitting home this year so I have this penciled in on one of those rain free weekends.