Sunday, 3 March 2013

Oxford, Round 2

Hello Readers,
Before I cover our second trip to Oxford I'll cover a few odd and ends from a couple weeks back.  I didn't include them in the Germany post to keep it clean.

Mark Elliott Pic - Check out my two new babies!  I asked for the Carlsberg glass on the right and during the course of my sweet talking I mentioned that I loved the Guinness harp glasses so she gave me one of those as a surprise.  What a great lady. 
Thanks to Shirley from our BHC I was introduced to Denby Pottery (link) and thought it was nice so I brought Lori there to see it as well.  Oops, they were having a sale.  You know what that means.

Walking around the Denby attractions.  It still is an operational site but we didn't sign up for the factory tour.  We did check out the on-site shops though.
I should have known better.  (I actually really like the design also.)

Ever wonder what a bottle kiln is?

Model of the operational bottle kiln.

Lunch was at an old bottle kiln converted to a restaurant.  Nice girly lunch place although everything had cheese which isn't a good place to bring Lori to eat.  My Stilton cheese and mushroom quiche was very good.
Carol Seppanen Book Update - I finished The Glass Key by Dashiell Hammett, 209 pages.  Couple new characters, same type of story, it was okay.
The Better Halves Club met again, this time at The Breadsal Priory (Wiki link) which used to be a priory but is now a full service hotel, restaurant, and golf course.  Very nice place with tasty salads.  There were four of us for lunch and a fifth joined us for coffee afterwards.  Two members abstained from meeting.
Tis the end of the month which means we say goodbye to the Abraham Lincoln Facial Hair of the Month.  I kind of feel like I should make some type of long winded, historical speech but I am battling a major bout of procrastination right now.  I'll do it tomorrow.
Contemplative Abraham Lincoln has bigger issues to tackle than making awesome facial hair. 
On Saturday we finished up Oxford.  We went previously with my in-laws (read about it here) but they weren't feeling well so we left early that day.  The main goals this time were Christ Church College and Pitt Rivers Museum.  Lori drove down and back as I am still a tad under the weather, I wonder if Oxford brings out the sick in people? 
First stop was Christ Church College (link), famous for having famous students (13 Prime Ministers, Lewis Carroll, John Locke, John Wesley and Robert Peel to name a few from the literature) and some Harry Potter connections.  It claims to be one of the largest college in Oxford with 430 undergraduates and 215 postgraduates.  Oxford is famous for having a lot of colleges but I didn't realise how small the colleges were until we walked around the town.  A few tidbits from the pamphlet - King Henry VIII inherited Cardinal College in 1529 and refounded it as King Henry VIII's College in 1532 then as Christ Church in 1546.  Charles Dodgson (pen name Lewis Carroll) immortalised the Dean's daughter, Alice Liddell, in the Alice in Wonderland stories.  A cheeky reference in the stories is the Red Queen continually shouting "off with her head!", thought to be inspired by Henry the VIII's headless wives.  The college tour is small and very well marked plus the Great Hall of Hogwarts fame is only open to tourists in the afternoon, probably all done to minimise the disruption to the students.  Kind of took me for a surprise as the tour path was compact, clearly marked and well planned which isn't always the case over here.
Christ Church College from the street.

Entrance to Christ Church.

Stairway leading up the the Great Hall.  The staircase was used in the movies as well, Harry and his classmates are first welcomed to Hogwarts by Professor McGonagall on this staircase.  It's empty now but had a long line when it was open.  I can't imagine how long the line is during the prime summer tourist months.

Tom Quad, named after Tom Tower which holds the six ton bell Great Tom.  Tom Tower was designed by Sir Christopher Wren, famous for designing the magnificent St. Paul's Cathedral in London.

The outside of the Great Hall.

So we checked out the cathedral instead.  There was a service in a part of the cathedral so we didn't see everything.  Here is the inside looking through the nave and towards the chancel.  One of the claims to fame is this cathedral is that it is the only church in the world to be both a cathedral and college chapel. 

The Jonah Window from the 1630's.  Jonah is made from stained glass while the city of Nineveh and the rest of the window is painted glass.

This window tried tricking me.  I thought it was my buddies but is really St. Michael and the Devil.  The angels are the give away per the docent.  He also said it is commonly mistaken for St. George and the Dragon.

Medieval stained glass window.  The church dates to the 12th C while the original site church is thought to be from the 8th C, possibly earlier.

Latin Chapel with The Shrine, the oldest monument in the cathedral.  Part of it dates to 1289 and once held the relics of St. Frideswide, the patron saint of Oxford.  The window on the right tells the story of her, you can read about her here.  This is also the oldest part of the cathedral.

Frideswide being transported to heaven on a ship of souls.

Steve Frey Pic - Haven't had an animal pic in a while.  Frideswide is hiding in a pig-sty to avoid King Algar of Mercia.
The Nowers Monument.  14th C knight John de Nowers died in 1386.  He was six foot six inches tall which made him a huge man in his day per the placard. 

The modern Bell Altar.  Made to mark the millennium and is dedicated to Bishop  George Bell who opposed the bombing of German cities in WWII.  The cross was cut from the underside of the altar which was neat I thought.

The Beckett Window, c. 1320.  The oldest window in the cathedral.  We learned all about him in Canterbury.

Beckett praying just before the four knights cut off the top of his head.

Random monument.

The altar.

Gorgeous ceiling.

Random building on the college grounds.  We have seen so much of the same buildings here (churches, cathedrals, manor houses, castles, etc.) that I have started looking for different looking building styles.  I liked this one.
Sounds pretty good right?  It was crap.  One Tintoretto, one Van Dyck, a couple poor Veronese... at least we only paid four pounds to enter.  Half price with Christ Church College admission and Kalle was free (way to be 11 years old KK!).  Four rooms and fifteen minutes later we are out the door.
The Bear Inn/Tavern.  It is Oxford's oldest public house dating to 1242 and was rumoured to stage dog and bear fights in the day.

The Radcliffe Camera (Wiki link).
For lunch and a pint we stopped at the Oxford famous Turf Tavern.  The pint was typically British tasting and in a plain glass so no picture - sorry Kevin.

Good enough for Bubba, good enough for us.  (The tavern, not the smoking I mean.)

Dana Johnson Pic - Burger board on left, beef nachos on right.  Surprisingly not to bad.

Hobbit sized door on our way to Pitt Rivers Museum.  It was about three foot tall.
The Pitt Rivers Museum (link) looked interesting so we checked it out.  I figured Lori would like the archaeology and anthropology exhibits plus it was free.

The Oxford University Museum of Natural History.  The museum was closed for renovation but you walked through part of it to reach the Pitt Rivers.  The museums displays you walked past were fossils, skeletons, various animals, rocks and the like.

Crawfordsville is just outside of Indianapolis.

Interesting size comparison of a human skull to a gorilla hand .

Onto hoarders paradise.  Wow this place was jam packed with everything from armour to combs to keys to puppets to writings.  Just a massive overload of treasure.  Ground floor was packed from side to side while the top two floors were balcony levels that were as crowded.  Plus the lighting was sufficient for viewing but dim for photos so a lot of my pictures didn't turn out.  One of those places that were so diverse and abundant with displays I don't even know where to start describing it.

I wonder if my BHC mate Shirley has one of these?  I will have to ask her.

Hindu religious relics case.  Lots of religious related artifacts here. 

Trumpets.  Looks like Spongebob's trumpet on top left.

Smoking pipes.  Skipping past the ivory pieces, drums, skulls, Arctic Circles clothes, masks, figurines, and evil eye charms.

Here's your Word of the Week Auntie "B" with a visual to assist you.

Religious figures and artifacts.  I'm sure you are getting a feel for the museum by now.
I forget the country/people but their culture is to "modify" the skulls of their defeated enemies.  These skulls were discoloured (looks like they were burned) and had the mandibles stitched together. 

Israeli Uzi designed by Major Uziel Gal.  We're onto the second level now with the hand guns, rifles, semi-automatic rifles, knives, clubs, bows, swords, slings, etc.


Bows.  And helmets, armour, hand cannons, blunderbusses, etc.

Playing cards.

Personal jewelry.  There also was baby carriers, beadworks, body ornaments (feathered, toothed, bone, metallic, leather), tattoos, body art.  Just to much of a clutter here for me to process everything. 


Coins and currencies.  See the turtle and iguana on left?

Keys.  There also locks and carpentry tools.

Skates and snow shoes reminded me of the U.P.

The closed Museum of Natural History did have some bones/casts on display as we left Pitt Rivers.

10,000,000 year old Pyrite.
After Pitt Rivers we walked back to Christ Church and stopped at a couple of sights along the way.

Interior of University College, the oldest Oxford college which was established in 1249 AD.

The outside of University College.  Day is about done for us and now the sun starts shining.
Interesting history/science lesson here somewhere.

University Church.

Back to the Christ Church Great Hall which was the inspiration for the Hogwarts Great Hall (after standing in the hall entrance line for about 15 minutes).  Poetic justice England style means the sun is brilliantly shining through the window now and blinding the room.  Only in England.  You can look at the movie set Great Hall here from our trip to the Harry Potter Studio Tour near London.

View down a table and wall.  Every time we tour places that were used in / or inspired movie scenes I want to watch the movies. 

Henry VIII front and centre under the window.

Fireplace.  I liked the Hogwarts fireplace better.

From the middle looking towards the tourist entrance.  Felt like a packed sardine can going through here.  A little bit of a let down seeing it but I am glad we did.

Christ Church Cloister which was part of the original Priory of St. Frideswide.  8th C human remains were found in a burial plot here.

Jim Seppanen Pic - Tree growing at Christ Church College.  The day's done so its back to the car to drive home.

Bridge clearance on the way back to our Park & Ride.  We are riding on a double decker bus.  Kalle likes to ride on the top level because you feel the sway as you go around the corners. 
Thanks for listening,


  1. I loved Pitt Rivers! We only had 15 minutes to spend in there before closing so we didn't see much. Did you find the shrunken heads?

    1. Yes but the pic didn't turn out. Pitt Rivers was very different from other places we have toured so I really enjoyed it. It was borderline to much for Lori. Karl loved the weapons floor. What did you guys do, sprint thru in 15 minutes? It took about 15 minutes to properly look at a couple cases with all of the "treasure" in them.