Oxford was an hour away by the early morning train. The drizzly morning pealed away and there stood the confusingly coiled city with its towering chapels and tiny alleyways. Our morning started with a lecture by Dr. Alex May, an editor of the Dictionary of National Biography in an equally twisty Wadham College. This was followed by a steak lunch on BU with some tasty lemon tart for dessert. Then we took a two hour walking tour of Oxford which was interesting for the first hour or so but then got into a lot of information that no one really understood or was particularly interested in, however it was a sunny day and it was nice to see the town.
I went to Oxford with the sole purpose of doing two things: 1. seeing the Tolkien tree in the Botanical Gardens, and 2. having a pint at the Eagle and Child. Since our walking tour took well into the afternoon by the time Margaret, Devon, and I walked all the way back across the city the Botanical Garden had already let in its last visitors of the day and was closed. Heartbroken I (with Devon and Margaret in tow) set off to see Christ Church College (which we were all interested in seeing as opposed to me who just wanted to get into the garden for this one tree). There we wanted to see the staircase that leads to the Great Hall from the Harry Potter movies as well as a series of stained glass windows depicting characters from Alice in Wonderland. Retracing our steps down High Street we get to the entrance to Christ Church. It’s closed! I’m not sure if we can blame this on the lateness of our tour or not but I’m going to anyway because I like to gripe about things. Thoroughly defeated we slowly made our way to the Eagle and Child, passing some small buildings under construction near the Ashmolium (close to the pub’s location) at which I muttered something about betting that the pub would be under construction with our luck. To my delight (and theirs I believe) it was not. I finally made it to ONE thing on my list. After making Margaret take several pictures of me (both inside and outside) I bought my friends a celebratory round for putting up with Tolkien fever and I finally got my pint at the Eagle and Child.
On a side note the bartender was quite nice and we had a nice talk about why I was in Oxford and in England and at this particular pub. Then he asked Margaret and Devon if I’d been spouting Tolkien all day (hint: the answer was yes.)
Although I didn’t get to everything I wanted to today (and I WILL be going back to see that tree as well as the Alice in Wonderland windows) Oxford was an amazing day.