Saturday, January 17, 2009

Homer and Lovely Lavenham

After leaving Manorhouse Farm, we headed to Oxford. This was our first day of rain (and there hasn't been anymore yet) so we were a little restricted in our explorations.

In spite of the rain, we climed the tower of The University Church of St Mary the Virgin. This was great fun in the rain and the wind, and we were rewarded with magnificent views over Oxford (as you can see from the picture above). The climb was very long and steep!

We made a thorough tour of Christ Church College, seeing the dining hall, the stairs where "Harry P0tter" is filmed and making a visit to the beautiful Cathedral. There was a terrific activity for children, finding faces around the Cathedral, and learning about the saints and people commemorated there. A really interesting one was Saint Frideswide, a princess who had hidden in the forests of Oxford to escape a nasty suitor in around 1000 AD. Zoe and I had a great time on this detective activity.

(The tomb of St Frideswide, in Christ Church College Cathedral, Oxford.)

We also visited a surprisingly interesting exhibition on choral music that had a beautiful choir book from Eton dated around 1500 - we are constantly impressed by the age of so many things here!

(The birthplace of Shakespeare, in Stratford-on-Avon.)
We visited Stratford-on-Avon, the birthplace of Shakespeare, which was rather touristy but interesting.

We stayed in the most delightful B&B of our stay for two nights. This was Windy Ridge Farm, and was a very impressive estate with house-keeper and gentleman farmer. The home was filled with lovely things and we were offered drinks in the evening. The owner, Nick, obviously loves opening his home to visitors and told us many funny stories about his life and the area. One was about his father's old dog, Homer, who when it died, was mistakenly buried in the 2500 pound Persian rug!

(Homer's descendant is the biggest dog we have ever seen: Winston is as big as a lioness!)

(Breakfast at Windy Ridge.)

Much to Greg and Zoe's embarassment, I went for a run in the village and the county lanes while we were there - my outfit was not my standard running gear!

We then headed to Cambridge, which we loved. It is such a pretty town, and we loved crossing the Rinver Cam to get into the centre. We visited the impressive Fitzwilliam Gallery and Zoe was fascinated by the Egyptian mummy. We pursued her interest in archeology and anthropology by visiting a couple of excellent museums.


(The entrance to the Fitzwilliam Gallery.)

(These helmets were in the Fitzwilliam Museum and date from the time of the Trojan Wars!)

(The mummy, with body encased.)

(Zoe undertaking some archeological training.)

Our B&B outside of Cambridge wasn't so comfortable so we spent only one night there and headed to Lavenham.What a delightful village this is! We stayed at the excellent pub, The Angel, and wandered the streets and lanes, admiring the very old, very crooked houses, and the magnificent church.

Our touring has now come to an end, as we have arrived in Chelmsford, where we will farewell Greg and Zoe and I will begin our exchange at the school. We have a very comfortable serviced apartment for our stay and have had fun visiting the local supermarket to stock up on supplies.

It will be interesting to see how we get on!

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