REFLECTIONS: We returned today to one of my favorite British cities ( I think I have been in four by now, so I really know my British cities well!)
The train ride was fast, comfortable, and pleasant. There is a lot to be said for the British Mass Transit System, both the underground (tube) and the train. I have never lived in a city which used mass transit much. In Baton Rouge, it seems to be almost only those who have no choice. Here, it is a wide variety of people zooming along together -- in the stuffy tube or the comfy train. I am afraid our country may be too big and too independent for us to use mass transit well unless/until we are forced to.
Hundreds of bicycles filled the bike lot at the Oxford Train Station. Evidently, many combine these two forms of transportation.
Maybe mass transit is one reason that there anything goes over here as far as clothing and hair styles. Sweating in the tube and zooming on the bike make for a interesting appearance upon arrival. Well, come to think of it, maybe that's not the only reason for this wide variety of styles.
A wonderfully-British, white-haired gentleman in corduroys led us around and shared stories. I think he enjoyed it also, as our group was evidently a bit more enthusiastic than some. :) We are pretty enthusiastic about things which others consider quite dry and others might even call dull . :):)
Here, we were allowed to sit on the benches where scholars sat in medieval days as they waited to be called upon for their oral exams. It's hard to imagine or describe the beauty of these ancient British buildings we are seeing, just as it is hard to grasp that young men sat on these same benches hundreds of years ago.
Our walk through the "tunnels" between the stacks of books could be the basis for another National Treasure movie. Our white-headed gent would make a great character actor. When you think of the inside of the buildings, think Harry Potter; some scenes were actually filmed here.
THE BODLEIAN LIBRARY
The main research library of the University of Oxford, The Bodleian takes its name from Sir Thomas Bodley who restored the library, re-opening it in 1602. It had been founded in the 1400's.
The Bodleian is primarily for the use of Oxford students and faculty, but also for the "community of the learned".
The Old School's Quadrangle was finished in 1619, and the area around it includes The Divinity School (the University's first examination school), The Chancellor's Court, and The Convocation House (used by Parliament for a short period).
The Bodleian also has seven other sites including a law library, Indian library, and Japanese library.
Standing in The Old School's Quadrangle, one sees the doors which still have the names of their former schools painted on them in Latin.
The "Old Library" across the street houses the tall books, and the "New Library" houses the small library in a shelving system similar, although more antiquated,than the British Library. It uses conveyor belts to send the books to the proper reading room, and our guide did not seem quite sure how the books could be located. He referred to the librarians who located them as troglodytes, and it sounded as if they just were not allowed to die, since no one would ever be able to locate the books if they did.
Although one of the reading rooms was rather utilitarian, the Camera Reading Room was straight out of the movies.
And literally, at the movies, you can get a glimpse of one of Bodlean buildings as it served as the Hogwarts Library in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.
C.S. LEWIS TOUR: Several of my classmates and I took a C.S. Lewis tour in Oxford. We viewed several places Lewis lived, as well as one of the places his good buddy, J.R.R. Tolkien lived. We visited the church Lewis worshipped in as an adult and his grave.
I'm glad I took this tour, but the tour guide gave off negative "vibes" which did detract from the afternoon. I will try to remember how much one's own attitude can affect others.
THE EAGLE AND THE BABY: Now this was really cool! Most of the class, from the current generation.. what is it now? . to us Baby Boomers just happened to show up at the pub where the Inklings, Lewis, Tolkien, and buddies, would gather to talk about their writings, etc., How fascinating to wonder what parts of Narnia and Middle Earth may have been born here! And how cool to remember that they had no idea that we would all gather here years later and think of them. Makes one wonder what group out there might be another group of unknown Inklings...