Monday, November 29, 2010

Oxford: The Nerd Paradise

What a lovely thing to be a nerd. I have only a slight desire to have the chance to go to Oxford, but I don't really want to work that hard.

The University for many other reasons is my ultimate nerd paradise. J.R.R. Tolkien studied and taught there, writing most of his Lord of the Rings during that time. The Pre-Raphaelite Artists were connected to Oxford in many ways. Scenes from the Harry Potter movies were filmed there (and many other films).

Put these three things together, and it's Maureen's (and many of her equally or more nerdy friends as well) ultimate nerd paradise.

The plan today was to make it into Oxford whenever I felt like it and meet Jayne at 5pm at the Covered Market when she got off the bus from work. I made it to Oxford just after 10am and made my way to the Tourist Information Office. A walking tour was about to leave, and I debated for about five minutes before deciding to give into my inner tourist. Absolutely the best decision. Ever. Our guide, Jane, was a graduate herself, and like a proper tour guide, she knew all the geeky details that make it interesting. So and so studied here. On such and such a date the first woman was admitted. On such and such a date, etc.

We went into Jesus College, Exeter College, the Bodleian Library, the Divinity School, and in and out of lovely college lanes. Jesus College was the only college founded under Queen Elizabeth I's reign. Click. Click. Tolkien and Philip Pullman studied at Exeter. That got my camera clicking faster. Old Buildings. BENCHES. Ivy in lovely fall colors. Stained Glass Windows. Street lights. Doors. Windows. Etc. Etc. Etc. Today alone I took almost 300 photos. tee hee hee

After the tour, I asked my lovely guide where a Tolkien fan and a Pre-Raph fan would go. She sent me to the Union Library to see the Pre-Raph mural. I sat in there staring at the ceiling, walking around the balcony, writing in my journal. Then, off to find Pembroke College at Oxford where Tolkien taught. Closed. But a picture outside. Then off to Harris Manchester College to see the Burne-Jones/Morris stained glass windows in the chapel. Then off to New College, where I learned by eavesdropping on a tour that scenes from Harry Potter were shot there. Then meandering and meandering. To end the afternoon, book shopping in Blackwell's!

Jayne and I then met and went to the White Horse, the pub where Tolkien, Lewis, and others would meet and discuss their work. A glass of wine, some fries and salad (for me, lol), more good conversation, and the final nerd factor of the day.

Back at Jayne's now and digesting this wonderful, wonderful day. Sad to be leaving Jayne so soon, but it's on to London for a fly-by dinner with Lucy and then Sweden on Wednesday. Only a week has passed. Three wonderful, soul-friends. Two more to go :)

Hugs and love and may you find your nerd paradise...

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