The Bodleian and The Bird and Baby

July 11, 2015

Oxford University from the streetWe were at Starbucks by 07:00. There are actually breakfast sandwiches at Starbucks that I can eat. I had salmon cheese on a bagel. It was pretty good.


We got on the train for Oxford. We sat separately. My daughter has a large personal space, but it did make it easier to deal with my pack as I didn’t have to lift it overhead or take up foot room with it. The train was not crowded.

What was the first thing we did when we got to Oxford? Go to Waterstones, of course. Then, we went to the Bodleian and bought tickets for the tour. Unfortunately, we could only get the 30 minute tour because it was Degree Day (Graduation Day). Because of graduation ceremonies, they only gave one long tour and that had been earlier in the day. The thirty minute tour guide gave out lots of information but we didn’t get to see much.

The Bodleian is a read only in library. No books are checked out. They also get one copy of Bodleian Shop signevery book printed (in the UK I think.) It merged with the Radcliff Library which is really just next door but they were two different libraries for a long time but now it is just the Radcliff branch of the Bodleian. I didn’t take notes so now I don’t remember who actually donated the money for the first hall of the library but not too long later, Bodley bequeathed his entire fortune to add to and expand.


Looking up in the Bodleian quadrangle
Looking up in the Bodleian quadrangle
ceiling of the Bodleian Library
Ceiling of the Bodleian Library

Interestingly, the guide pointed out that the coat of arms for the library is an open book with the words, God enlightens me written in Latin on the pages. It symbolizes that education is for everyone. In contrast, he said, to Cambridge whose coat of arms is a closed book.


The dining hall at Oxford was what was used for the dining hall at Hogwarts. Harry Potter also took the coat of arms for the University and changed the motto to Never tickle dragons (in Latin).


We had lunch at the Eagle and Child, known to C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the Inklings, as the Bird and Baby. They evidently spent a lot of time there. There are quotes from them all over. We spent some time at the Oxford Waterstones. How could I not buy a book about C.S. Lewis in Oxford?C.S. Lewis and His Circle

Getting Acquainted with Cardiff

Pettigrew's Tearoom at the entrance to Bute Park

10 July 2015

Had breakfast at the hotel where we found that breakfast does not come with the stay. It was ten pounds per person for breakfast.  I had forgotten why I never stayed in Holiday Inns. I will try to remember in the future. WiFi also does not come with the room. £20 for WiFi and it is good from noon to noon 24 hours. It would have cost £70 to have it for the whole time we were here and that for only one of our rooms. I did not want to give them the satisfaction. They don’t even have it free in the lobby as some hotels do.

The room is cramped and has only one drawer. I like to unpack if I am going to be in a hotel for more than 2 nights but don’t have the space. Kathryn had three larger drawers so I guess I just got unlucky.

Seeing as Kathryn is my guide, we spent the day in bookshops and Starbucks. Starbucks was for the WiFi. Learned that I cannot use my credit or debit cards just anywhere. They have chip readers and my cards don’t have chips, something to remember for the future.

We stopped in to a local church that was giving a free organ concert. I definitely am going the way of my mother. I couldn’t hear most of two movements of a Mendelsohn (sp?) sonata.

I was ordering cawls, some sort of lamb stew, for our dinner and the man at the bar could not understand what I was saying. Kathryn had reminded me that in Wales, w is oo as in William so it was cah-ools,. I felt much better when he couldn’t understand her either. We had to point to it on the menu. It sounded like he said it just like she did but anyway… after all of that, they didn’t have it. We had a delicious Shepherd’s pie instead.

Thought about theatre or choral concert but rejected the idea. The choir was singing Disney songs to benefit a children’s charity but I was a bit disgruntled at not hearing a lot of the organ. So, we went to Starbucks for internet and conversation.

Pettigrew's Tearoom at the entrance to Bute Park This is Pettigrew’s Tearoom, taken from my hotel room. I am not fond of tea but it was a wonderful place for tea and cakes. It is at the entrance of beautiful Bute Park which I will post more about later. By the way, the name has nothing to do with Peter Pettigrew.