Saturday, 19 September 2015

Falmouth 2015

It was a very early start to get down to Cornwall as Marina was picking up her new car. While she was doing that I decided that it was a good opportunity to acquaint myself with the hotel. Unfortunately the room wasn't ready to I decided to check out the 'Tribute' Ale in the bar while awaiting her return. I am pleased to say it was as good as I remembered. Falmouth is famous for its harbour. Together with Carrick Roads, it forms the third deepest natural harbour in the world, and the deepest in Western Europe. It is has been the start or finish point of various round-the-world record-breaking voyages, such as those of Sir Francis Chichester and Dame Ellen MacArthur. During World War II the United States Navy had a large base in Falmouth harbour as well as an army base in the town. I felt give it's Maritime history that it was important to look the part. No trip to Cornwall would be the same without a visit to Harlyn Bay. The beach was exrtemely busy considering it was quite an overcast day. Another place always worth a visit is Padstow which always seems to be busy. Lots of people around the harbour edge with their crab lines. Judging by the creatures captured in their buckets they were doing very nicely too. On the way home we called at Bosveal and walked down to the beach at Durgan alongside the Helford Estuary. It is right next to the gardens at Glendurgan a sheltered and exotic valley that leads to the Helford River.

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Oxford Birthday - Part 2

The Bridge of Sighs (Hertford Bridge) is not to be confused with the Venetian equivalent. Hertford Bridge was never intended to be a replica of the Venetian bridge, and actually bears a closer resemblance to the Rialto Bridge in the same city. It connects two parts of Hertford College over New College Lane. We decided to walk down to the river taking in Christ Church College on the way. It is the second wealthiest Oxford college and the largest and is famed for producing 13 British Prime Ministers. Down on the river The Oxford City Royal Regatta was taking place. It is a historic and popular regatta held on the Isis - a beautiful stretch of the River Thames, and the scene of centuries of rowing history. The races take place over a 1000m course on Saturday and a 500m sprint on Sunday. Several hundred competitors take part in a range of events including British Rowing events (for Juniors, Novices, Seniors and Masters) and mixed crew events. I really wanted to see the inside of one of the colleges and Magdalen was the one we happened upon. Magdalen College was founded in 1458 by William of Waynflete, Bishop of Winchester. Magdalen stands next to the River Cherwell and has within its grounds a deer park and Addison's Walk. The large, square Magdalen Tower is an Oxford landmark, and it is a tradition, dating to the days of Henry VII, that the college choir sings from the top of it at 6 a.m. on May Morning. Built to be spectacular at 44m (144 ft) The Magdalen Tower is the highest point in the 'City of Dreaming Spires'. Described by Oscar Wilde as 'Magdalen's tall tower tipped with tremulous gold'. A well earned pint was had in 'The Eagle and Child' public house. Owned by St. John's College, Oxford, the pub had been part of an endowment belonging to University College since the 17th century. It has associations with the Inklings writers' group which included J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis. The beer was good but there was a disappointing amount of memorabilia for the literary greats who made the place so famous.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Oxford - Birthday

What better way to spend a birthday than In the "city of dreaming spires",where academia takes centre stage. The city is known worldwide as the home of the University of Oxford. The term 'dreaming spires' was coined by one of the great Victorian poets Matthew Arnold (the third great Victorian poet after Tennyson and Browning). Our first stop was the historic'Covered Market'. Oxford has had a market probably since the late ninth century, when the town was fortified, or perhaps earlier, but the first written reference is found in twelfth century records. It started at Carfax (the main crossroads) and spread along adjoining streets. The Covered Market was started in response to a general wish to clear ‘untidy, mess and unsavoury stalls’ from the main streets. John Gwynn architect of Magdalen Bridge, drew up the plans and designed the High Street front with its four entrances. Today you can still buy a great selection of meat and fish here, and numerous cheeses, . Fruit and vegetable stalls still make colourful displays but much of the produce is now imported from all over the world. In the old days it was full of game hanging from the ceilings including, geese , pheasants, hares, rabbits and even the odd boars head! You can't go far without encountering a College, just along the road from the Indoor Market is Brasenose College. It was founded in 1509, with the College library and current chapel added in the mid-seventeenth century. Its name is believed to derive from the name of a brass or bronze knocker that adorned the hall's door. Among the best known living Brasenose alumni are Prime Minister David Cameron, the comedian Michael Palin, Mybe that should be the other way round? The Bodleian Library the main research library of the University of Oxford, is one of the oldest libraries in Europe. By the late 18th century, further growth of the library demanded more expansion space. In 1860, the library was allowed to take over the adjacent building, known as the Radcliffe Camera. In 1861, the library’s medical and scientific collections were transferred to the Radcliffe Science Library.