There is an emanation from the heart

which cannot be described,

but is immediately felt and puts

the stranger at his ease.

~Washington Irving

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.
It turns what we have into enough...

.........and more.

It turns denial into acceptance,
chaos to order, confusion to clarity.

It can turn a meal into a feast,

a house into a home,

a stranger into a friend.

~Melody Beattie

Don't be satisfied with stories,

how things have gone with others.

Unfold your own myth.

May my life be like a great

hospitable tree, and may

weary wanderers find in

me a rest.

~John Henry Jowett

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Oxford "Bests"

Opinions always vary of course, but these
are my own, personal bests from Oxford.

The best reason to visit Oxford ~
"There's something rather wonderful about the
fact that Oxford is a very small city that contains
most of the cultural and metropolitan facilities you 
could want, in terms of bookshops, theatre, cinema, 
conversation.  But it's near enough to London to get 
there in an hour, and it's near enough to huge, 
open spaces, without which I would go insane."   
~ Mark Haddon

BEST BOOKSHOP  ~ Blackwell's on Broad Street.  
A rabbit warren of books, that seems to go on 
forever, and a book lover's dream.

BEST VIEW ~ The church tower of the 
looking out over the Radcliffe Square, 
All Souls College and the High Street.

BEST AFTERNOON TEA ~ The Randolph Hotel, Beaumont Street.
A leisurely, and oh-so-English afternoon tea 
in the drawing room.  Not fussy, relaxed, with 
deep sofas and chairs that encourage lingering.
Be sure to book ahead.

BEST BURGER ~ Maxwell's on Queen Street,
for when only a burger will do.
A tradition in Oxford since the 1970's.

Flagg's on Broad Street.
No self-respecting tourist in Oxford can
go home without a sweatshirt or a 
handful of postcards, or even
a Harry Potter magic wand for that matter.

BEST WALKING TOUR  ~ Oxford Walking Tours, Broad Street.
This one we admit to being completely biased about, but
Stuart's Oxford Walking Tours are the best in town.  Stuart
prides himself on the fact that the tours go INSIDE the colleges.
More importantly, you have to walk to experience Oxford,
since cars and buses aren't allowed down many of the streets.
Only take the open-top bus tours if you want to sit in traffic,
otherwise always opt for walking Oxford.

BEST PLACE TO BUY LUGGAGE ~ Boswells, Broad & Cornmarket
If you've spent too much time in Blackwell's Bookshop
buying books or in Flaggs buying sweatshirts for nieces
and nephews, and find you need an extra piece of luggage
to get home, Boswells is your place.  It's also the place to 
buy a fan if you're staying in the colleges' un-airconditioned 
rooms for the summer, picnic baskets, teapots, towels, 
rugs, candles, and so much more.  A true 'department' 
store, locally owned and run since 1738.

BEST CUP OF COFFEE ~ The Missing Bean, Turl Street.
Opened in 2009, it's already an institution in Oxford
and 12,000 students can't all be wrong.  They're 
independent, roast their own coffee, and offer the 
perfect vantage point for watching the world go 
by on Turl Street, across from Lincoln college.

BEST PUB ~ The Turf Tavern, 
between Holywell Street and New College Lane.
The 'best' pub is probably the most arguable 'best', 
but the Turf Tavern is our favourite, since it's our local pub.
Low ceilings, local cask ales, lots of outside seating with
warm fires in the winter, an Inspector Morse connection, 
and one of the oldest pubs in Oxford.

BEST CAR RENTAL ~ Budget Car Rental, Osney Lane.
For purely practical reasons, this is the best place
to pick up a rental car in Oxford, since it's a short 
walk from the city centre and just near the train station.

BEST SANDWICH SHOP ~ The Alternative Tuck Shop.
on the corner of Holywell Street and Mansfield Rd.
Three hard-working blokes serving up fresh sandwiches
and delicious treats from dawn to dusk.  We love the
Satay Chicken on a fresh granary bap.

BEST COLLEGE GARDEN ~ New College Garden
With New College Don and history professor Robin Lane-Fox
as it's master gardener, this garden is stunning perfection all
through the year.  There's an Elizabethan mound that was
 created purely for viewing the garden and the herbaceous border,
which runs along the old city walls, is one of the best of it's kind.

BEST COLLEGE TO VISIT ~ Magdalen College, the High Street.
If you can only visit one college in Oxford, Magdalen
College offers it all.  Beautiful grounds to wander through, 
Addison's Walk, one of C.S. Lewis' favourite walks, classic 
Oxford dining hall, chapel, and cloisters, a cafe on the river for 
afternoon tea, and it's open until 7pm during the summer months.

BEST WALK ~ Christ Church Meadow
This is my favourite walk, a wide-open space in the middle
of a bustling city.  There are views of  Magdalen, Merton, and
Christ Church colleges, pathways along the Cherwell and the
Thames, daffodils during the spring, wildflowers during the
summer, ducks, geese, heron, and if you look closely, deer
and fox.  Watch rowers on the Thames and punters on the 
Cherwell, picnickers on the river banks, and schoolboys
playing rugby.  It encapsulates all that is Oxford.

These are the "bests" for Stuart and I,
but come and and find your own..............

"It is not down in any map;
true places never are."
~Herman Melville

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