Marginalia

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Monday 30 September 2019

Anniversary trip, day 5

Bjørn was up before me, and checked out a couple of stores before I got started. We met up at Covered market, which was next on our list.

This has been a market place since 1774. Oxford is a place of tradition, after all.

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Having a cup of coffee at the market before we went on.

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Before we left the market, Bjørn bought me a leather handbag that I had fallen for as an anniversary present. Love it!

Then we went out in search of the next stop on our list - Blackwell's. Saw this on the street, and had to smile.

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Walking on, not quite remembering where Blackwell's is.

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Blackwell's is UK's biggest bookstore, and I remembered it as a Paradise. We first found the Blackwell store that only had comic books and posters. A whole store for that alone. And there they pointed us in the right direction to find the main store.

But there, right next to Blackwell's, was a pub that looked interesting. We went in and had a beer. And learned that we sat at a very old pub full of stories, like the story behind the witch broom they have there. And it is also the Inspector Morse's pub. How cool to discover new things about this city!

Beers being drunk, we entered booklovers' Mecca - Blackwell's. Opened it 1879, fits 125.000 books. Needless to stay we stayed there for a while!

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Everywhere we go in Oxford, we see comments on Brexit. One of the funniest was at Blackwell's:

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And what do you know? Praise for Norwegian Knausgård.

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And now, down to the room which is the world's largest display of books.

Quotes everywhere...

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Books! Books everywhere!

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I could have put up a tent and lived there for a year. We could not even go bananas and buy hundred of books, since we could not brig them home with us. We bought a couple of books each, and walked on. But after only a few meters, we came upon yet another Blackwell's department, this time a store for music books, so we went in there also.

Leaving Blackwell's behind, we were facing the beautiful Sheldonian theatre.

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And the entrance to the Bodlean library.

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Bodlean. From 1602, and one of the oldest libraries in Europe.

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Leaving the library building by another entrance, we were right in front of Radcliffe Camera again.

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It had started to rain, and we were tired, so we found refuge at a nice pub, and had dinner there.

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Afterwards we were just strolling around for a bit

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And then we walked back to the hotel for the evening.

Sunday 29 September 2019

Anniversary trip, day 4

On the program for today, was a long walk. One of my favourite places in Oxford is Port Meadows, where I had many longs walks when I lived here. This was also where me and Bjørn once carved our names on a huge log of tree. It would have been fun to find that one again, but Port Meadows is vast, and we did not. We did however walk for something like 15 kilometers.

The walk up to Port Meadows was beautiful, and along a route I had never walked before.

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Now we were at Port Meadows, but we walked on for a little while to get to The Perch, since we needed a rest and something to drink.

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Then after a rest, we backtracked a little, and found our way to the meadows.

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When we finally found back to civilization, we were tired and in a lot of pain. Not to mention that we had not eaten for many hours. We went in to the first restaurant we saw, which was a quaint Asian one. After dinner we got a taxi back to the hotel. It felt quite good to get back there, sit in the sofa and enjoy some British television before we called it a day.

Saturday 28 September 2019

Anniversary trip, day 3

Got up much earlier today. The next on our list of what to do in Oxford, is to explore the historical part of the city. They call it that, the part where all the really impressive architecture is, even though the rest of the city was not exactly built yesterday... We had breakfast in the hotel room, since we still have a lot of food left there, and set off for a day in the city that had the first University in the English speaking world, and where there is evidence of teaching from as early as 1096.

We took a scenic route in to town

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And when we saw the spire of St. Mary, we knew were nearing.

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We found a narrow alley that took is in the right direction, and voila, we were in the historical part of Oxford, with Radcliffe Camera right in front of us. Bulit in Neo-classical style between 1739-49, it is one of those iconic bulidings that are always used in films from Oxford.

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And right next to it, the entrance to the Univerisy Church of St. Mary the Virgin. There has been a Church here since at least 1086, but like most old churches, it grew over the centuries. This Church was where the trial of the Oxford Martyrs were held in 1555 (they were later burned at the stake). It gives such a feeling of awe to be walking in the midst of so much history.

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We went into the church and looked around.

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I really get that Middle Age vibe in the area outside of St. Mary's and Radcliffe

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Walking on to another iconic Oxford structure - their Bridge of Sighs.

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And down the alleys of the Middle ages

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Time for lunch and a cup of coffee. We stumbled upon a place called "Keepers" which was all about bees. Very cool.

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We had realised we were right next to the botanical garden in Oxford, and that if I had thought about it before we made our priority list, it would have been on it. After a very nice lunch in really sweet and atmospheric surroundings, we went there. It was just as fantastic as what I remembered, even though it is now late summer and we are well past the height of the blooming. I took hundreds of pictures, and can not post all of them here. I will settle for a random selection.

They have huge, magnificent flowerbeds:

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And a lot of wonderful flowers were still blossoming

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Those were the ordinary flowers. And then they have a wide range of truly remarkable plants and flowers

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They had flowerbed upon flowerbed with medical plants.

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Lots of astonishing trees

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An entire greenhouse of cactuses

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Ten minutes to closing time, so we started walking towards the entrance.

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But first, a picture of Bjørn!

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Leaving the garden, being sooo happy we went there. We had seen lots of cool plants, and talked to some really nice people, like an old and very friendly couple who asked us where we were from, and who we then chatted with for quite a while. This really is yet another great day.

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We needed to sit down, and found a nice little place where we had scones and tea.

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We walked back to the hotel, but before we got there, we stopped by a game store. We found some cool games that we bought. And I saw this funny Larsson comic on the lid of a box

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And Bjørn found his lane.

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Walking to the hotel...

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We rested for a little while, and then we walked to the cinema to see "Downton Abbey", the film. First row, comfy seats. We loved the film. It was exactly as it should be, and good way to conclude the series. It might not be deep and intellectual, but it was just right.

It was late, were tired after a day walking. We stopped by a grocery store to buy something to drink, and walked back to the hotel. And Bjørn found his favourite pop, which he only finds in the UK. The Scottish Irn Bru.

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Hotel, rest, sleep.

Friday 27 September 2019

Anniversary trip, day 2

No alarm clock set today. We will do things differently than what we normally do abroad. Normally we would be up really early, have breakfast at the hotel and then hurry out to see and experience as much as humanly possible. This time we will go for relaxation and more laid back days. Both because we want this to be pure luxury, but also because my joints are working against me, and if I do too much, there will be a lot of pain. I will try to be as good to myself as I can, while still feeling we made as much as we could out of these days. We slept long, had a nice long breakfast in our room, and then eventually we ventured out.

Here is our hotel seen from the outside:

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The entire top block there is our hotel room. Yay!

There are so many things I would want to do while here, but there will not be enough time to do all of it, nor would I have the health to do so. So - we have made priorities, and will just move down the list and see how far we get. The number one priority for me is to find my old school and the house I stayed in when I lived in Oxford. So that is what we set out to do. We walked the scenic route into the city centre. Here it is still more late summer than early autumn, and I had to peek in to the beautiful entrance to Christchurch meadows and take a couple of pictures....

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But before we passed the city centre to stroll northwards, Bjørn needed to stop looking like a hobo. We stopped by a hairdresser.

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The hairdresser did well!

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Then we headed northwards towards St. Giles Street where I went to school for six months. I was wondering if I would remember anything from the city after 28 long years, but as I walked on, the architecture was oh so familiar.

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What I had not remembered though, was that Tolkien and C. S. Lewis' favourite pub, The Eagle and Child, was so close to my old school. I knew it was nearby, but I had not remembered that it was practically next door. Visiting that pub again, was also on the list, and since it was raining, we decided to do it right away. When we went there 28 years ago, it was a lot more quiet, and we got the same table as Tolien and Lewis used to sit by. But now it was crowded, and it was obvious that it had become a tourist destination. But we found a table, had a beer and the local lunch "Toad in the hole".

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The last picture was taken to be sent to Amalie. While we were at the Eagle and Child, she sent us a message to tell us she had got the Ph.D position she had applied for! So this is the proud and happy parents pic!

When we went back out, it still rained, but not quite as much. It was not at all difficult to find my old school, I recognised it right away. It was no longer a school, but "The Oxford internet institute", whatever that is.

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Sweet nostalgia! And there was more to come. Like when we passed one of my favourite pubs from back then, The Royal Oak.

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And when we walked the road I walked up and down to school every day, and I recognised the buildings along the way.

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And then we were there, after a walk that was longer than I remembered, and that had been awfully wet and cold. Staverton Road!

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Silly me had thought I would recognise the house I lived in, so I had not checked which housenumber I lived in before I left. And they looked so much the same, that I simply was not able to find out which one. But it might have been this one:

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A very nice trip down memory lane it had been. I am so happy we managed to do this, and my number one goal of this trip was now checked off. We were in Staverton Road, we were cold, wet and tired, and started the walking towards the city centre again. On the way, it started pouring down, and when we reached The Royal Oak again, it was so good to use my old favourite pub to get a break from the rain, some hot chocolate, and some drinks :)

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Right next to us, the "Us Democrats abroad" had a political meeting. That was quite exotic for us!

We went in to the city centre, walked around for a little bit, found the Covered Market which we also want to check of our list, but now it was too late and it was closed. We continued to stroll around in the city centre, and found a new shopping mall! The only thing I had seen that was not there the last time I was in Oxford. At the top floor of the shopping mall, there was a luxury cinema. They were showing the "Downton Abbey" film, after some back and forth, we decided to buy tickets for tomorrow!

It was getting late, we were tired and headed back to the hotel. We bought some groceries on the way there. We walked a different route back, and it took us over the river.

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Back at the hotel we had some more of all the food they had left us, and we watched Brexit debates on TV before we went to bed. It had been a perfect day!!!!

Thursday 26 September 2019

25 year anniversary trip!

The day is here! Last preparations this morning. We are off on a trip to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. Amalie and Benjamin came with us to the airport, so that they could drive the car back home. After check-in, we found a cafe and had lunch and a cup of coffee.

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Then on the plane, and off to Heathrow, London. The flight was as OK as flights can be, and getting out of the airport was also quite painless. We found a taxi that could drive us to Oxford, and had a nice chat with the driver who could assure us that Oxford was pretty much the same as when we last saw it 28 years ago. We had told our hotel that we were in Oxford to celebrate our anniversary. And they had prepared the room accordingly. And what a room it was. Two floors; bedroom upstairs and living-room, kitchen and bathroom downstairs. The best hotel-room ever. And how spoilt we felt by all that was there.

A romantically made bed with chocolate and flowers.

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The table in the bedroom with Champagne and a basket full of snacks.

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TV and sofa upstairs.

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The downstairs livingroom.

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And the table downstairs full of all sorts of goodies. And flowers.

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A sweet card on the table.

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In the kitchen we found serials.

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And in the fridge, we found this

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And as if that was not enough - we had bread and this basket

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Our original plan was to find the hotel, put our bags there, and then go out to find something to eat. But it was late when we came there, we were tired and hungry, and we had a great room full of food. We stayed in, ate, had champagne and watched some excellent British telly :) Pure perfection. Such a brilliant start to our holiday!

Wednesday 25 September 2019

Ready, set......

Amalie and Benjamin came here today. They will look after house and dog while we are away. Making last preparations before our trip. Very much looking forward to this.

Tuesday 24 September 2019

Getting ready

Working, being a bit tired, and getting ready for our trip.

Monday 23 September 2019

Apples. Apples all the way.

The apple trees here have given us a rich harvest. I have brought loads of apples to school. But we still have hundreds of them left. So I have been baking apple cakes. Today I tried a new type. It was delicious.

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Sunday 22 September 2019

Taking it easy

After yesterday, it was good to have a quiet day at home. Have relaxed and spent some time planning our autumn holiday, which will be a trip to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary.

Saturday 21 September 2019

Visting Anita

Today started with a walk down to the lake. A magnificently beautiful day in the autumn sun.

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Then we put Aro in the car and drove off. It has been about a month since we visited Anita and Aro and brought Aro back home with us. Since then we have stayed in touch with Anita on a daily basis. And since then, she has learned that the reason she has felt so ill, is that she has cancer that has spread to her entire body. The doctors have now given her between two and four weeks to live. Her son contacted Bjørn, and said that the only thing that cheers her up these days, is seeing the pictures we send her of Aro. And he asked us if we could come visit her and bring Aro with us. So this is what we did. We drove to Anita. She was lying down on a bed outside, and she was no longer able to walk. She had lost more than ten kilos since we saw her, and she was already a small woman then. Aro was so attached to her when we were there for the first time, and it was a sad surprise that he now did not want to be close to her. We tried to make him jump up into her bed, and she had treats for him, but he did all he could to avoid her. I do not know why, but I do know that some dogs try to avoid people who are sick and dying. I was a little saddened by this, because it would be so good if he could have shared some of his Aro love with her. But Anita said that this made her happy. Because Aro was glued to me and Bjørn, and that made her feel safe that she had made the right choice when she had given him to us. And that she felt so much at ease when she could rest assured that she had managed to give him a good forever home. We stayed there for three hours, and we talked a lot. Before we left, she told us that she was so grateful that we had not brought flowers or spent a lot of time talking about how terrible it was that she was ill. She said that these three hours had been so precious for her, because there were three hours where she could talk about her big passion - dogs, and three hours where she did not think about her cancer. I am glad we could give her that. She had been allowed two days home from hospital, but is going back there tomorrow. When we said goodbye, we promised to come back in not too long.

We drove home, and even though it was only about 6pm when we came back, we did not do anything more this evening, The day had been emotionally draining for both of us.

Friday 20 September 2019

A bit of summer

Planted summer flowers too late this year. Some of them are still blooming!

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Thursday 19 September 2019

A long day

Started the day at the physio. My knee has been really painful lately, after I had a little mishap on a walk. He thinks I should have surgery. We'll see.

A long day at work, and after work I went to visit a former pupil who had invited me to her home. I was there for three hours, and not much more happened that day, apart from some serious relaxing.

Wednesday 18 September 2019

Football day

Football day at school, and the whole day was spent at the football field. When home, it was good to relax in the sofa with Bjørn and Aro.

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Tuesday 17 September 2019

Baking

Have to use all our hundreds of apples for something, so I decided to make a cake. Have not done that for 20 years or so. Went on-line, chose ome that looked promising and went ahead. It needed a crazy amount of sugar, and it looked strange before it was put in the oven. But when it was done, it looked and tasted like a perfect apple cake. That was cool :)

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Monday 16 September 2019

An evening walk

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Sunday 15 September 2019

Soup and concert

Went to Geiteberg Kulturbruk for a "Soup and folk music" event. It is my colleague Guri who runs the place with her husband, so when I was the only one who came alone, I was seated next to her father. We had a nice chat over the soup. The folk music concert was great, and it is always good to fill up on some culture. Before I went there, I regretted that I had bought a ticket since I was not feeling well. But it was still nice.

Had a short walk with Aro today also. And picked apples!

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Saturday 14 September 2019

Under the weather

Was not feeling well today. We had planned to have visitors, but cancelled it. Spent most of the day under the covers.

Friday 13 September 2019

Home office day

Home office. Working, doing things around the house and walking!

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Thursday 12 September 2019

Autumn is here..

Beautiful light.

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Wednesday 11 September 2019

Impressing myself

Was up at around 5am. Got all sorts of things done before I left for work, like going for a morning walk with Aro.

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The rest of the day was pretty darn effective too. Quite tired in the evening.

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