Yesterday I went to Oxford for the third time in my life, but the first time driving. It's such an easy drive, only just over an hour, along the beautiful A40 aka the Golden Valley Road. The signs for the Park and Ride are easy to follow, although the buses are supposed to be every 10 minutes and when I arrived, there was a crowd of people who'd been waiting for 30 minutes! Fortunately a bus turned up quite soon after I'd arrived, although it took a while for everyone to get on. Still, we were finally on our way and didn't hit much traffic driving into Oxford, let alone traffic lights (wish it were as easy to get into Cheltenham).
I met jo_blogs at the bus station and we sauntered along to the Bodleian Library, which was having a Magical Books exhibition. The exhibition was about the idea of magic in English literature and where it had come from, so you had original alchemical texts, a 16th-century magician's sigil stone, and medieval manuscripts, along with drafts from Susan Cooper, Alan Garner and C.S. Lewis, as well as the six signs from The Dark Is Rising sequence which were made for Cooper by her husband, as well as the annotated edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, with J.K. Rowling's notes and illustrations. It was open to her illustration of Snape, with the caption "Snape brooding on the unfairness of the world"! XD Very apt!
I was struck once again by Oxford's beauty, with its Cotswold stone and graceful buildings, it's always graceful and striking, even in the rain. I wanted to check out this nice little French bistro in Jericho (yes, there's really a part of Oxford called Jericho) called Pierre Victoire, but when Jo and I got there, the kitchen had closed! There was no note on the door, the sign wasn't turned to 'Closed', and the restaurant was full of customers, all happily chatting with no sign of trouble. We had to leave and go to the Café Rouge next door. The meal wasn't bad, apart from them getting Jo's omelette filling wrong, but I am determined to go back to Pierre Victoire the next time I'm in Oxford and actually sample the food. At least we were able to go to the George & Davis ice cream parlour opposite. I had some Oxford Blue ice cream (blueberries and cream) with Greek Yoghurt and Honey. I've been to the bigger G&D on St Aldate's Street but I think I like this one better, even though it's smaller, it seemed calmer and quieter than the other one.
We wandered back into town, intending to visit the Divinity School (which had been closed to the public for matriculation) but then the heavens opened. We hurried down the street, seeking shelter, and I spotted an unusual sign on a side street. We dived into The Nosebag and went up some stairs to find a cosy, comfortable little café. We only had tea there, but the menu had a lot of choice, including some great vegetarian options, so it would be fun to go back.
After the tea, Jo went back to the bus station and I went back to the P&R car park, then drove home. I thnk I ran a red light, which was silly, but I honestly thought I could get past before the light turned red. I don't think there is a camera on that crossing though, so I might get away with it. We'll see!