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Inside an Oxford Graduation

Posted on November 25, 2007 by Holly Hayes
Yesterday was almost entirely occupied by my graduation ceremony, which was complicated and rather exhausting but also fun and memorable. I was proud to be a part of it and now I really *feel* like an Oxford graduate. That's the nice thing about ceremonies. The day started at 11:45 with the "signing of the graces" at my college. This mainly consisted of signing a list to show that I was present...

Last Days in Oxford

Posted on November 24, 2007 by Holly Hayes
Yesterday morning in London we did no more sightseeing, but instead sat around and enjoyed our beautiful hotel room until we were required to leave at 12:00. Then David retrieved the car from the nearby parking lot while I checked out, and we were on our way. The drive went very well, thanks to another lovely sunny day, the guidance of our sat nav, and being on the west side of London...

London Day 2

Posted on November 24, 2007 by Holly Hayes
Thursday we took another marathon walk through a remarkably sunny London. This time we started with Kings Road in Chelsea, which is one of my favorite areas of London (despite a general lack of historic buildings). We did some good window shopping at wonderful stores like Muji and Molton Brown. Muji store window Then we looked for a place to have a late breakfast since it wasn't included at our posh hotel...

London Day 1

Posted on November 23, 2007 by Holly Hayes
Happy Black Friday to those in America! I hope no one hurt themselves out shopping today! So, to begin the promised details of London. On our first full day in the city (Wednesday), it was cloudy starting out but beautifully blue the rest of the day. We followed a walking route we've taken before and like very much, and we had such a great time looking around and taking pictures...

Greenwich and Kensington, London

Posted on November 20, 2007 by Holly Hayes
I'm happy to report we made it successfully across London without any damage to the car or the nerves of the occupants. It took us about an hour to drive nine miles from the east side to the west side, but it was never gridlocked and just a lot of traffic lights. We are now comfortably settled in the Parkcity Hotel in Kensington, which we've stayed in before and really, really like...

Canterbury

Posted on November 19, 2007 by Holly Hayes
Canterbury is a smallish town but it is the spiritual capital of England, for two reasons. First, it was the headquarters and burial place of St Augustine, the first Archbishop of Canterbury. He was sent from Rome by Pope Gregory to convert the English from paganism in 597. A monastery and cathedral were established there, and many important archbishops and abbots were buried there...

Battle and Hastings with Bodiam Castle

Posted on November 18, 2007 by Holly Hayes
Friday we toured Battle Abbey, which was built on the site of the Battle of Hastings in October 1066 to atone for all the bloodshed. It was a Benedictine monastery, as most Norman abbeys were, and was expanded over the years until it was destroyed by King Henry VIII in the 1500s. The tour included the remaining monastic buildings (sadly not including the abbey church, which was razed to the ground) and also the battlefield itself...

Besselsleigh, Bath and Lots of Packing

Posted on November 10, 2007 by Holly Hayes
Oy vey, have we ever been busy this week. I have so much to write about and so little time to do it! But here's a quick post to try to catch up. Monday: Besselsleigh The week started out with a brief Flickrmeet (at which members of the Oxfordshire Churches Group meet up to photograph churches) at Besselsleigh Church. We only stayed about 45 minutes, but was a good chance to meet a couple more people I "know" from Flickr...

A Day Out in Oxfordshire

Posted on November 7, 2007 by Holly Hayes
Sunday was another nice day of some local sightseeing. Dorchester We started out at Dorchester Abbey, which is quite close by and which we first tried out our tripod last March. This time we had little need of the tripod, being armed with our super-duper-image-stablized-zoomy lens instead. We got some great new pictures of the church, both of the outside (the sun was out this time) and the wonderful inside details...

Bonfire Night in an English Village

Posted on November 5, 2007 by Holly Hayes
It's that time of the year in Britain again - Guy Fawkes Day, aka Bonfire Night. Mainly it's a good excuse for fireworks! Poor things don't have Independence Day, after all. If you'd like to celebrate Guy Fawkes Day and don't have any fireworks handy, rent V for Vendetta. It has Natalie Portman in it and is quite good. Last year we stood around a large bonfire by the Wolfson Pond on the River Cherwell...

Worcestershire and Herefordshire Churches

Posted on November 5, 2007 by Holly Hayes
Last Thursday we took a day trip up north to Worcestershire and Herefordshire, English counties not too far from the Welsh border. Pershore Abbey Our first stop was Pershore Abbey, because it was on the way and I had an article on it that needed pictures. We didn't stay long, but it was pretty cool on the outside and had some interesting features on the inside...

Chalgrove, Toot Baldon and Oxford

Posted on October 29, 2007 by Holly Hayes
Sunday was pretty rainy but we visited a church that had its main attraction on the inside - one of the most complete sets of medieval murals in England (painted in about 1330). Chalgrove Church is only five minutes' drive from our house and I didn't even realize it until that morning, which is pretty incredible. Chalgrove Church We arrived just as a lady was leaving and she turned on the lights for us and said she'd be back in an hour or so to lock up...

A Woodland Church in the Cotswolds

Posted on October 21, 2007 by Holly Hayes
To finish up my report of last Monday's outing, from Deerhurst we headed home on the A44 highway, which took us through the Cotswolds. We didn't stop in the famous Stow-on-the-Wold (though it was looking especially lovely as we drove through), but in a village just two miles beyond it called Oddington. Great name. I learned about Oddington from a handy book I had along called *England's Thousand Best Churches*...

Saxon Churches of Deerhurst

Posted on October 20, 2007 by Holly Hayes
After visiting Gloucester Cathedral last Monday (on which see previous post), we headed just nine miles north to the village of Deerhurst, which boasts not one but two Saxon churches. The Anglo-Saxon period ranges from about 600 CE until the Normans took over in 1066. Saxon architecture is fairly rare and I think the only example we'd previously seen is the Saxon tower of St Michael at the North Gate in Oxford...

Gloucester Cathedral

Posted on October 17, 2007 by Holly Hayes
On Monday the nice weather continued so we drove up to Gloucester, which I've long been wanting to see. The drive from Oxford took about an hour and a half and we found a great parking spot near the cathedral. After a quick utilitarian lunch of McDonald's cheeseburgers, we set our cameras loose on one of the nicer cathedrals of England. Gloucester Cathedral began life as an abbey church built over Roman walls...

Sunday Roast and a Village Walk

Posted on October 16, 2007 by Holly Hayes
Sunday afternoon we drove to our neighboring village of Little Milton for Sunday roast at the Lamb Inn, a pub that was recommended by our landlord Charles. There were several glowing reviews online too, and it's so popular you even have to make reservations! And wow, was it ever good! David said he may actually have to hug Charles next time he sees him...

More Oxford Sightseeing

Posted on October 9, 2007 by Holly Hayes
Last Thursday evening we had to run an errand in Oxford, and since the weather was nice we brought our cameras along for about an hour of sightseeing. My main goal was to bring David and his zoom lens to Merton College for the medieval stained glass windows and maybe stop by Magdalen College as well. We found a parking spot on Longwall Street near Magdalen, where surprisingly we have often found an empty spot...

New Zoom Lens and Thame Church

Posted on October 3, 2007 by Holly Hayes
Last week we welcomed a new gadget into the family: a beautiful Canon L 70-200mm zoom lens. It is now attached to David's camera mostly full-time; with me using the wide-angle lens, we make a good team. The zoom arrived mid-week last week, so at first it could only be tested on things around the farm where we live. But David had a great time bothering the chickens and hunting other creatures from the bushes...

The Church Photography Workout

Posted on September 25, 2007 by Holly Hayes
After a stormy and cloudy weekend, Monday turned out to be remarkably sunny. Motivated by the ever-present fear that the sun is about to go away (which is quite justified in England), I just had to go out and enjoy it. So I took my camera for a walk through Great Milton to Great Haseley, a village about 2 miles southeast of us. Having things to take pictures of seems to be the best motivator for me to exercise these days, so thank goodness there are some old churches around here! And boy, did my trip ever turn out to be a workout, as I'll explain below...

Anniversary Dinner in Oxford

Posted on September 19, 2007 by Holly Hayes
Yesterday was our three-year anniversary, yay us! I'm happy to say that after three years of marriage, two of which have been spent in a foreign country with pretty much no one else to hang out with, we still really like each other. And we arrived in the UK just a few days before our anniversary back in 2005, so we celebrated both milestones with a nice evening in the "Big City" for dinner (that'd be Oxford, not London)...