UK Trip 2011: Days Ten and Eleven

I recently returned to the USA from a sudden but exciting adventure across the pond to the United Kingdom. The goal of the trip was three-fold: to study some unpublished manuscripts of J.R.R. Tolkien (for an article or two in progress), to tour sites related to Owain Glyndwr (for an upcoming book), and to visit the site recently identified as the location of the Battle of Brunanburh.

As a result, the trip was pretty well packed with things to do, so I’ll be breaking up my trip report here into smallish doses. Enjoy!

. . .

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Not quite the roll of adventures today, as most of my time was taken up with the drive from Llangollen to Oxford.

I decided not to stop anywhere, as I’m just about too tired for words. My feet in particular are pretty sore.

I managed to make it back to the car rental place in Oxford without a hitch, and it was raining a good English rain — just like it was on the morning I left. I considered this a good thing since it washed some of the dirt off the car and also made it less likely that the inspector would spend a lot of time looking it over.

The weather did mean that I was walking the mile into the middle of town in rain, but it was all worth it when I arrived at Wadham College and was told that there had been some problem with my room and I’d been upgraded to the “luxury” room at no charge.

Wadham College quad.

Turns out, it’s essentially an apartment (a flat) that would normally be used by a fellow of the college. It is NICE. A huge sitting area with a bay window overlooking the street, a bedroom, a kitchen, and a massive bedroom. I took a number of pictures.

One of rooms at Wadham College. 🙂

After a short bit of relaxing, I walked around Wadham College a bit, taking some pictures of the dining hall and chapel. Both are magnificent.

Wadham College dining hall.

Chapel at Wadham College.

Next I took a relaxing walk over to the Pitt Rivers Museum, which I’d never been to before. It’s incredibly eclectic — fossils, rocks, guns, shrunken heads, toys, samurai swords … All just lined up in display cases. And the building is just magnificent. I went just to fill some time, but I had a real blast and I stayed until they kicked me out (politely) at closing. I will be coming back to it soon, I hope.

Then a bit more walking, over past New College to the old city walls this time. And then back to my flat to kick up my feet for a few minutes before I headed down to meet Paul Cavill, one of the Brunanburh contributors.

For dinner we split the tab at Brown’s, which is a nice restaurant. Good food and even better company. Paul is a good guy in addition to being a staggeringly brilliant scholar. What he does to “nail down” Brunanburh in the Casebook is incredible, and he isn’t done with the subject yet!

So it is nearly ten now, and I’ve drawn a hot bath for my aching body. I’ll leave in the morn for Heathrow.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Ah, the trip back. No problems, no worries. Just the long, long haul back across the pond.

Clouds over the USA.

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