I’ve only visited Oxford a few times now, but I confess to a growing fondness for this place. First is the way the sun seems to shine brighter (when it comes out from behind the clouds, which hasn’t been very often on this trip). It appears to hang differently in the sky and so the shadows are longer and the light seems brighter. The tree trunks are green, covered with what must be a thin layer of moss. (I can see how fairies and the green man could fit in nicely here.) The birds sing a different tune here, with an English accent no doubt. But last year when we were here, they had more to sing about: the sun was shining and the daffodils were up.
And who doesn’t adore the wonderful English knack with place names? One of the Merkles’ favorites is referred to on the highway as the Wallops: Upper Wallop, Lower Wallop, and Nether Wallop. Another choice one is Toot Hill Butts (right up the street from them). There’s Bicester, which is pronounced Bista. Names like that do make Moscow sound like a bit of a dud. The language really is glorious. Music to the ears. They spell jewelry funny too: jewellery. No kidding.
This place seems to me to be a bit like visiting your great-grandmother. She is familiar, but has some old-fashioned ways, some closely guarded family treasures, and many stories she keeps to herself unless you can coax them out of her. Here at Oxford you might stumble on to one of those breath-taking family treasures at any moment when you turn a corner and wander through an old gate smack into something splendid and ancient. And ancient doesn’t mean two hundred years old…..but rather six or seven hundred years old.
Drinking tea seems entirely appropriate, just like it would be if you were visiting your great-grandmother. She may not have modern appliances or up-to-date plumbing, but her china is lovely and her conversation sparkling. Each year when we return home, I determine to drink more tea, but it is never quite the same as it is here. I always prefer coffee at home.
One last thing I love about this place is this view from Bekah’s kitchen window. Isn’t this a cheery spot?