Wednesday, 4 September 2013

A trip to Oxford

I made a flying visit to Oxford last week - and the AIEP conference of international crime writers. A fascinating two days, with delegates from all over the world and a packed programme that included a few treats - like a guided trip around the city with author Martin Edwards, who knows pretty much everything you would ever want to know about who wrote what, and where. Oxford, between the covers of a book, appears to be a hotbed of crime. I wouldn't know about any other kind! Excellent hospitality at St Hilda's College, perfect weather, good company and a great deal of enjoyment. I also snatched a morning for a short ramble round the city, before travelling home. And took pictures.

Wherever you are in Oxford, you're being watched - no, not by CCTV, but by faces and statues on doors, walls and roofs - old stone and carving everywhere. Quirky alleyways, glimpses of gardens through doorways and gateways, the doors themselves - all things that I find fascinating, with the suggestion of thing hidden, secret, maybe even forbidden.  I also chanced on a fabulous exhibition in the Bodleian Library  - small but full of treasures - medieval manuscripts and a first folio of Macbeth amongst them, illustrating aspects of fantasy and magic used by authors such as Tolkien. There were several exhibits that fitted into a long term project that is currently in research. I now know what a volvelle is, and there will definitely be one of those in the book. I briefly checked out the Ashmolean - I shall need to look at some pictures there in due course - and I took a quick look at the Randolph hotel. I was staying there for the weekend when I picked up an entry form for a writing contest - which I won! My first validation that I could write and that maybe one day I would publish a book.

I had a really good time, and the picture gallery is below.

Watchers - I think this is Pan, holding up the porch, with the Green man on the door itself?

I liked the combination of old looking door and shiny new keyhole. 

Watchers on the roof this time. 

I loved the name of this little alleyway. 

The famous literary pub.

Poster for the Magical Books exhibition.

This caught my eye in the Ashmolean Museum. Lovely drapes - wonder what it would have looked like with the missing head and arms?

I had lunch in what is reputed to be the first central university building - 1320.

I'm watching you!

So am I!

Flower border at Balliol

Fond memories of the Randolph- and afternoon tea!


  1. I've never been to Oxford although I'd love to go, it's just a little bit too far to be easy for us. It always looks fantastic on TV and in your photos. Maybe one day.....

    1. Hope you do make it, one day. There is so much to see - you really need a week!