There is an emanation from the heart

which cannot be described,

but is immediately felt and puts

the stranger at his ease.

~Washington Irving

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.
It turns what we have into enough...

.........and more.

It turns denial into acceptance,
chaos to order, confusion to clarity.

It can turn a meal into a feast,

a house into a home,

a stranger into a friend.

~Melody Beattie

Don't be satisfied with stories,

how things have gone with others.

Unfold your own myth.

May my life be like a great

hospitable tree, and may

weary wanderers find in

me a rest.

~John Henry Jowett

Thursday, 16 April 2015

An April Afternoon at Magdalen College

On a day like today, it feels like winter never happened.  The kitchen door is open, I can hear busy birds out in the garden, there's no other way to describe how the air smells other than 'green', and riotous blooms and colours are everywhere.  It was such a perfect spring day that Stuart and I took some time out this afternoon to walk around Addison's Walk, at Magdalen College.

Addison's Walk was C.S. Lewis' favourite walk in Oxford and you could find him there nearly every day--no matter the weather or the season.  It changes with the colours of the seasons and the light, but I think it's at it's most glorious in the springtime.

Magdalen College was established in 1458 and sits on the High Street, it's perfectly proportioned tower overlooking the River Cherwell and the city.

This is the entrance into Magdalen's beautiful cloisters.

The gardeners were mowing the lawns of the quads and the 
cloisters, so the air smelled of fresh mown grass--nothing better.

The exterior cloister walls.

The lawns of the cloisters and the quads are off limits, and absolutely no one is allowed to walk on them--except for one person in the entire United Kingdom (and of course the bloke who mows the lawn). One of Stuart's favourite "jokes" is:  What does the person who mows the college lawns have in common with the Queen?  They can both walk on the lawn.  It's a long-standing tradition in Oxford that wherever you see signs that say, Please Keep Off the Grass, that means everyone but the Queen.  She can prance all over the lawns of Oxford all she likes.

We came out of the shadowed cloisters into the bright sunshine, which was bouncing off the golden limestone of the Georgian 'New Building'.  Then a few steps over a little bridge to Addison's Walk, which was lined with bright blue, yellow, and white spring flowers.

Addison's Walk
Along the way there are seats carved out of old tree trunks. They seem to be transplanted from Narnia or the Shires, and I always half expect/hope to find a faun or a Hobbit resting on one. We will nod to one another and the faun will wink and say, "Aslan is on the move....", or the Hobbit will take a puff of his pipe and invite me to join him for tea.............but the seat was empty for today.  Maybe next time.

"Everything is blooming most recklessly;
if it were voices instead of colors,
there would be an unbelievable shrieking
into the heart of the night."
~Rainer Maria Rilke

Magdalen is well known for it's rare snake's head fritillaries, which were in full bloom.

At the end of the walk, there's a place to stop and have a cup of tea next to the river, at the Old Kitchens of Magdalen.  It looks out onto Magdalen Bridge, where punts can be rented. It's punting weather again, so lots of people were trying their hand at it--many with limited success, but everybody enjoying being on the river nonetheless.

"There is nothing--absolutely nothing--half so much worth
doing as simply messing about in boats."  ~Kenneth Grahame

We left Addison's Walk behind, promising to return soon--
for a leisurely stroll, a cup of tea,
and to see it all again in the light of summer.  

"We do not merely want to see beauty,
we want to become a part of it."  ~C.S. Lewis

Magdalen College is open to the public: 
April through June at 1pm until 6pm;
 July until late September from noon to 7pm.
Adults: £5; Senior/Students/Children: £4
Refreshments served in the Old Kitchens
Punts can be rented at the Magdalen Bridge Boathouse.

"I wonder anybody does anything at Oxford
but dream and remember, the place is so
beautiful.  One almost expects the people to 
sing instead of speaking.  It is all like an opera."
~William Butler Yeats


  1. Again, absolutely delightful! And always puts a lump in my throat to see Addison's Walk. It was there, of course, as you know, J. R. R. Tolkien helped Lewis see the truth of Christianity, which helped change the direction of Lewis' life and writing. Thank you for this visual of such an important spot to the whole Christian world!

    1. That's why I love walking there too--in fact there isn't a spot in Oxford where I don't feel I'm walking in Lewis' steps. What really surprised me was that living here made his writing even clearer--like I "got" his illustrations, motifs, examples much more. I'm always seeing or observing something/someone and thinking "Oh that's what he meant!" Thanks again for your kind words. xxxooo

  2. I can just imagine how that would be. I am good at putting myself into other people's perspectives and geography, but I KNOW I would just be dissolving in tears of joy to actually be there IN it!! There is nothing like that! Thank you soo much for sharing it. It is really a lot better than just reading about it!! I have a better feel now of how things connect, and it will be even more wonderful when I get to see it in person some day. . . for some day, I will!! :-)

    1. I know you will some day--and it will be just as wonderful as you imagined. England has a way of keeping it's promises to all the people who dream about visiting one day. xxxooo