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, 7 April 2016

Earthbound Sunshine

Earthbound sunshine,
the daffodils of Christ Church Meadow.
We walk three times a day,
rain (or snow, or sleet) or shine.

I always say that one of the best things about loving and caring for a dog is that they get you out of the house and walking every day, and in Jack's case, three times a day. Jack is half terrier and sorely needs to run, dig, jump, scamper and explore every day. Luckily Oxford is made for walking and we're spoiled for choice for our 'three-times-a-day' walks. My most favourite walk though, as it's always been long before I moved here permanently, is Christ Church meadow.

Make your feet your friend. 
~J.M. Barrie

The meadow is about a five minute
walk from Holywell Street. As always

Jack was anxious to get going, impatiently
waiting at the back door for me.
Once we finally made it out the door, we walked
east down Holywell Street to Longwall Street, where
we turned right and passed by the old Morris Garage.
From the High Street, we turned right onto Rose Lane.

After just a few minutes, we crossed
the High Street and were at Rose Lane
and the Botanic Garden, Magdalen
tower shining like a beacon over us.

Magdalen College tower will host the beautiful
May morning tradition coming up on May 1st.
We slipped through the big, black gates that open into
Christ Church meadow and saw these beautiful
cottages on our right. Soon their cottage gardens will
be in full bloom with lavender, hollyhocks and roses.
We walked alongside the Botanic Garden
and were immediately greeted by, as
Wordsworth described them, a "host of
golden daffodils.......dancing in the breeze".

Then we were at the River Cherwell,
which stretched out ahead of us.

Merton College playing fields were to our right, where
Stuart spent many happy hours as a schoolboy. More
swaying daffodils with Merton college as a backdrop.
It was hard to believe we were just a few minutes away
from the busy High Street once the meadow came into view.
At this point Jack was safe to be off his lead. He's
definitely not a water-dog and rarely ventures
toward the water's edge.
We had quite a bit of rain earlier in
the week and so we needed to dodge
a few big puddles--or most of them
in Jack's case.
Jack was fascinated by the swan but he learned
very quickly that she was not to be tangled with. 
We walked along in a wonderland of daffodils.

...Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance, 
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance....
~William Wordsworth
'I wandered lonely as a Cloud', 1807

Swaying sunshine that has it's
roots firmly planted in the ground.

Don't they just shine!
What a desolate place would be
a world without a flower!
It would be a face without a smile,
a feast without a welcome. 
Are not flowers the stars of the earth,
and are not our stars the
flowers of the heaven.
- A.J. Balfour

Jack decided to take a little detour over the
bridge and explore the path along the Thames.
I managed to get him turned around and back on his lead,
since ducks and geese are just too tempting not to chase.
We left the Thames behind and started back
up the path toward Christ Church,
dodging all the puddles as we went.

Just as we came up the path to Christ Church
it started to rain a bit, so we made a bee
line past Merton College to the High Street,
where the beautiful magnolia in front of
the University Church greeted us.

We stepped into the Radcliffe Square and saw
that Hollywood had come to call in Oxford.
Tom Cruise and Co. were in town filming a
reboot of 'The Mummy', so booms, equipment,
cranes, cameras and crew were everywhere.

Hertford College is playing the role of the
Royal Thames Hospital in a remake of 'The Mummy'.
Oxford makes a perfect backdrop for movies,
and when big-budget blockbusters come to
town, normal life suspends for awhile. We quickly
made our way through the mayhem though and were
so happy to find the peace of Holywell Street again.
The calming pastels of Harris Manchester
student accommodation on Holywell Street.
Back to the Queen waving hello..........
....and the earthbound sunshine at our own front door.
And just in time for an afternoon nap.
After a day's walk everything
has twice its usual value. 
~George Macauley Trevelyan


  1. Thank you for another ramble through Oxford and Christ Church Meadow, Carrie. I'm beginning to feel like I live there! So fun to see Jack enjoying his walk! All is well here. Very much looking forward to Susan's book, which shipped today and should arrive by Monday! Will you see her when she comes to England in the Autumn? I'm going up to KC in a few weeks to see her there. Take care! Jane xo

    1. Glad to hear all is well with you and I'm looking forward to Susan's book too--ordered mine to be delivered to my daughter's in Atlanta (where I'm off to in 2 weeks) since it doesn't come out here until June. I'm definitely planning on going to her get-together/book-signing at Stourhead. It's just under an hour south of us and can't wait! She also has an open invitation to come to tea in our garden, so hopefully they can fit Oxford into their plans. Enjoy Kansas City with all the girlfriends and tell Susan hello from England--can't wait to see her and meet the English girlfriends!! xxCarrieoo

    2. That sounds like tons of fun. Would absolutely adore coming to Stourhead! Ann, my friends here, that you know, has visited there several times, and it is one of her most favorite spots of all England. We toyed with the idea, but just out of reach of possibility for us this time. Enjoy it! I know you will!! I hope Susan & Joe can visit you in Oxford. Wouldn't that be spectacular?!! I will give Susan your message!! I just completed 'Isle of Dreams". You are going to adore this book. It is my favorite, and I love all of them!! xo

  2. Dear Carrie, I had totally forgotten your blog! How could I ?! Now I've spent past hour catching up your stories ;-) Oh, how much Wee Jack has grown since last June! And still as adorable as ever, he is super cute! I was just showing today at work your photos of him - we all love him :D And your photos of beautiful spring in England! You're SOOO lucky to get to live in a historical town and surroundings like that! All winter I've been missing to England so that it hurts - thank God I'm getting there in July. And as a bonus you have Tom Cruise in town! WOW!! I've been his fan for 25 years ;DD
    I'm so happy to have refound your blog. I'll be checking again your new stories and photos - and imagining it's me walking in that beautiful countryside ;-)
    I wish you and Stuart a sunny springtime and a thousands kisses to darling Jack <3 (I'm sure you'll deliver them)
    Lots of regards from Minna Lauri, Espoo Finland

    1. Hi Minna~ It's so good to hear from you and hope you are well--and very glad you were able to catch up on Jack and all the Oxford goings-on. Has it been a year since you were here??? Time flies so fast that it's hard to keep up. I'm so glad you'll get back to England in July. It's such a beautiful time of year here, the countryside is at it's best with all the wildflowers, roses, sheep, hedges and cottage gardens. Thank you for the springtime wishes and I'll give Jack a kiss and a hug for you and he gives you one right back. Take care and thank you so much for stopping by. Hope to see you in Oxford again very, very soon! xxCarrieoo