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a whirlwind Oxford tour

We got into Oxford about 8pm. Richard had moved out of his college room into a college share house, but his old room wasn't being used yet and he still had a key, so he put us in there. After we'd organised ourselves, he took us on a night tour of Merton college and we had dinner in a Thai restaraunt. The waitress wouldn't take our Scottish pound notes at first, thinking they were Euros!

By the time we'd packed everything for the flight home, it was nearly 1am.

Sunday September 21st

Richard took us on a proper tour, starting with a walk down the Cherwell to the Isis, with its boatsheds and swans. Christchurch was closed, but we climbed Carfax tower, looked around Merton chapel, and checked out a few bookshops: Unsworth Books, and Blackwells of course.

Tolkien's house
Merton college from Merton Field
the river Isis
Oxford spires

We had brunch in the pub where the Inklings - most famously, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis - used to meet. (One surprise was that there was no fuss made about all the sites associated with Tolkien: given the huge profile of Lord of the Rings resulting from the films, I had half-expected an unending stream of tourists on special "Tolkien tours".)

the Radcliffe Camera
Mob Quad - the first college courtyard

The Bodleian library was shut, but we fitted in a good visit to the Ashmolean, where I concentrated on the ceramics and Chinese painting. A hot walk took us out to Freud's Cafe, in an old church, for drinks.

We said goodbye to Richard and, after some repacking outside Mansfield college, headed off around 6pm. We stopped briefly in Windsor, to look at the outside of the castle and have a bite to eat, then continued to Heathrow via backroads (Horton). After a bit of driving around in the dark we found the car hire depot, they took the car and drove us to the airport - where I bought a copy of Linda Colley's Captives - and we were soon on our way back to Sydney.

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