Grandpa and Grandpa, Dad, Lloyd, Scott, LaMar, Bryan, Lynn, Adam, Michael, Ken, Cody, Jake, and Patrick. I hope I didn't forget anyone! Happy Father's Day to you all.
This last Wednesday was our last day trip as a group. We went to Blenheim Palace first, which is still the residence of the Duke of Marlborough. It was a beautiful mansion house, with beautiful gardens. It was also the house where Winston Churchill was born, as the Dukes of Marlborough are from the Churchill family. Of course, it was by accident, but he said that it was one of the best decisions he made. We had a really great tour guide for the house, but I would have liked to have more time. We hardly got to see any of the gardens, and the house has a lot of history connected to it--it was used as a boy's school in the War.
After two hours at Blenheim, we headed to Oxford. I loved Oxford! I was able to go into two colleges, Merton which was free, and Christ Church. Christ Church was beautiful and the alma mater of Christopher Wren, and Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll). The main hall was going to be used in the first Harry Potter movie as the Great Hall, but it was too small, so they made an exact replica of the hall and that's what they used. Another cool thing about the Great Hall is if you walk in and count five windows down on the left hand side, you can see a likeness of Alice in Wonderland, as well as the White Rabbit.
Out in the courtyard is Tom's Tower. The tower was built by Christopher Wren to house the bell called Tom. At 9:05 every night Tom rings 109 times. 109 because that was the number of graduates in the first graduating class of Christ Church and at 9:05 because that is what the time is according to Greenwich Meantime. And because it used to b curfew for students of Christ Church. Christ Church also has it's own cathedral which was beautiful.
After Christ Church, I climbed to the top of the University Chapel of St. Mary the Virgin. Oxford is called the "city of spires" and it is! We were able to see almost the whole city from the top of the church. That was fun. Then it was on to Blackwell's! Blackwell's is the largest bookshop in all of England--the basement holds 3 miles of shelving and thousands unpon thousands of books, and that's just the basement! I spent a little too much money there, but it was definitely worth it! I had to get books by both JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis since they both taught there.
After browsing at Blackwell's I went to the Eagle and Child pub which is where every Tuesday morning the Inklings used to meet to discuss their books and the world. The Inklings consisted of Tolkien, Lewis, Lewis's brother, and eventually Tolkien's son Christopher with several others. I probably sat in the very same place they did! How cool is that?!
I went to see Dirty Dancing Thursday night, and on Friday was our country walk with a man in my ward, Bro. Chittock. IF you remember, he was the one who came and talked to us about what it was like being a child during the Blitz. The walk was beautiful! We went to Kent and saw the hops farms, and woods and farmers fields. It was about nine miles and took us in a circuitous route. We spent most of the day doing that.
Yesterday I finally went to Westminster Abbey! It was definitely worth every pound! I loved it and stood among the graves, tombs and memorials of genius. It was amazing. Last night I saw Gone With the Wind the musical in its last night. That was interesting, but I saw the stars and stripes for the first time in 7 weeks! It was an odd feeling, seeing that, here.
Well, I only have about three more days here! Bittersweet feelings. Love you all!