Out in the garden there's half of a heaven...

I’m sitting in the dining room of a 15th century cottage in Oxford, England on a glorious summer day. The sky is deep blue and full of whispy clouds; the temperature is perfect. The doors are open to the back garden and I can hear birds singing (they all sound amazingly like the birds from Kate Bush's Aerial album, but they would wouldn't they?), wind rustling through the trees and distant voices over the garden wall. A cool, gentle breeze brings all these sounds to me. I could sit here forever.

The cottage is made of stone and sits just across Worcester Street from Worcester College at Oxford University. I’m guest lecturing on social media in Karen Head’s class on Thursday to a group of 40 students. I was a little apprehensive about this whole trip – being away for so long, not really having the time or money – but sitting here, I remember why England is my second home.

The flight over was the easiest I’ve had in 15 years of coming to the UK. I got to sit in Delta’s equivalent of first class, which means endless leg room, champagne as soon as you take your seat, a gourmet meal (the crab cakes were amazing!) and big comfy seats that fold down into beds. It meant I arrived at Gatwick feeling not nearly as horrible as I usually do because I got a little sleep. Customs, money exchange, baggage pick up and catching the Oxford Coach was a snap.

The two hour ride to Oxford on the M25 was fairly quick, although we did hit a few Monday morning tailbacks, but the countryside as we came into Oxfordshire was beautiful and we drove straight through the city center and I was awed by all the beautiful buildings. Sitting in the tailback, I was trying to imagine someone coming to England for the first time and sitting on the motorway surrounded by all the strange cars. Yes, there are Fords and Nissan Pathfinders, but there’s also the odd looking (to American eyes) Vauxhalls, Peugeots and VWs. It's almost some Fringe-like parallel universe. The most popular car in the UK is the Ford Focus, according to reports. That’s the car I just bought. I really should be living here.

So, it’s off for dinner in the dining hall at Worcester tonight and then walking around the city with Karen and Colin. It doesn't get dark until nearly 10:30 p.m. in the summer here, which I love. More photos and updates soon, and be sure to follow me on Facebook because the photos are going up there first. The pictures here are the entrance to the cottage the view over the back wall.


DeadMule said…
"...but sitting here, I remember why England is my second home."

Me, too, Collin. I haven't been to England since 1964, but I got a cold chill as I read your post. Have a wonderful time. Just like you, I left part of my heart in England.

Nancy Devine said…
i'm both envious of you and thrilled for you that you're off in england.
i look forward to the pictures on facebook.
January said…
OK. It's official. I'm completely jealous. :)
Lisa Allender said…
Coll, I'm reading your updates all-the-way-through, beginning again, here.
I did not read your updates while you were away, except an occasional look from Facebook.
So,here goes.
I'm already in awe. ;)

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