The Trip — 2016: Part 24 — Patrick Mavros

Thursday — a quiet day.

Trip - "The Messiah" Antonio Stradivari
“The Messiah” Antonio Stradivari – Ashmolean Museum

We went out late in the morning for Di to have a mani-pedi, etc. at the Randolph Hotel in Oxford. Daniel, the doorman, and I got Di into the hotel on a ramp and eventually got her to the Spa via the lift. I was to come for her early in the afternoon.

I returned to the hotel for a shave, trimmed my facial hair, and a nice, very, hot shower. Afterward I toured the Covered Market and then to the Ashmolean Museum. Spent an hour touring galleries I had missed earlier in the week and took a lot of pictures.

Trip - Daniel and Di at The Randolph
Daniel and Di at The Randolph

The Ashmolean is just across the street from the Randolph and I headed to meet Di. I found Di and Daniel having a smoke by the entry and they told me they had an “incident.” Di had almost fallen off of the ramp (Both the Randolph and the Old Bank have portable ramps so that people with wheelchairs, scooters, etc. can “easily” enter and exit their facilities.) on the stairs but that Daniel had caught Di before she had fallen. All Right!

We returned to our hotel via the Covered Market where Di did some souvenir shopping — t-shirts, ashtrays, and cards.

We had a nice dinner at the Quod and thence to bed.Patrick Mavros Jewelry

Friday — I awoke at four this morning to an infomercial — either Di had been watching something in the middle of the night that she had forgotten to turn off or the TV control that I found on the floor next to her side of the bed had been knocked off the tray and booted the TV.

A car from Pryors picked us up at ten-fifteen for a ride into London and a visit to a jewelry store — Patrick Mavros. Malcolm proved to be a very good driver and the trip was quite a nice ride.

Dropping us off at Mavros’ location about Noon we had an hour and a half to spend there. Despite my misgivings about spending so much time at a jewelry store, I enjoyed myself. The owner was quite a gentleman and the shop was an environment to admire. After seeing this shop I imagine that other jewelers are in a state of envy. The shop is beautiful. The building space is marvelous and interesting and some of the jewelry are works of art.

Trip - DI and Patrick Mavros
DI and Patrick Mavros

Di purchased a necklace for her sister, Tricia.

Patrick, the owner, showed us around the building and shop — quite proud of his business, as he should be. Just a marvelous environment.

Malcolm picked us up at one-thirty and returned us to Oxford. Di had a smoke in the hotel parking lot and we then had tea at the Quod — the waiter asked if I would like to have my usual — yes, said I. We’ve only been here a week and the waiter remembers my whiskey — Good Show.

Saturday — This was to be a lazy day as we are visiting Tricia and switching hotels on the morrow.

Patrick Mavros Jewelry -- Patrick and DiDi went shopping for a gift for Helen but was unable to find anything appropriate after a couple of hours in the Covered Market and department stores.

We had dinner in our room.

(to be continued)

Trip - Traffic on our return to Oxford.
Traffic on our return to Oxford.


Trip - Patrick Mavros Jewelry -- Mauritius Collection
Mauritius Collection

Trip - In Oxford, UK
In Oxford, UK

The Trip — 2016: Part 22 — Wadham College

Monday: Today was the day to visit Wadham College, University of Oxford, where Di’s parents’ ashes rest.

Trip - A busker we passed on the walk to Wadham
A busker we passed on the walk to Wadham

When Di’s father, F.F.H. Charlton, died a decade ago, permission was granted to spread his ashes in a private garden on the college grounds. (Ferrier had graduated from Wadham and maintained a relationship with the college afterward.) In a quiet corner the gardener planted a Japanese Maple and Fer’s children and wife spread his ashes beneath. Five years ago we returned and the children spread their mother’s, Lola Charlton, ashes beneath the same tree.

Di wanted to visit her parents while we were in Britain this trip. She made several calls to Wadham to try to arrange a visit but ran into nothing but busy signals. Locating the college just a thousand yards from our hotel, I took a quick walk over this morning to see what I could do for her visit. The Head Porter was quite accommodating as I explained the situation and called the gardener, Andrew, on his mobile. Andrew showed up a minute later and we walked to the back garden as I explained the situation to him. He remembered both planting the tree and spreading the ashes for Fer and our last visit five years ago.

He said he would be very happy to let us in when I brought my wife and her friends to the college later in the day — Hmmm . . . it seems for once I actually did something right.

Trip - Di standing at her parents' tree
Di standing at her parents’ tree

On returning to the hotel, we had tea and coffee with Don and Cathy and then headed to Wadham.

The porter called Andrew who showed up a couple of minutes later. While we were waiting for him Di arranged to purchase a Wadham t-shirt. She then showed where her father lived as a student and Andrew escorted us, and answered our questions, to the back garden. Don and Cathy, especially Don, spent time wandering the garden and being suitably impressed while Di spent some quiet time with her parents.

Trip - Don and Kathy in Wadham's garden
Don and Kathy in Wadham’s garden

A while later we exited by the back way nursery and car park for the workers.

Cathy wanted to look for some shoes so we visited the Clarks shoe store a few blocks away. I waited outside and started a conversation with Henry who arrived just after we did (his wife was shopping inside). We spoke for a few minutes and I found that Henry was a lawyer from Louisiana (As I edit and post this entry I find myself hoping that his was not one of the homes flooded recently in Louisiana.) and would be attending the New Orleans Saints game against the San Diego Chargers in San Diego this upcoming season. Don came out and our conversation continued for the next five or ten minutes until Henry’s wife exited the store with a single pair of shoes and they proceeded to their next experience. Cathy and Di exited a few minutes later with no purchases — Di wants to return tomorrow to get some shoes to replace those lost by BA in our baggage fiasco.

Trip - Nursery entry
Nursery entry

We said good-bye to Don and Cathy who were heading to London; we’ll see them on Wednesday for a tour of Buckingham Palace.

Returning to the hotel, we had tea and lunch (I, of course, had a whisky.) and returned to our room for a quiet evening.

Trip - Cottage entry with low doorway. Inset: sign above doorway
Cottage entry with low doorway. Inset: sign above doorway

Tuesday — a day of rest.

(to be continued)

The Trip — 2016: Part 20 — Heathrow to Oxford

Trip - Old Bank Hotel and Quod Restaurant
Old Bank Hotel and Quod Restaurant

Only a dozen people or so were left in the baggage area and I was only able to find three of our four checked bags (Di’s scooter, however, was there and I unfolded it for her to ride through customs and to our taxi). After waiting for the remainder of the flight’s bags to be unloaded, and not finding Bag #4 containing Di’s extra shoes, sandals, knickers and everyday clothing, we filed a claim with BA. We were assured the bag would be delivered to our hotel the next day. (It is now 9:22 pm the next day and the missing bag has still not shown; BA’s phone line has been too busy to speak with anyone.)

Trip - Don, Kathy, Di and Joe - University College, Oxford
Don, Kathy, Di and Joe – University College, Oxford

Helen was taking a train and bus to her home in London while the rest of us went in a hire car, think taxi, to take Trish home in Newbury and us to our hotels in Oxford.

Trish had Peter, our driver, get off the motorway a bit early to give Don (his first time in England) and Kathy a tour of a bit of English countryside.

Trip - Shelly

We dropped Trish at her home only to find that the neighbors who were keeping an eye on her place had not placed the key where they had said they would. Eventually, we had to leave as it was getting dark. Trish said she’d be OK — turned out the neighbors were in another backyard garden and hadn’t thought Trish would be home so early.

We went on to Oxford and Don and Cathy landed at their B&B, and we checked into the Old Bank Hotel. The room’s a bit small and cramped but looks nice. It has some handicapped accessible features and Charlie can use her scooter to go outside for a smoke. It took me three tries to get some ice so I could have a drink and there is no fridge (there is a stocked mini-bar cooler), nor microwave nor tea/coffee maker — hmmm . . . there is an attached restaurant and room service.

Trip - On to the Ashmolean Museum
On to the Ashmolean Museum

I took Di out to smoke in the parking lot behind the hotel and then had a couple of drinks (Trish and Helen had gotten me a bottle of Cardhu at Corfu Duty Free) and some of Di’s Twiglets before turning in for the evening.

The hotel delivered a London Times and Daily Telegraph this morning and I read parts of them before Don and Kathy showed up about nine. We went to the Quod Restaurant next door for coffee, tea and breakfast. The service was slow, and we weren’t even asked if we’d like a second cup. No, I didn’t get any breakfast.

Trip - Egyptian exhibit at the Ashmolean
Egyptian exhibit at the Ashmolean

About ten-thirty we started to walk to see Shelly’s memorial (who, ironically, did not graduate from University College) and then walked in the other direction to take in some of the Ashmolean Museum. Don and Cathy wanted to split up to meet us at the Quod for High Tea at 3:30 pm. (Liliana, the librarian from Charlie’s former school was in Oxford with her husband for the summer and was also going to join us there.)

I asked Charlie if she wanted to see the museum and she said no. I asked why we were there and she said she wanted Don and Cathy to see it or, at least, have the opportunity to do so. Therefore, I wandered through the museum until after one when Charlie wanted to go outside for a smoke. I came out after another ten minutes and she now wants to go shopping for some skin moisturizer and knickers.

Trip - Tea at the Old Bank Hotel

We do this and return to our hotel to wait for her friends and guests to show up for tea. I go next door to make reservations and am told they are taking no more, just show up — great. Everyone arrives and there is no room for us in the restaurant. We have to go to the “library” in the hotel. Eventually we arrange the furniture to suit ourselves and open windows that seemed to have remained unopened for decades to get some fresh air and cooling.

Trip - Kathy, Tricia, Di and Lilliana
Kathy, Tricia, Di and Liliana

Tea is served and we remain talking for some hours; Trish joins us; plans are made and changed; a round of Pimms is shared. Trish eventually takes Don and Cathy to a pub where they’ll meet her son and have a drink. Liliana and her husband have already left and Di and I head back to our room.

(to be continued)