Monday: Today was the day to visit Wadham College, University of Oxford, where Di’s parents’ ashes rest.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Tuesday — a day of rest.
(to be continued)