Monday, July 25, 2022

Days 22 & 23

 On Day 22, we got up early, found a wonderful bakery (with delicious cinnamon buns), and hit the road early to drive back to Chipping Camden to pick up the bag I left behind. Fortunately, they had the bag and picking it up was really not too difficult considering that they might not have found the bag at all and/or we could have been forced to drive much further in reverse as on some days we drove much further than we did this last time. After picking up the bag, we drove to Blenheim Palace about forty minutes more driving for us.

Blenheim Palace was the childhood home of Winston Churchill. We saw the room in which he was born among many other rooms. The house is quite grand with numerous sitting rooms and a library/ballroom complete with organ. This is one house where the title “Palace” is quite appropriate. The grounds were also quite grand with huge lawns, parterres, and a delightful rose garden where we sat and enjoyed the ambiance for a bit before returning to our hotel. At the hotel, Russell graciously offered to let me explore the local bookstores whilst he took the afternoon off. I had loads of fun visiting the very large branch of Waterstone’s plus Blackwell’s and a used bookstore not far from our hotel. Mostly I controlled myself but I must confess that I did end up with a bag full of titles. While I was away, Russell enjoyed afternoon tea in the room. For dinner we decided to keep it simple and went to a local Indian place and the tandoori platter was quite tasty.

Today has been a bit of a difficult day as neither of us had a great sleep and we are both eager to return home after what has been basically non-stop three weeks of sightseeing. We had breakfast at the same bakery as the day before and then went for a bit of a walk to the Oxford Botanical Garden. We arrived there right before opening time and as there was some sort of special event happening in the garden today there were quite a number of people waiting for the garden to open. Our visit to the garden started slowly with several beds laid out according to plant families which is an interesting approach but perhaps not the most visitor-friendly choice. At any rate, the garden slowly started to reveal itself and the highlight for the both of us were the glass houses. There were several of them, not large but immaculately kept with numerous plants in bloom. Our time there was positively magical.

Later, we walked the streets, found a tobacconist and hat shop where I found a couple of hats but we were both “in a mood” and not really enjoying all the people around us. So, after a brief discussion we decided to change gears — we went back to the hotel, got in the car and drove to Waterperry Gardens, a twenty minute drive from Oxford. At the garden we found a lovely tearoom (which was more like a cafeteria) and fortified ourselves with a lunch that hit the spot and greatly improved our mood. The garden itself was interesting with some lovely long borders, gorgeous dahlias, and an extensive shop. Back at the hotel, we smuggled pizza into our room and ate in bed watching tv. As I said, we are ready to go home.

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