(1) Stay Together

Be free and stay together – like the Primary School children at Wahat al-Salam – Neve Shalom!

Be free!

I am, isn’t that nice?

You are, honey and spice!

We are, dare I say?

You are, all made of clay!

He, she, it is, count to three,

They are, like you and me! 

(from Esther and Christine for the English learners)

Little Lady Loris Purple Playground of Friendship

And that’s where the school children play together: Under the rainbow on Little Lady Loris Purple Playground of Friendship! By the way, the whereabouts of the first “P” in purple are unknown. But everybody has made peace with the fragment “urple” and, anyway, it looks and sounds a lot more colourful than purple. Hopefully, the “P” doesn’t feel too lonely somewhere far away from the playground of friendship and Little Lady Loris’ rainbow.

 

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Oxford Special – Tropical Oxford Sunset (Part 7 and end)

Oxford At Rest!

Tourists are being waved to meeting points by their multilingual guides, visitors reluctantly step out of  museums, cafes and shops, smiling wistfully but, at the same time, looking somewhat exhausted from all the high-quality sightseeing. Group after group disappears down the streets and around the corners of Oxford. Slowly, the city is being recaptured by its residents, the dreaming spires are given some rest. We, too, are homeward bound. While picking up our pace we take some last, quick glimpses at the sleepy extravaganza of Oxford’s sights after 6 o’clock pm. We stop beneath the Bridge of Sighs to give a number of audible sighs, and halt again in Queen’s Lane for a short argument on cobblestones versus asphalt. My friends reason that cobblestones favourably add to Oxford’s historical appearance whereas I insist that tarred streets are an indispensable cultural ingredient  of construction work and offer a nice conceptual contrast to medieval road building… We finally agree that the double yellow line in quaint Queen’s Lane somehow looks like an arabesque ornament for  traffic-sign fetishists.The antique street lamp at the sharp bend of the narrow road is already lit and sheds a warm, orange light that softens both tar and yellow lines.

. Yellow Lines and Lantern

At the main entrance of the Botanical Garden we watch some minutes as the heavy gates are being closed and locked. Now, until the early hours of tomorrow morning, the old garden from 1621 will return to its genuine existence as hortus conclusus. All those 500 plant species, the inspirational trees and flowers, will indulge in their vegetable murmurs without being disturbed by human voices. If not …if not Inspector Lewis has a nightly appearance to unearth some cold corpses for a TV series!

Polaroid Botanical Garden

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Magdalen Bridge we look down at the banks of River Cherwell and notice that the iron wrought backdoor of the garden is still standing open. The punting boats in the river dock are fastened to each other. Already, they seem to have recovered from their  loads of noisy, joyful day tourists. The wet, reddish-brown wood of the boats effectively illuminates the muddy tristesse of the river. Even a leftover plastic bottle adds to the picturesque scene.

. Polaroid_Quiet Boats

 

Pimm’s No. 1, Cucumber Or Mint?

Having arrived at home, my friends prepare this refreshing highball which uses the spicy-sweet British liqueur Pimm’s No 1. Today, they have decided against cucumber in favour of mint, and they serve the tea-coloured spirit with plenty of bright summer fruit in a large pitcher. Our glasses are filled and we are ready to embark on a tropical Oxford night with a toast to the English longhorn and the River Thames!

 

 

Sunset on the River Thames – at the ford where the oxen trots

Thames Sunset

 

Thank you for the day, dear Oxford friends!

 

Oxford Special – Radcliffe Camera, Being in a Turner State of Mind (Part 6)

Radcliffe Camera and Turner’s High Street, Oxford

Yes, that’s Radcliffe Camera, an utmost iconic landmark in a city peppered with iconic landmarks – but don’t be mistaken, the building with its circular leaden dome and cupola is a library. The word camera simply means ‘room’ and has absolutely nothing to do with filming devices or movies. Radcliffe is the last name of royal physician Dr. John Radcliffe who left a large sum of money to build this first circular library in England which was opened in 1749. Which means that Radcliffe does not refer to an actor with the same last name, frequently starring in Harry Potter films. My friends tell me that Radcliffe Camera today is the reading room of the Bodleian Library and right that moment some eager reading-beavers nonchalantly leave the distinctive building – wouldn’t everybody just love to tackle his reference works under the lofty dome of Radcliffe Camera?!

Radcliffe Camera Turner (2)

Reading under an 18th century dome may sound like an extravagant adventure but beware, unsuspecting reader, do not tip your library chair backwards on a floor which spans a subterranean cavern! Looking at the noble building, you find it quite unimaginable that beneath the solid stonework, the northern lawn and the picturesque cobblestones Radcliffe Camera holds some 600,000 books. This underground bookstore of two floors, complete with a tunnel which links Radcliffe library with the Bodleian, was constructed from 1909 to 1912. So, tread carefully, you’re treading on printed wisdom!

Turner's Highstreet Ashmolean

The artwork you see fastened to the fence in front of Radcliffe Camera shows an Oxford street scene in misty golden afternoon light and is a replica of JMW Turner’s painting The High Street, Oxford. Having walked down High Street just an hour ago you cannot believe that the painting is from 1810 and you agree with your friends that Turner’s view of High Street seems nearly unchanged after more than two centuries. Just forget some few traffic signs or modern vehicles, especially the omnipresent bicycles leaning against fences, walls, gates…

Turner's High Street (2)

Turner’s The High Street, Oxford had been on loan to Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum from a private collection since 1997 but recently it was left to the British nation in lieu of inheritance tax. Its immense value of £3.5 m turned out to be more than the tax due:  Ashmolean needed to raise £860,000 if it wanted to keep the painting. Luckily, the museum was granted the enormous amount of £800.000 from Heritage Lottery and other funds, but for the remaining £60,000 it had to launch an exceptional fundraising campaign to turn residents and visitors of Oxford into a ‘Turner state of mind’. Over the summer, the famous painting  was on prominent display in the entrance space at Ashmolean Museum and additionally, twelve full-size reproductions of The High Street, Oxford were installed all over the city. The response to the campaign was extraordinary so that in just four weeks the target was reached.

ashmolean and Turners

Look at the proud people holding up their Turner on the day when High Street, Oxford belonged to the city for ever and let their spirit pass over! Says Dr. Alexander Sturgis, Director of the Ashmolean:

“The museum has been overwhelmed by public support. With well over 800 people contributing to the appeal, it is clear that the local community, as well as visitors to the museum from across the world, feel that this picture, the greatest painting of the city ever made, must remain on show in a public museum in Oxford”

 

POST SCRIPTUM

In September my friends sent me this photo of Turner’s High Street, Oxford, welcoming refugees to Oxford!

Turner's Welcome to Refugees

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oxford Special – Cake Art and Bookworms (Part 5)

Artful Butchers and Sweet Bearded Men at Covered Market

Dreaming spires on your left, brazen door knobs to elite colleges on your right, ancient cobblestones ahead, Radcliffe Camera left behind – sights, sights, sights! Tentatively, I ask my friends, if we, perhaps, well, you know, if we might possibly pass one or the other awesome Oxford sight…? No?!  I am encouraged, however, that a marvellous piece of lower culture, which would promise some relaxation was just ahead: Covered Market! Once built to get the messy butcher business away from the streets of Oxford, it has since then become an oasis of culinary and shopping delights. Instead of messy market affairs you are presented with food art, nowadays.

Artful Butcher at Covered Market

Artful Butcher at Covered Market

Under the white, wooden beams and red timbers of Covered Market’ roofs I give a sigh of pleasure!  You’ll get anything here – ice-cream and shoes, cigars and hats,  first-class meat  and vegetables, cakes and cheeses and even a last minute outfit for Royal Ascot! If you are lucky, you may suddenly stumble on a miniature Oxford sight… We were lucky! When window-shopping at The Cake Shop we came across  a sugary reincarnation of the Sheldonian Theatre. We stood in admiration and marveled at its marsipan beauty. WP_20150824_14_17_10_ProThe Sheldonian Theatre is admired for the beauty of its architecture, the first major design of master builder Christopher Wren. But it is loved for the busts of fourteen bearded men which surround the building on a kind of protective railing. Nobody knows who they were meant to represent in 1669, when the originals were completed. They do look like apostles or philosophers but they’re commonly called ‘the Emperors’. In any case, the busts represent a history of beards. And indeed, each of these striking heads bears a differently styled beard. Still, at The Cake Shop the 14 bearded men look so much sweeter than the ‘Emperors’ surrounding Sheldonian! You would like to taste them…

Blackwell’s Bookshop, a Universe of Reading

Blackwell Oxford

Blackwell’s at Broad Street

Behind the quaint, old-fashioned shop-windows of my friends’ favourite Oxford bookshop, Blackwell’s at Broad Street, you embark on something like space travel into the universe of books!  At its 10,000 square feet Blackwell’s Norrington Room  is even mentioned in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest single room selling books in the world ! Just in this part of Blackwell’s there are three miles of shelving to house thousands and thousands of books. Once having entered this magnificent shop, people get frequently lost for hours while lingering and browsing the shelves, leafing through pages, taking books to and fro between shelves and and comfy chairs and being completely absorbed by their reading stuff. So, if you take a friend to Blackwell’s Bookshop – which, by the way, was opened by founding father Benjamin Blackwell himself  in 1879 and is the flagship of Blackwell bookshops in GB – you better agree on a time and place to find him again. Must be seen to believe!

... and get lost!

 

Oxford Special – Ancient footprints, a retired fox and having carrot cake with a big spider (Part 4)

Let There Be Dinosaurs!

On this rainy day your first glance doesn’t fall on the lawn you are crossing but on the entrance of Oxford University Museum of Natural Science, the OUM, which is your friends’ favourite museum in Oxford and surroundings. They ardently assure you that there are few better ways to spend a day in Oxford than a visit to the OUM. Its holdings – which run into millions of specimens – include a gigantic Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton and a stuffed imitation DODO which provided some of the inspiration for Oxford’s most famous child and book, namely Alice in Wonderland. But right now, your friends somewhat hesitate as if they were waiting for some kind of emotional reaction from you. What am I supposed to do, you think, and follow their eyes’ direction. You see them staring purposefully at the lawn and, politely you, too, turn your attention to the grassy visiting card of the famed museum. Well, the grass is green, even today, and all in all, the turf looks well-groomed which is exactly what you expect from such a prominent British lawn. But then you gasp in horror – one, two, no, a legion of irregular, large mud-holes are meandering across the turf right towards you. What the heck has happened here? Has OUM sacked the gardener and he took a cruel revenge?

Ancient Footprints

Jurassic Footprints

Instantly you are set right! To talk of mud-holes when you actually, eh, at least spiritually, watch a dinosaur striding across OUM’s lawn – blasphemy! What you really see are the giant footprints of Megalosaurus, Oxford’s very own and very special dinosaur!

The fossils, including the Megalosaurus jaw, which is also held in the Museum’s collection, were found in a quaint quarry just outside Oxford. The ancient prints which today span the lawn in front of the museum are modern casts from the fossilised trackway that Megalosaurus bucklandii,  a three-toed carnivore, left some 166-168 million years ago when he roamed the lagoons of Jurassic Oxfordshire! You immediately fall in love with the muddy footsteps and enter the museum in high spirits.

Dinosaurs and Ironworks

Dinosaurs and Ironworks

Dinosaurs in Ironwork Jungle

The architecture of the place is breathtaking. Entering the main court, you first notice how very high and light the structure is, like the nave of an enormous gothic church, but relieved from the weight of stony pillars. Instead, the vaulted glass roof is held aloft by an elaborate system of cast and wrought ironwork, the modern building material of the 19th century. The slender pillars are artfully decorated with botanical ornamentation –  a fanciful iron jungle for Megalosaurus and his relatives!

 

It is reported that John Ruskin, famous builder of the Museum of Natural History, was so taken with the neo-gothic, ironwork architecture that he visited the new OUM every day just to admire the beauty of the place – such as people have done since then unto nowadays.

Iron Jugngle

Iron Beauty

 

Please Touch!

There are fierce animals and lovable ones! The OUM is free of charge and offers fabulous educational programmes, no wonder that the main court is brimming with voices and happy activities of children and parents. Similarly, the outstanding touch-and-feel areas are enjoyed by children and adults alike. Right at the entrance desk a ‘retired’ fox is so adorable that you want to stroke it as much as all the kids do! My friend relates the story of a girl who came for weeks and months just to give this fox his daily cuddle. Surprising, that the soft and silky coat isn’t worn down by all the pettingAdorable Fox.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lovable Retired Fox

Lovable Fox!

 

Spiders and columns with your carrot cake

The museum cafe is situated on the upper gallery which is overlooking the dinosaurs in the main court and which lifts your body and mind up into the spheres of pure bliss. Take a seat at one of the wooden tables along the stonework of the first-floor gallery  and admire the neo-gothic arcade and the column chiseled from decorative rock that is right next to you. Each of these columns, which are surrounding the court on the ground floor as well as the first-floor galleries, was made from a different kind of British rock. Each of their capitals and corbels are intricately carved with flora and fauna, beautiful lessons in geology, botany, masonry, art, history… and in inspiration. You could spend hours of inspecting the stones if there were not the big spider right next to your coffee pot. Don’t worry, she just wants to watch, I am assured, and I happily share the delicious coating of the carrot cake with my human friends, only!

Big Spider and Carrot Cake

Friendly Spider and Decorative British Rock

 

 

Oxford Special – OED, Emo, Globes and Teaching (Part 3)

I am not a ‘Twitterati’ but this fantastic word was among the 500 (!) new words which were added to the OED, the Oxford English Dictionary, in June 2015. Sounds like ‘Illuminati’ and stands for people  on Twitter who have myriads of followers and block your Twitter feed with constant tweeting – they are the Illuminati of our present Twitterworld!

Even if you don’t know anything about Oxford great sights, this OED, the extremely successful Oxford English Dictionary, will have come across your path. It has had thelast word on words” for more than a century and is the largest dictionary of the English language. Not just because it adds words like ‘Twitterati’ year by year but because it aims to include all vocabulary from the Middle English period (1150 ad) onward! In 1879 the London Philological Society made an agreement with the Oxford University Press to work on a New English Dictionary. By the way, Oxford University Press started in the childhood of printing – the first book was printed in Oxford as early as in 1478! But back to the OED. The new dictionary was planned as a 6,400-page work in four volumes. Five years later, the wordworkers had reached the word “ant” under the letter A, in 1906 they had succeeded as far as the letter M, and no further! The scholarly advance at snail’s pace demanded for a shorter intermediate solution in the form of  the Concise Oxford Dictionary which was compiled by Henry Watson Fowler and published in 1911. Its title was changed into Concise Oxford English Dictionary in 2004 and the centennial 12th edition was published in 2011.This edition contains 1,682 pages of dictionary text and 66,500 headwords – so you will certainly find the phrase ‘as dead as a Dodo’. Hopefully, you will use it adequately ever after (a fitting example is given below in the dialogue). And yes, Dodo may be extinct, but Dodo is not dead as the saying insinuates. Beloved Dodo is very much alive in the minds of all Oxford children and all the visitors of OUM of Natural Science!

Phrases with "Dodo"

Pretty postcards of “Dodo”  in OUM of Natural Science – why not look up ‘Dodo’ and ‘OUM’ in the OED!

With the oldest university in the English-speaking world, Oxford is a unique place. Historians tell us that teaching (and learning!)  already existed at Oxford in 1096 – probably even before – and when 130 years later Henry II banned English students from studying in Paris, Oxford University developed so rapidly, that  just a few decades later it attracted even foreign students! In 1190, the first known overseas student, Emo of Friesland, arrived at Oxford University and started Oxford’s great tradition of international links. Until today, students from all over the globe have been attracted by Oxford’s colleges just like Emo 825 years ago. Australian Elodie, for example, a 2015 student of Magdalen College, is deeply awed by Oxford’s incredibly long history: “You can buy an ethernet cable from a shop which was established before Australia was even colonized“, she exclaims. How could one illustrate the layers of history and the winds of time any better! But it won’t take Elodie ten years to return to Australia as it happened with Emo who left Oxford not earlier than in 1200 for his native Friesland in Northern Holland!

After all that paddling back into history we have arrived at Oxford University Centre for the Environment where I am delighted to take a glimpse into the School of Geography and the Environment! Globes plus maps plus brand-new perspectives in environmental research projects – all this involves anticipating and shaping the future! Right round the corner of the staircase, I have a peaceful encounter with two dancing globes – I pretend not noticing that they appear somewhat tipsy. Later, I find the source of their good spirits: a big, fat globe which contains a secret bar!

Two tipsy-curvy globes dancing together at the School of Geography and the Environment

The wooden globe that I am to meet some rooms further on, is much too heavy for dancing. ‘He’ looks very sober and steadfast and I do hope ‘he’ doesn’t know about the bold family members down the hall!

Sober globe, standing steady at the School of Geography and the Environment

As we are back to the streets, alleys and lanes of Oxford the rain has changed into to a fine drizzle which we welcome as a meteorological turnaround. My friends point out the beautiful old colleges and churches to me, it seems as if the limestone buildings claim to have been patronized by Shakespeare himself. Isn’t it a shame, you think to yourself, that  Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, who some experts believe to have been the “real” Shakespeare, has nothing to do with Oxford University. Instead, he entered Queen’s College in Cambridge! He did so at the age of eight – perhaps he would have chosen his namesake school at an older age. But, fans and friends of Oxford, relax! It is Oxford which is mentioned as an outstanding university in Shakespeare’s plays, not Cambridge! Read Shakespeare’s lines from Henry VIII below the beautiful painting of Oxford High Street by Turner.

Turner's Oxford High Street

William Turner’s Oxford High Street

“Those twins of learning that he raised in you,
Ipswich* and Oxford! One of which fell with him,
Unwilling to outlive the good that did it;
The other, though unfinish’d, yet so famous,
So excellent in art, and still so rising,
That Christendom shall ever speak his virtue.  ( Act iv, Sc. 2)

 *Sorry, Ipswich!

It’s Griffith, the attendant of Queen Catharine, who praises the qualities of Cardinal College in Oxford and predicts that Cardinal College is so excellent that Christendom will ever speak the virtue of its students. Right you were, Griffith – old Cardinal College became Henry VIII College and now is Christ Church College!

By the way, in Shakespeare’s days, Oxford as well as Cambridge University showed only contempt for the works of the great author. His plays were only performed by the “town”, not the “gown”. When students were caught attending one of those forbidden theatre events, they were severely punished. From preserved notes of some students who luckily weren’t caught while watching Shakespeare’s Othello, performed in 1610 by the King’s Men in the Oxford Guildhall, we can deduce that the students had a better understanding of the play’s power than their dignified teachers!

Oxford Special – Where the oxen trots and the river flows (Part 2)

The Ox and the Ford

After an exceedingly pleasurable breakfast at friendly Oxfork’s we set off on an Oxford walking tour which first takes us to the Thames path opposite the boat houses,”along the reedy shore of silt and mud”, and next to the oxen. We meet the mighty bull in form of a good-tempered English longhorn on the vast green meadows of Christ Church College.

English Longhorn eye-to-eye

Eyeball-to-eyeball with a Christ Church longhorn!

Even an intrusive Spanish selfie stick cannot disturb the oxen’s spirit of pastoral holiday on Christ Church Meadow, which is for sure the most cultural pasture in the whole Commonwealth. Still, you may detect a stubborn bewilderment in the beast’s cocked head as the selfie stick is getting too pushy.

English longhorn not being amused about Spanish selfie stick

English longhorn not being amused about Spanish selfie stick

You count some 9 cows which all belong to the small herd of Christ Church College and are allowed to enjoy their famous pasture without labor or the prospect of being turned into food for the college students some day. In turn, they please native Oxonians, students and tourists alike with their friendly cow manners.

Christ Church Longhorn, studying a tree

Christ Church Longhorn, studying a tree

Nowadays, everybody knows that Oxford’s name derives from the Anglo-Saxon ‘Oxnaforda’, which means “a ford for oxen”. The Middle English version, ‘Oxenford’, was shortened by time and use to Oxford. The latinized form is Oxonia, something worthwhile knowing in such a learned place! Later, I am allowed a glance at Oxford’s coat of arms and ready to despair at such a gaudy masquerade of (1) a star-spangled black elephant in chains, (2) a Bavarian-tailed, grim beaver with a crown round its neck, (3) a suit of armour bereft of its knight, and (4) a happily grinning lion with a crown on its head, and holding up another coat of arms! Not to speak of (5) all those flowery feathers and trestles which are seaming in the puzzling parade and, not to forget, (6) the Latin inscription! But wait – there is my English longhorn from the meadow, my friendly oxen!

The Oxen and the River

Right in the heart of pomp and circumstance, in the clear and simple square of the circle, you find the answer: In the beginning there were a river and a bull! Fortis Est Veritas. Strength is in Truth. And now let others tell the rest of the story!

Obviously this all has to do with cows, I think to myself under my tartan-coloured umbrella on which the rain patters persistently.  Why was an oxen so important that a city was named after it?  Weren’t there any geese, swine or sheep at the crossroad of River ‘Thamesis’ or ‘Isis’ and  River Cherwell? But can you imagine Oxford having risen to historical immortality by the name of Swineford, or Hogsford, argues my friend. Just unthinkable, I admit, and I faintly remember a German city by such a crude name. Although – not every school – even if it were a school of witchcraft – having a ‘hog’ in its name is doomed to being infamous.Or is it? Nor will it be banned from honorable Christ  Church College, which – founded back in 1524 – is surely the most famous of  Oxford’s ancient colleges. I wonder which kind of weather inspired  the poet to name Oxford the City of Dreaming Spires. This Monday the spires of ancient Christ Church are definitely dreaming of sunny spells midst all the hanging clouds and rain! The incredibly beautiful buildings have had numerous appearances in film and on TV. The impressive entrance way, for example, is familiar to anyone who has seen the movie Brideshead Revisited,  and its incredible dining hall has been glamourised as Hogwarts Great Hall in a series of Harry Potter films. Beauty and Profanity are old acquaintances, so we’ll just wait and see who wins us over this time!

 Christ Church Gallery

“Combat of Beauty and Profane” – Who’s winning?! (Christ Church Gallery, Reni)

The term hasn’t started yet, so you aren’t distracted by any bespectacled, good-looking Harry-Potter-Clones on bicycles and younger visitors will fully concentrate on Potter Paraphernalia in the gift shop of Christ Church College. Deluxe Dobby face-mask anyone? But to be fair,  tourists also praise the true treasures of Christ Church College, as after a guided tour including “Dean’s garden, the cathedral, grounds, and the dining hall. Of course with brilliant explanations. If you don’t mind Christian Stuff” (quoted from trip avisor) “Christian Stuff” at Christ Church – it’s quite a surprise, isn’t?”

We are taking a new turn now, away from meadows and cows, to the city of Oxford. Let our view of the city be accompanied by the Turner painting “View of Oxford”. The artist is known by the name “Turner of Oxford” and he has his grave here. His landscape sketch shows Oxford taken from a higher point and inviting the visiting wanderer to enjoy with him the sight of some identifiable landmarks: The spire of St. Mary the Virgin, the Gothic twin towers of  All Souls College and the dome of  Radcliffe Camera – No, it’s not named after the actor impersonating Harry Potter! – And all the beauty is held by rosy sunset clouds and a wide, blue sky. We do hope to experience such a sunset later the day, as well!

1024px-William_Turner_of_Oxford_-_A_View_of_Oxford_-_Google_Art_Project “A view of Oxford” by W.Turner

Oxford Special – Riding the Oxford Tube (Part I)

Oxford Tube

The logo is running along both flanks of the coach in plain white letters … all day …  all night … all year… Oxford – London – what a reassuring promise for the traveller from London to Oxford! What kind of motor vehicle will you be riding under this flag of absolute reliability? Well, as a matter of fact it’s a unique crossover – at least as to its naming. When the thing is nearing your bus station in Notting Hill it perfectly resembles a London doubledecker bus but when it pulls in, it proudly displays its name:  “Oxford Tube”. The tube is the tube and not a bus, you are musing, but here we have a  veritable hybrid:

a bus, a tube, a coach. Oxford Tube

Beautifully clad in the colours of the British flag – some curvy, tikka-masala orange added – and displaying a stylish wind-shaped upper deck you feel inspired by the tube’s colourful elegance on this grey and wet Monday morning. And as the door slides open noiselessly you mount the “Oxford tube” without hesitating any longer. Once you’ve settled down upstairs in your comfortable seat, stowed away your umbrella and logged into the free WiFi, you’re hooked! In some 80 minutes your friends will pick you up at St. Clement’s bus station in Oxford. Westward ho!

Meanwhile you look up the words bus, coach, tube in The New Oxford Dictionary.  Let’s add breakfast  to the list because your friends made “a full English breakfast”  the first item on the Oxford itinerary and you want to make sure that full English is compatible with breakfast.

a tube is a tube is a bus

a tube is a tube is a bus

bus – a large motor vehicle carrying passengers by road

coach – a single-decker bus, especially one that is comfortably equipped and used for longer  journeys

tube – a long, hollow cylinder of metal, plastic, glass, etc. for holding or transporting something

breakfast – a meal eaten in the morning, the first of the day

So, I vividly imagine my first meal of the day, a full English breakfast at friendly Oxfork’s, and relax in my long, hollow, double-decker, motorized cylinder, which is comfortably equipped for a longer journey and is holding as well as carrying its load of passengers from London to Oxford by road!