(3) Cling and climb and stay together!

400 plants and Ivy is one!

As a countdown to its 400th anniversary in 2021, the University of Oxford Botanic Garden and Harcourt Arboretum is presenting 400 plants of scientific and cultural prominence. Since November 24th 2013 such a plant has been highlighted every week. Common Ivy, scientifically named Hedera Helix, was the plant last week (107). What a marvellous choice!

Oh Ivy

Hedera Helix, Common Ivy (to be read aloud)

Oh Ivy, you master of embrace!
You, hugging weather-beaten tree trunks,
Caressing shabby stonewalls and
Flattering faded fences.

We clip you from the rotting shed
And watch you metamorphose into festive decoration.
You take a solemn stance and cover, with eternal green,
A grave, a vault, a ruin and a littered backyard.

On winter and on summer days
You creep and climb and hold together
What time and waste has left:
A promise and a memory of blossom and decay.   (ch)




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!