Scholars' Trip to Oxford
It was off to the university city of Oxford today. We visited three colleges: Magdalen where we bumped into ex-Sandroydian, Flora Wilson; New College, where Sophia's Dad is amongst the alumni; and finally Christ Church. We all had our favourites and these visits gave us aspirations for the future. In between, we visited the Pitt Rivers museum and discovered many links with Sandroyd; the Natural History Museum; and the Ashmoleon with its impressive art collection and Egyptian artefacts. Now brimming full of culture, we are off to Westgate this evening for some retail therapy. The only issue was that we had to drag the boys out of the chess shop once they solved the chess puzzle and been rewarded a 20% discount!
Today was all about Blenheim Palace, Sir Winston Churchill and cracking the maze. The Palace and Grounds (all 2,242 acres of them!) looked truly magnificent in the sunshine and the interior did not disappoint with its spectacular paintings, murals and tapestries. The theme running through the whole palace was the connection with royalty and the late Queen's coronation robe was on display. We also learnt all about Winston Churchill's link with Blenheim - his birthplace and where he got married to Clementine. Churchill loved Blenheim so much he chose to be buried in the local village church at Bladon. We all managed to escape the maze and the boys set the record, but we do reckon that they cheated. We have now arrived at a Bristol bathed in sunshine.
We awoke on the Harbourside in Bristol and we took the ferry to the SS Great Britain, Brunel's iron propellor ship that travelled 1 million nautical miles in her long lifetime. Rescued from the Falkland Islands in 1974, the SS Great Britain now sits in the same dry dock in which it was built. It is sensory and interactive museum, recreating the smells and conditions of life onboard, right down to the rats scuttling along the kitchen shelves. We also delved into the mind of Brunel - a true revolutionary and pioneer, who never waived in the faith that his new ideas would work. We then walked the streets of Bristol in search of the street graffeti artist, Banksy, finding 'The Girl with the Pearl Earring', 'Well Hung Lover', 'The Grim Reaper' and 'You don't need planning permission for castles in the sky.' This afternoon, we visited the M-Shed that tells the history of Bristol through the stories of people that live here. Finally, we are off to Clifton Village this evening to see one of Brunel's other famous creations, the Clifton Suspension Bridge.
This morning we went to Bristol Aquarium on the Harbourside. The aquarium had a fascinating collection of fish and aquatic creatures from different habitats - rainforest, coral reefs and the colder oceans. Amongst our favourites were the seahorses, sharks, turtles, archer fish and the luminous blue poison dart frogs. We did have an expert on coral reefs and sharks in our midst, Olivia Maharaj. We then travelled to Studland Beach to meet our friends and join in their celebrations for finishing CE.