Wordless Wednesday…..Another Favourite Place

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Location:-  The Sheldonian Theatre just one of many dramatic University Buildings in the very busy City of Oxford

15th November

(C) David Oakes 2017

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ASHMOLEAN…..Surprises in Oxfords Treasure Chest

Beware…enter the Ashmolean and you could be lost for days….

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Once you cross under the canopy and enter the Ashmolean you enter not just a museum but another world…..a multi cultural world that stretches back across time…
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Buddha is just one of the icons of just one of this worlds great cultures…but it is just one of many. If you take the time to explore you find that despite the Geographic and Ethnic divides and the various Religious Beliefs, there is in fact much more in common than often acknowledged. The Ashmolean takes you on this world trip of discovery.

But for us the BIG surprise was a Gallery with a rather special Display of Roman and Greek Sculptures.

 I think we are all familiar with the images we see on TV and Travel Books of these giant statues of Gods and warriors, either decorating the Temples themselves or as decor within the Temple and City grounds. Within the Ashmolean there are  examples of just a few.

These stone colored carvings are so familiar we donot question but just admire….

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But this is where the big surprise hits you. Step inside the doorway of this Galleries display and you see these sculptures in a much more colourful way.

Scientist and Archaeologists discovered traces of colours on a great many stone carvings. Scientific Research identified and traced the minerals used to create these colours. Then working on plaster casts made from the original sculptures they have recreated the sculptures in the colours as they once were…..Take a look at Augustus and you see a before and after, quite a visual shock.

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And here are some of the rocks and minerals they had to source  and used in the display.

Bold and brash and not what the brain has become used to seeing on a Roman or Greek God, so it was a visual shock…. so here is a short tour of the rest of the display…..

After enjoying this unique look at one aspect of history you do have to find time to explore the many rooms of treasure.  I guess Historians can and do spend many days searching the galleries….but for many of us it is a pleasant way to spend some time out of the hurly burly of Oxford….

10th July

(C) David Oakes 2015

OXFORDS Little Gem….

The Botanical Gardens….

Nestling beside the River Cherwell in the shadow of the Tower of Magdalen College are the oldest Botanical gardens in Britain. It was created in 1621 as a Physic Garden for the study of plants in medicine. Whilst it is not the biggest of to-days Botanical gardens it still has a very broad collection of plants from around the world.  All are displayed across the gardens and for the more fragile plants displayed  in Glass Houses.

The gardens are not only a great place to enjoy a leisurely stroll but also a place to take a pick-nick lunch away from the hurly- burly of the city…..if you are a plant lover you will be in a little piece of haven….

It really is a Little Gem

It is also nice to learn that all the vegetables grown in the garden go to good causes.

9th July

(C) David Oakes 2015

A Day Trip to Oxford…….

Oxford….the City of Universities ……..

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Oxford…..a City of Gleaming Spires, Towers, Domes, Stone Carvings, Gargoyles, Old Buildings, narrow Street, open spaces and of course the University. Unlike most Universities Oxford is not one big campus but a great many Colleges spread across the city with famous names such as Magdalen, Merton, Brasenose, Corpus Christi and Oriel to mention just a few.

Then we have the Museums, Art Galleries and Libraries, Bookshops and quirky shops. Then  we have people…lots of them crowding the streets that also have to cope with to-days traffic and then of course in the summer months a huge influx of Tourists. Students and locals use bikes, they are everywhere….but make no mistake Oxford is a centre of Education and Business,it is also a vibrant and fun City that genuinely appears to welcome all…..but it is busy.

Walking is the best way to explore all the narrow streets and College Greens and Courtyards…but perhaps the best way to start is to join one of the circular Open Top Bus Tours of the City. Not only do you see Oxford from a a different perspective but it also acts as a great way to orientate yourself…..and the optional on-board commentary will pack your head full of stories both ancient and modern. So here is a whistle-stop tour just for you.

So that is to-days tour….but on Thursday you can join me on a tour of one of Oxfords Gems, The Botanical Gardens.

7th July
(C) David Oakes 2015