A day trip to Oxford

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14.09.2020

On Saturday Ed and I went to Oxford for the day. We visit Oxford a couple of times a year, and each visit is much the same as the last in terms of the places we visit and things we do. Invariably a visit to Oxford includes a trip to the Botanical Gardens, a walk along the river and down by Christ Church Meadow, a cone of sorbet at our favourite icecream shop and some time spent in Blackwell’s bookshop.

We were last in Oxford a few days before Christmas last year, and so Saturday’s trip was obviously a little different. Many of the cafes and shops were closed as international tourism isn’t operating at the moment, and the Bodleian was closed so we couldn’t pop in for some food or to browse the latest exhibition. Aside from needing to wear a face mask indoors and having to queue and register for track & trace at both the botanical gardens and the Trout where we stopped for a drink on the way home, it was a relaxing day and I’m glad we got out of Birmingham for a bit as the next few months look fairly bleak.

After a few months of leaving it on the back burner, I restarted my 100 strangers portrait series, too.

On Oxford’s Queen Street, a balloon seller accidentally lets go of the wrong string and a dinosaur balloon breaks free, carried away by the wind over sandstone rooftops.

12.09.2020 // from my observations notebook
Tourist boats on the river, all moored up with nowhere to go.
A shuttered cafe on Turl Street that doesn’t seem to have reopened since the restrictions were eased in July

For contrast, here are some notes from last summer’s trip to Oxford. Last year feels like a lost world at the moment, I can’t believe how much life has changed these past six months.

On Oxford High Street, a 6 year old Captain America barrels out onto the pavement, all confidence and self belief. Wedding bells from Christ Church College fuse with police sirens and ring out over the meadows to a quiet corner of Oxford Botanic Gardens on the last day of August. Nearby, two women debate over the location of Lyra and Will’s bench. In Wolvercote, a child’s rabbit costume hangs on a garden gate, white fleece and pink ears glowing in the evening sun, a ‘for free’ sign propped up alongside.

31.08.2019 // from my observations notebook

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