Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Busy week - 1

The No2 Son has been staying for a short visit this week. He is between jobs, having completed his most recent work in Manchester and will be starting a new one in October, so he has some free time on his hands for a few weeks. He lives in a strange esoteric worlds inhabited by theoretical mathematicians and writes papers that are printed in a publication that may have a circulation of less than two hundred. Needless to say, no one in the family are able to understand anything he writes about, having long passed the point where even a short description of his work makes any sense to us mortals.
His new post is in Rome and will be for two years unless he decides to stay. His better half, The No 2 Daughter In law T2DIL is still working but soon finishes her present job and will be accompanying him to Rome where she hopes to obtain work. Since she teaches English and is a whiz at learning other languages and is already fluent in at least three and already having a little Italian, she is hoping she will find a suitable post in Rome.

Whilst No 2 son was here he expressed a desire to see some of our old haunts that he remembers from his childhood, we could not decide which to visit, which is usual when the family starts to act as a committee. We went through several suggestions until it was getting to the point that if we did not decide soon, we would have no time for anything.
So rather suddenly we came to a decision to drive to Oxford and look at the Pitt Rivers Museum. Oxford is about forty or so miles away from home and so does not take too long to get there, but parking in the city is not good, so we headed for the out-of-town Park and Ride bus service.

One of the dreaming spires of Oxford and a bus

The front of the building housing the two museums

The Pitt Rivers collection is largely anthropological being made up of artefacts from all over the world and all sorts of ages. It is a constant source of amazement that it holds so much in such a small place and you will find something new on every visit. It is a fascinating and extensive collection of over 300,000 objects that are housed in a relatively small building that shares a site with the Sheldonian Museum of Natural History. You have to go through this museum to get into The Pitt Rivers museum.

Arriving on the outskirts of Oxford, we took the park and ride bus into the centre and then set off towards the Museum. After a while, deep in conversation with No 2 son, TBH made a comment about a signpost. We had discussed at one point weather we should take the route via the back of the museum or the front and so believing she knew where we were going I carried on in the same direction but now on a path that would take us along the wrong road. What I did not realise was that TBH had also made a similar assumption that I knew what I was doing and was heading for the museum by a special route and so allowed me to take us miles out of our way. After nearly thirty minutes it was very clear that we were nowhere near the museum and so we discovered that neither of us were as familiar with the route as we both believed and started the long trudge back.
By the time we did arrive at the museum, TBH had a blister on one foot and could not manage much of a tour, so she nobly sat down on a handy seat and insisted No 2 son and myself carry on around. After a while I too found walking a bit troublesome and so joined TBH on the seat. The weather was very warm and after walking so far, it was pleasant just to sit in the shade and allow a faint breeze to cool us. When we were both feeling rested, I phoned No 2 son and arranged to meet him in the centre of Oxford when he felt he had seen enough and we limped off to a small cafe and sat down gratefully to drink coffee and tea, that is, a tea for me and a coffee for TBH.

The rather crowded but fascinating interior of the Pitt Rivers Museum

After we finished our drinks, we decided we could probably make it to the nearby Boots the chemists, where almost certainly we would be able to buy some sticking plaster for TBH’s foot. Having dressed her foot with some sticking plaster, we were a little more mobile and whilst we had been occupied doing all this No 2 Son had decided to come and find us. Once back together we then wandered slowly around Oxford visiting one or two shops and then on seeing the time, and knowing that the roads would soon be clogged by rush-hour traffic, headed for the park and ride bus and returned home.


  1. Snafu, I just love your blogs! This time you blogged about two places that SIS and her MOTH and I visited a number of years ago, when we were taking a bus tour through southern England and Wales. Oxford is a fascinating town and I really enjoyed all I saw, but unfortunately I got caught up more in shopping (or window shopping, anyway) and the most interesting thing I saw was a ladies hat shop (can't spell millinery) - I have never seen so many beautiful hats of all shapes, sizes and colours!

    Wish I had known about the museum, although I would have been in competition with TBH over how much sticking plaster could actually be placed on one's foot. DOTH and I did a walking tour of Barcelona a few years ago,and both my baby toes turned black. The doctor thought I had gangrene and that they were eventually going to drop off, but strangely enough they recovered.

  2. Kaybee got to you before I did, so I have to agree with all her comments about these two places you visited. How did your son inherit all his math skills? -- there's none in our family!