I have parents? (Just kidding, Parents)
As the title of this post implies, my parents were recently here! We had a lot of fun. I dragged them jet-lagged around Oxford on their first day. On Sunday we went to Blenheim Palace and the pretty town of Woodstock. I’d already done both things almost immediately upon arriving in England in 2010, but I didn’t mind going back. Blenheim is the birthplace of Winston Churchill and the ancestral home of the Dukes of Marlborough. It’s very beautiful (though I think I prefer Chatsworth…it’s cozier somehow, and I think the grounds are nicer because they’re hilly), and they had a really interesting interactive history thing with videos, cool sets, and lifelike manikins. I hadn’t seen it last time, and I’m glad I didn’t miss it altogether.
On Monday I continued my Oxford tour, and we also paid a visit to the Radwans and the footpaths. The weather was horrible – these were literally the worst ten consecutive days I’ve seen this whole year. But the visit was a lot of fun, and I think my parents still enjoyed seeing the footpaths. On Tuesday we went to Bath, which was great…but Wednesday was a bit of an epic fail. Aaaaaaaaand it was entirely my fault. On Tuesday we kept debating about what to do the next day because we knew the weather was going to be exceptionally terrible. Finally we decided to go to Highclere Castle, the place where they shoot Downton Abbey. I was really excited, and we got the nicest, chattiest taxi driver to take us there from the Newbury train station. (When I said I go to Oxford, he said ‘oh, I’m sorry you didn’t get into Cambridge’.) But it turns out that I’d somehow been wrong about the castle being open that day…and Downton Abbey was actually being filmed when we got there! In a way it was actually really cool to see – there were a bunch of white trailers, and we could see a bright light being used for filming right in front of the house. Unfortunately we were relatively far from the castle, so we couldn’t see if there were any actors there. I really wanted to go and check! But we had to leave. My parents must REALLY have missed me because they didn’t immediately kill me for wasting like seventy-five of their dollars on the trip. We had to just go back to Newbury and explore a little before returning to Oxford. Oops!!!!!!! Well…the next time I see a really REALLY rainy scene in Downton Abbey, I’ll know I was right there! I’m probably going to go back with some friends from the football team.
The next day we went on a trip to the Cotswolds. The weather was horrible again, and because of the bus schedule we didn’t really get to spend that much time in the individual villages. They were all beautiful, of course – we went to Moreton-in-Marsh, Lower Slaughter, and Bourton-on-the-Water. I think the prettiest one was Stow-on-the-Wold, though, and we only passed through it.
On Friday I had a tutorial while my parents when to London for a concert. I joined them on Saturday morning. We went to the British Library first, and we saw the Magna Carta and Jane Austen’s notebook, along with lots of other very old and important books. Once again the weather was disagreeable, so we spent the rest of the day in art museums. I actually ended up enjoying that well enough, though. I was getting pretty tired from running around with them so much.
Sunday deserves its own paragraph for the extent to which it was such a failure, but I won’t bore you. I will just say that, due to a the largeness of a book store, my absorption in a book, an unfortunate Tube separation, and a forgotten phone number, my mom and I got separated from my dad in London and couldn’t find him for so long that we reported him as a missing person to the police. Might that have been an overreaction? Maybe. But I was panicking, okay? I was planning what I’d wear to his funeral, since clearly he’d gotten attacked in broad daylight by London thugs, who must have hidden his body in a dumpster off Bank Street!!!!!!!! Obviously! (By the way, this was the ONE TIME that the sun decided to come out. Typical.) Um…long story short…he’s alive. And fine. He had a lovely four hours browsing the British Museum whilst my mom and I searched the city for him practically crying. Whatever. It’s over now. We had a really good evening at Parliament after dark, which is always a nice sight to see.
On Monday we went to the Tower of London, which is something I’ve always wanted to do. There were lots of horrific torture stories, and the crown jewels are there too of course. We also walked around the eastern part of the city and then to the parks near Buckingham Palace. I was sad to say goodbye to them, and I left for Oxford that night very tired. After being a tourist for so long, I was ready to sit down and study again.
So I think that’s what I’ll do now…you know, go off and study…HARRY POTTER. Yep, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is this week’s reading!!!!!!! BYEEEEE