Saturday, 27 July 2013

Alice's Shop - Oxford

Normally I don't leave Buxton between arriving and departing. This year, I'm making an exception and making my way to Oxford to visit Alice's Shop, the real shop that was the template for Tenniel's drawing of the looking-glass shop (so it's really The Sheep's Shop, but that's not as marketable a name). We'll be taking a walking tour of the surrounding area, with a guide who is an expert on all matters Alice - should be fun!

Of course, I'm not here alone. As well as the Midga, I'm accompanied by Alice herself - or to be more precise, my Madness Returns action figure. In these peaceful and sunny climes, she can happily abandon her toys, but I have several times wished she had her parasol with her.

Travel from Manchester Picadilly to Oxford is on a train with power points and wifi. A trophy IP address would cost me a minimum of two pounds (for an hour's connectivity), though, so I'm sticking with the 3G. I can charge batteries, anyhow.

The tour itself is no disappointment. Our guide, Mark Davies, is something of an expert on the waterways and how they influenced Oxford, the Liddells, and Dodgson. There's a huge amount of history visible in these paths (and bridges - the Midga expresses an impressive thrill at the architecture), and Mark has researched it more than most. At the end of the tour, he sold a couple of us (myself included) copies of his book, which should make a satisfying read for the train journey back.

[Aside: I am currently sitting on Oxford Station, listening to an automated announcement of an approaching train. The listing of station names feels ponderously slow compared to what I'm used to in Melbourne; possibly this indicates a certain lack of confidence in the clarity of the local place names.]

We seem to have gotten ourselves onto a non-powered vehicle... at least, it might have powered wheels, but no powered laptop charge points. Lacking battery I have had to suspend and read the book, which has lived up to expectations. After querying with the connie, we learn that the next carriage down has power, so we shift... yay, power!

Our plans for getting home flip-flopped between catching the very last train (or in some versions of the plan, bus) home, and getting ourselves stuck at Manchester Picadilly until the first train on a Saturday, at 6:49am. We ended up on the latter. Lacking decent places to sleep OR work, we basically wasted seven solid hours, which is something of a pity. Oh well. En route home now, and the tour was worth it.

1 comment:

Talldad said...

Parasols are important. Your link looks like an original poster for The Geisha.
http://www.gilbertandsullivan.org.au/ (link for the benefit of any other readers who might want to see the next run).