Pre Raphaelites and Morris Dancers

Last week we were Zorro-less as our first guide dog pup had to be boarded with another family as part of his socialisation training. Each pup has to be boarded out for two separate weeks during his year with the puppy walker, and this was the first time we had been separated from our lad. Since the house felt insanely quiet without our boisterous boy filling the space, we decided to get in the car and take off to explore some places we hadn’t visited in a while.

First stop was the university city of Oxford. I love the place. It buzzes with atmosphere, probably because it’s filled with bright young things setting out in life with all their dreams and plans to change the world. Oh, how I loved those wonderful student days. Sigh. We did some shopping, spent time in the wonderful and often quirky university book stores, had lunch in a trendy café, afternoon tea in Ye Olde English Tea Shop, and generally soaked up the atmosphere. Keble College is one of the largest constituent colleges of Oxford University, and its chapel houses one of my favourite Pre-Raphaelite works, The Light of the World by William Holman Hunt. The Pre Raphaelites have been a firm favourite of mine since I discovered them while studying for a degree in Art History. While I love the paintings by bad boy Dante Gabriel Rossetti, I always seem drawn to the poignancy of Holman Hunt’s work. Divinely beautiful.

We also went south to the pretty little town of Lyme Regis, a historic fishing port and gateway to the Jurassic Coast. This whole area is designated An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty where the West Dorset and East Devon coastlines meet. It is said that the rocks record 185 million years of the Earth’s history. The area is said to have inspired writers Jane Austen and John Fowles (the French Lieutenant’s Woman was filmed in Lyme Regis). The town dates back to the 8th century and the famous 13th century Cobb wall, from where this photo was taken, acted as protection for the harbour and provides a dramatic and fascinating walk. During our walk back through the quaint cobbled streets, we were delighted to come upon a group of Morris dancers. Sticks, swords, handkerchiefs and bells are used in this traditional English folk dance. Originally, it was only men who danced but now women have claimed their place amid a certain amount of controversy. Viva la women!


10 responses to “Pre Raphaelites and Morris Dancers

  1. Tricia, I loved your post this morning. It felt like I was journeying with you on your trip. I really like to go off on trips like this. Sometimes it’s easy to forget how beautiful the area around where we live is.

    Thanks for sharing and my gosh how Zorro has grown. He has so much expression in his face you can see his personality.

    We’re off for a writing retreat for the weekend so I need to get off this computer and packed and dressed.

  2. I agree. I felt like I was wandering the campuses of Oxford and love the picture from Lyme Regis. I have a question. Is that at all close to Dover? When we cruised around over there, we docked in Dover and one of my favorite pictures is of those white cliffs. 🙂

  3. Yes, Lavada. Isn’t it strange how we journey thousands of miles to visit far away places, but often neglect our own backyard, so to speak? Something I plan to rectify as I hurtle toward retiring from the day job 🙂

  4. Dover is at the other end of the south coast, Laurie, to the east. And aren’t those white cliffs spectacular?
    Enjoy the retreat!

    • Yes they are spectacular. We are settled in our room at the castle we are staying at and…shh. Don’t tell Lavada I’m checking blogs. She thinks I’m writing. lol a bunch.

  5. LOL, Laurie. I won’t tell if you don’t:) You two have fun x

  6. What a beautiful day out, Tricia. Such history and beauty in your country. I am truly spellbound by it and have been since I was a child. Thanks for sharing your day with us! Wish I’d been with you.

  7. Valerie J. Patterson

    What a lovely getaway so close to home. Loved the photos and would have enjoyed seeing more. So much beauty and history right at your front door! I have been telling a friend of mine about Zorro and his purpose and your purpose in his life. She’s fascinated that you do such a noble thing. How are you ever going to let him go when it comes his time?

  8. I wish you’d been with me, too, Jillian. Would be lovely to show you around.

  9. It’s going to be very tough for us, Valerie, but we’re trying to focus on what he’ll be doing.He’s a bright boy and very affectionate, so I’m sure he’ll go on to have a great life with someone who will adore him and rely on him.

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