We decided this past weekend to make a trip to Oxford. So it was off to our local main railway station, Temple Meads, and off to Oxford. For 16 pound each this provides an all day ticket there and back. First stop was Didcot Parkway for a change to Oxford and in under 1.5 hours we were there. The weather has been overcast for a while now but this didn’t stop the town from appearing quite charming. I hadn’t realised that there are 39 Colleges here as well as the main Oxford University campus so it was all rather confusing at first. We didn’t take any literature with us at all and just managed to bumble our way through the place. It really just was for a general overview at this stage to see whether we wanted to come back at a later stage or not. Loads of historical buildings, fabulous shopping (if you have the time or money to do so) and very costly in everything else.

We really did not give the town the time it needed to give it a really good look. Also we did not get to see the libraries and museums on offer so I am sure we will have to go back again soon.

Observation 3: Autumn

As this is the first “real” Autumn we have had (i.e. with visible changes) I thought I might write a few observations in regards to this.

1. Cold, cold and more cold. Will we survive Winter? I’m just praying that we have constant heat throughout Winter as I don’t fancy our chances without our radiator. Thankfully there has been little rain.

2. Oops spoke too soon – rain, rain and more rain. To be fair this is the 3rd day in about a month that it has rained. Not bad at this stage.

3. Stunning colours – burnt orange (thankfully not on a formica table), crisp reds, dozens of shades of brown (who knew there were “shades” of brown that are actually pretty!)

4. Darkness – dark by 4.30pm, too freaky

Our farewell

Not sure how many of you are going to tune in here to get a copy of the group photo but here it is. If you would like a higher quality one just email me and I will email it back to you. I didn’t want to go too high res on here as it would take forever to download for some people. Been a pleasure guys and good luck to all. Cheers – Carleen

P.s. I never noticed that we are a rather female dominated bunch really. How did David, Will and Dom ever survive us?

Climate change – man made or cyclical

Today in the Metro News there was a story about ducklings being born in a park in London. Not so strange if it wasn’t 2 weeks away from winter!

However what made me think about commenting on this was that today as I was walking through Castle Park I had a bit of extra time and decided to go through my favourite garden. Great view from here and in particular some cherry blossom trees. Low and behold today, although the trees are nearly stripped bare of all their leaves, they have started sprouting cherry blossom flowers. Now tell me, is that bizarre or what!

So, climate change. Is it happening? Is this evidence of a strange shift in our climate patterns? And if so, is this a manmade issue, cyclical occurrance that we are going through or cyclical with a manmade push to speed it all up? Climate change or not, we need to start respecting our environment and increasing our efforts in being better custodians of all that we have been entrusted with.

Guy Fawkes

My first poem in a long time to accompany this weeks photos. We went to the Bristol Fireworks Charity night on Saturday put on in advance of Guy Fawkes (Bonfire night) on Monday.

The Gunpowder Plot by Carleen Dekarski
Guido Fawkes
You know him as Guy
It is November the 5th in 1605
The date meant to change their history
Here is the story of that not meant to be

It is the year in the reign of King James the first
Persecution is rife through the land
For all of those wanting to live peacefully
The Oath of Allegiance is planned
To swear to this oath mother Rome is diminished
The King is your ruler and God
Some take nought to this oath, it is time it is finished
And forthwith set about on a plan

The King with his family and all his allies would soon to gather as one
On October the 3rd which then was delayed
To the 5th of November now done
The date was then set to unleash a full fury
The date to end the whole mess
But how would they do it?
What means would they choose?
Let me tell of the plan in the next

The Gunpowder Plot actioned by three
Catesbury, Wright and Thomas Percy
Wintour and Fawkes to now make it five
The intricate plan now does come alive

With Wintour and Fawkes pulled into the plot
Their part the most dangerous you know
With 36 barrels of powder to source
No small feat was this task to grow
And of course in secret they must purchase this lot
Then at night they must carry their score
Along Thames River to where it be stored
‘neath parliament building be sure
That when it goes off on that ill fated day
It would truly settle the score

Having successfully avoided all manner of spies, watchman and the odd thief
Their plan is unhitched by anonymous note
Who gave them up do you think?
Those that survived, to the tower they went, to be tortured and tried to the last
A fate worse than death then did they face
To be hung, drawn and quartered, no less
But Guido or Guy, Mr Fawkes if you please
Jumps the scaffolding with a loud crack
Successfully avoiding the butcher you see
No quartering here if you please