Sunday, January 30, 2011

Robin Hood in the Oxford way

It is time for the final virtue on my quest in Oxford, which is justice. The building on the picture is home to the Ss Mary & John School at Hertford Street in East Oxford. This school and the surrounding area were once known as the Robin Hood School and area. I haven't been able to find out when exactly but it must have been somewhere between 1868 when the school was opened and the beginning of the 20th century. In the late 19th century the school was very beneficial to several children who for various reasons could not go to the national school. Initially children had to pay fees to attend the school, and in the early years of the school children were absent occasionally as their fees were not paid. It is here where the justice and Robin Hood part comes into play. Relieving Officers played a modern Robin Hood role and paid fees for some of these children. They did justice for in my opinion every child should be able to attend school, whether you can pay the fees or not. With this example drawing on the Robin Hood legend I have completed my search for the seven virtues in Oxford.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

A place of Hope in East Oxford

Today I went looking for hope, one of the two virtues that I didn't show you yet. I found it in East Oxford, at Magdalen Road where the home of Oxford's youth theatre is situated, the Pegasus theatre. The theatre offers a wide range of courses and workshops such as drama, dance, film and urban music. For many years Pegasus has pioneered theatre and arts education work with young people, the local community and professional artists at the start of their career. In some ways this place is also a kind of shelter for young people who dream about a future in arts. When they've got problems at home, at school or when things don't go well, the theatre is a place for them to have fun, where they can learn the world through cultural activities and achieve creative results. A place offering them the hope that someday they will accomplish their goals.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Contemporary temperance

I'm pretty sure that sustainability wasn't a big issue when the seven virtues had their origin but nowadays low carbon living is attracting more and more attention. After many decades of excessive use and reliance on oil we now must drastically reduce our consumption of fossil fuels. Otherwise the climate will change rapidly with all kinds of adverse and detrimental effects on society and ways of living. In Oxford there are many examples of both the public authorities and the local community reducing energy use and making people aware of the need to restrain their carbon consumption. Some good initiatives are the use of hybrid vehicles for public transport and LCWO, a community-led initiative in West Oxford which aims to mitigate climate change. In my opinion these are all good examples of temperance in a modern disguise.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Courage dating back to the 16th century

Have you ever wondered what this small area cobbled with stones in the middle of this picture is? It marks the place where in 1555 and 1556 the Oxford Martyrs were burned at the stake and you can find this historical place on Broadstreet in the city centre. The Oxford Martyrs are commemorated for the great courage they showed in death and for their belief in a free Church of England just around the corner at St. Giles. These men forfeited their own lives to the flames for the love and faith in Jesus Christ. Whether you are a believer or not, when someone shows such a great courage by sticking to his beliefs in the face of death, you can only have deep respect for being so brave.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Faith at Cornmarket

Faith is the next of the seven virtues that I am searching for in Oxford. Since the virtues were penned down a long long time ago, I thought I would try to find faith in a place which also goes a long way back in time. The church in this picture is most likely the oldest surviving building in Oxford, dating from about 1050. It's the parisch church of St Michael at the North Gate. It's a bit tucked away between the shops at Cornmarket but absolutely worth a visit. From the top of the tower you have a panoramic view of the city. Might come handy in my search for the remaining four virtues in the next coming days.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Prudence in Oxford

It is day two of my quest for the seven virtues in Oxford. Yesterday I was looking for charity and today I'm trying to find prudence. Where better to look for wisdom, insight and knowledge then a city like Oxford? You can almost smell these things when you walk in some parts of the city centre. For example at Parks Road where I took this picture. It shows us some of the world's most eminent scientists, philosophers and engineers. From left to right you can see Charles Darwin, Isaac Newton, Galileo Galilei and (if you take a very close look) Euclid -- all great scientists as well as men of wisdom and practical knowledge. You can find these (and some other) statues in the court at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. It is not only the really big names that have been commemorated with a statue but also several Oxford men of science who have made a significant contribution to the museum. Wouldn't it be great to have your bust among Aristotle, Hippocrates or some of the names mentioned above?

Monday, January 24, 2011

The start of a quest

While Percy is enjoying a well deserved vacation in the sun, I will take you on a quest. I'm going to try to find the seven virtues in Oxford. Prudence, justice, temperance, fortitude, faith, hope and charity will all come along this week.

Today it's charity (or love) and I have to admit I have found this virtue in a rather unusual place. These two guide dogs are longing for your attention when you order some drinks at the bar in the Head of the River pub near Folly Bridge. If you take a closer look, you can see that there is a little slit in the head of the puppy. So if you like to support guide dogs for the blind, you are free to drop some of your change. I think it is a great way to show you care about this organisation. Apart from that the statue itself also shows us a great example of unlimited loving-kindness; a mother dog taking care of her puppy. I would say today's mission is accomplished; I have found charity in Oxford but where do you find this virtue in your home town?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Off To Heathrow

I have had enough of all this cold weather, I am on this coach to Heathrow to get my flight to warmer parts, oh I am looking forward seeing the sun. However don't worry while I am away we will have three guest photographers keeping us up to date with great views of Oxford. So look out for Tim, Christi and Alex's photos while I am away.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Lost Teddy

Have you lost your Teddy? I spotted this Teddy looking sodden sitting on a ledge in Lonsdale Road this morning. Teddy was looking very sad as I left, so if you have lost your Teddy, you may want to look in Lonsdale Road. Wonder how this Teddy ended up all alone?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Not The Shot That I Wanted

When I was leaving the station this evening the Moon was so large and bright over the city that I wanted to get a nice photo of it. I am not that great night photographer so I tried for about 30min's to get the shot that I wanted to, but I just could not get what I had in my mind. Anyway, I think I might try again tomorrow from a different angle. Anyway this is the best of my efforts from this evening.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Nicest Boozer In Central Oxford - The Grapes

Well done Binzer30 and DaMaul who must have been into a few of the pubs in Oxford cause they correctly identified the inside of The Grapes in George Street.
Well that's just my opinion. Any guesses where this photo was taken? Sorry guys, I have never opened the blog up like this before, might see how this goes?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Oxford Story Museum Window

I have never heard of the Oxford Story Museum before today, but I noticed this window was new on Pembroke Street. I had to have a look at there website to find out more about this place and I must say that what they have planned for this site is going to be amazing.
This was taken from there press release from the 6th of January The Store Museum exists to celebrate children’s stories and to share 1001 enjoyable ways for young people to learn through stories as they grow. It takes story performances, exhibitions, activities and ideas to schools and communities. In 2014 the Story Museum plans to open a magical new world centre of children’s literature and storytelling in the heart of Oxford.
The window is very eye catching, it can be found at 42 Pembroke Street, Rochester House.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Darn It & Stitch

Just off Oxford's busy St Aldate's in Blue Boar Street is a small haberdashery store in what looks like the wall of Christ Church College. Blue Boar Street is not a major street that I visit, and I am not sure how long this Darn It & Stitch has been there, or the history of the building. Would like to know what else has been in this spot over the years, see the entrance way that has been bricked up on the right? Where did that go? Oxford has so many Questions when you start looking.

Just had a comment from PG who has updated me with what was here in the early 1990's staying that there was a ethnic/pagan/hippy shop which sold celtic decorated things and scented candles. Any other advances on this update? What was the name of the store? Anyone remember this?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Wet Port Meadow

First time in awhile that we have had clearish skies over Oxford, so I went out for a little wonder, with a purpose, going to Argo's in Botley the long way round. Anyway on the look out for a photo for today and noticed all this water on Port Meadow. This photo was taken from Lower Wolvercote looking towards Oxford in the distance. Look at all the water, and the Isis/Thames was flowing fast today as well. Think it might be all that snow?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Red Lion Closed

One of Oxfords largest central pubs, The Red Lion has been closed since the weekend. When I walked past this afternoon I saw a sign say this, The Red Lion: Closed due to Badger infestation. I am not sure how true this is, I was under the impression that it was closed for a short period while it is refurbished. I understand that when reopened it will have a larger dinning menu. Not sure, anyone have anymore information.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Electric Car Charging Points In Oxford

I was reading an article on the BBC about an experiment with an electric Mini, which are made in Oxford, Brian Milligan from the BBC is hoping to drive and electric car from London to Edinburgh. This got me thinking about the charging points in Oxford, and did we have any? Well after having a look around a couple of the car parks and calling the City Council, I can tell you we have two charging points in the City Centre. This one is at the Worcester Street Car Park, the other is in the Westgate Shopping Centre car park on the second level. They are all lit up with these blue LED lights. Unfortunately OCC will charge you to park in the car park while you are recharging, not sure that is right? I did not see any cars recharging when I walked past.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Bike Zone New Home

You may remember my post in September saying that Bike Zone, the city's only central bike shop was moving, well they have opened up in St Michaels Street. I had a email from this week saying that the new premises is a lot larger than Market Street store and I think this one is going to have a cafe in the future. I have used these guys for bits and pieces over the years, most recently when I cycled to Paris from Oxford and they really know there stuff. Good to see a business that values old fashion customer service, working for the locals and not a national chain. Best of luck with the new location.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Graffiti In St Michaels Street - YOSHI

This must be graffiti Old School style, with paint out of a pot not from a spray can. Not that I am an expert on graffiti, but I have never seen any with the wet paint running down the wall like this one that I spotted on St Michaels Street this afternoon.
We have been having a lot of graffiti in the city lately with the SOAK tagline being the main offender, spotted this article in todays Oxford Mail.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Breton Crêperie

Anyone for Crepes? I think there may have been a change in ownership of this very busy little business in Queen Street. The other day when I walked past it was called Michele's Crêperie, today it has Breton Crêperie on the side? This place looks the same, anyone know what is happening in Queen Street?

I am going to be needing a bit of help at the end of the month from anyone in Oxford who wants to take a few photo's and post them up for the rest of the world to see while I am on holidays. I have done this in the past and it has been great success as I get to see Oxford from new eyes as well as everyone else. If anyone in interested please drop me an email. I am away for three weeks at the end of the month and if we get a couple people interested that would be great.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Oxfordshire Sunrise

Sometimes there are advantages to being up and about early, and this morning was one of them, this red sun rise over the hills just outside Oxford. I had to stop the car, find a steady post to lean against to try and capture what I think will be the best part of the day. I was a little shaky, but hay I am not an expert at this photography game.

I am going to be needing a bit of help at the end of the month from anyone in Oxford who wants to take a few photo's and post them up for the rest of the world to see while I am on holidays. I have done this in the past and it has been great success as I get to see Oxford from new eyes as well as everyone else. If anyone in interested please drop me an email. I am away for three weeks at the end of the month and if we get a couple people interested that would be great.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Taxi's On Queen Street

Another great thing about Oxford is that we have a lot of "Black Cabs" that you would normally see in London. I am not sure about the rules of having a Black Cab, however I do not see as many in other city's that I visit. They just make the place look a little more English I think. In Queen Street today there was a few all lined up waiting for customers where the buses would normally be, reduced bus services on Sundays.

Happy New Year Everyone, I have been a bit sick the last couple of days, not because of over doing it at New Year, just got the flu I think, so sorry for the lack of photos...