Actually, it was on a Church pilgrimage. When I first heard the announcement I thought of it as going to be an interesting one, so I took the news letter home to read more of it.
Then, I got myself ready for the day.
On getting to the Church, an almost new Bharat Coach was there with few people, some where inside while some hanging around. When I got inside I saw few bags on the seats and asked the female driver if I can leave mine too and she agreed. She said our things were safe being that she is not leaving the vehicle.
So, I chose a section near the window and dropped my handbag. Being that we were told that the day would start with mass which was optional, I decided to attend the mass as well. Church time was 9am while departure time was 9.30am.
Our day began with mass and towards the end lots of people seem to be around. On getting to the outside, there was such a huge crowd, youths, parents and their kids, even the elderly too. I was wondering what prompted this sort of crowd and a handful of strange faces before I was then made to understand that we are about three Churches; St Thomas More Catholic Church( my parish), St. John’s Anglican and a Methodist church. Interesting!
Within few minutes, another Coach arrived from either of the other two churches carrying few persons and with enough space there, we all sat comfortably in our seats. There were few empty seats remaining anyway.
I went to check my bag and decided that I might as well remain there till we leave. Our priest briefly told us that he has been very stressed lately and still have a tight schedule and would not be going with us. However, we went in the company of an Anglican Priest and our Nuns, Mother Eugenia and her two other colleagues.
The priest briefly told us how our trip would look like by listing the events of the day and saying a brief prayer with us. He did same for the other bus and we started hitting the roads. A woman sitting in front of me and a family at my back were from St John. By my side was a family from my parish.
We had little chats as we drove ,especially, with the woman sitting before me. She has a camera with her and seem to be very excited about the trip and was delighted she was going to Oxford city.
She was snapping basically everything, the lovely views we had from the window, be it birds picking food or grazing animals, even plants and the rest of them. At a point I joined her, capturing the ones I love the most. They were all lovely.
On one occasion, it was as if our Couch almost hit a car, we got tensed and only found out that it was not our driver’s fault rather that of the driver before us. In addition to that, it happened on a hilly road. Some people were like she ought to be careful no mater what. We kept going and it happened again but this time, I saw it. It was a driver whom I can simply tell what was wrong with him, he kept changing lanes on the highway.
Now, most of us were on the watch-out, our driver made sure that very car does not cross us again. Whenever we noticed that that car is coming close we would all shout ‘it’s coming again , don’t let him come before us’. The small car driver noticed what we were doing and started laughing with his passenger.
It turned out to be fun. No one blamed our driver again and we were all vigilant till we went our separate ways.
In Oxford, we first visited St. Mary’s (University Church). It is a magnificent church with many historical displays. We were told that it was initially built by Catholics but now belongs to the Church of England.
We gathered and said prayers for the unity of Christians and at the memorial to the Reformation Martyrs. I was pleased on how we all came together as one and prayed for the good of another. We had to look around the entire vicinity.
What I loved most was the paintings and decorations in this church. All images looks beautiful and archaic as if they are going to last forever.
Next, it was time for a tour to Merton College. This was done in batches being that they do not like overcrowding as they seem to have so much rules there. I was among the second batch and had enough time to look around until it got my turn.
Luckily, I enjoyed the company of elderly women who could not stop amusing me. They were both from my church so we got on well. With their new friends I was really entertained. The eldest one would go to another table to chat while the other one would be monitoring her. At a time she said to me ‘If I go out now for a minute to get something she would tell everyone that I had abandoned her’. I was laughing all through.
The eldest one later returned with a muffin in her hand. She showed her colleague and said ‘look at what my new friend gave to me’. Her response was ‘ Don’t tell me you left your tea and toast to go and beg for muffin?
‘I didn’t beg she just gave it to me and I collected. I can’t see anything wrong with that.’ She turned towards me and enjoyed her muffin like it was a special delicacy compared to what we have on the table.
We were supposed to go for the tour together but she said the walk would be too much for her which meant that none of them would be going again. I admired the way they look out for each other.
Eventually, it was our turn and the Priest took us down to the college. On arrival a Priest welcomed us and handed over a leaflet to us. He told us some brief history about Oxford University with preference to the college we visited.
He said Merton College was founded in the year 1264 by Walter de Merton, who had passion for education and believed that student should study, live, play and pray together. This was how they built the college and a huge chapel was equally erected where student say their prayers.
|Someone is in the compound.|
In the Chapel were historical icons. According to the priest the image below is that of Henry Savile who translated Luke and Acts of the Apostles in the Kings James Version bible.
On the outside, we were shown the library, which was said to be the oldest functional library in the Western world. In the sense that, other old libraries exist but are rather moved to other places. It is the home of Oxford dictionary. Also, books cannot be taken out.Thomas Bodley was one of the great scholars that passed through Merton college. He was buried in the Chapel.
I was made to understand that the University is for the Brainy and the Rich . The time we went was their exam period and we saw their students with their various dress and colour codes for exams. It was really interesting. this implies that by the colour of the ribbons on their shirts one could tell their levels.
We were told that those that have shiny hats and garlands with bottles of wine has just completed their final exams.
I took no pictures of the students but the woman that sat before me in the Couch stopped some of them and took some pictures.
It was now time to ransack Oxford City. This time, I was with a much younger woman. We had lunch and began with window shopping which enabled us see a whole lot things before picking some. She seem to know much about the area. Funny enough most shops were very expensive with some awful dresses.
In the evening, it was the time for evensong at Christ Church Cathedral, the choir sang angelically. They sang Abide with me and other songs.
Finally, we made our way to the Coach, checked that we are all complete and headed back to London. It was a smooth drive and people were discussing various places they went to. We all had unique and fun experiences.