May Morning In Oxford

May Morning is an annual event in Oxford, England, on May Day (1 May). It starts early at 6am with the Magdalen College Choir singing a hymn, the Hymnus Eucharisticus, from the top of Magdalen Tower, a tradition of over 500 years. Large crowds normally gather under the tower along the High Street and on Magdalen Bridge. This is then followed by general revelry and festivities including Morris dancing, impromptu music, etc., for a couple of hours. There is a party atmosphere, despite the early hour. In fact, there are normally all-night balls the night before, so some people (especially students) are in formal attire (e.g., black tie/white tie or ball gown).

The Dark Allure of Oxford

I didn’t post as much as I wanted about my visit to Oxford. Possibly because I found it to be so overwhelming.

The Bodelian

As I wrote in the prior post, the purpose of my visit to Oxford was to do research for a novel I’m writing, the main character of  which grew up in the University town. It’s a paranormal mystery, as is most of my fiction writing, and Oxford’s history is rife with tales of practitioners of the occult sciences.

The Bridge Of Sighs – That Tells You Something!

The Radcliffe Camera in Oxford, England as vie...

For one thing, it is so very OLD.

We in the US consider the White House to be old.  Buildings in Oxford date back to the 12th century.

The Ashmolean

But there is something else, something more sinister.

I believe that places absorb the energies of activities that have taken place there. Perhaps the centuries of intense mental concentration and inquiry have changed Oxford somehow.  All I know is that I felt drained on my trip back to the City.

Or maybe it was just jet lag.  🙂

Oxford And The Football Match

Okay, I know I haven’t posted much about my beekeeping adventures, but there’s so much to report, it’s going to take more time than I have right now.  I’m going to work on those posts on my flight back home tomorrow.  I promise!!

I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to spend time with so many wonderful people while I’ve been here! People I would never have met but for my little blog about my hobbies.

I’m still amazed that these interesting and talented folks were willing to make time in their schedules for me, a struggling American writer whose major asset is that I’m willing to try almost anything once! That, and I usually think my misadventures are funny. In retrospect, of course.

Yesterday was no exception.  I spent the day in Oxford, which was fascinating but exhausting.


I also write fiction, and I was doing research for one of my books, The Warlock of Wall Street, a paranormal mystery.  The main character is from Oxford, and her parents, both Oxford Dons, were murdered in a particularly grisly way.  But enough about that…

After I got back to London, all I had the strength to do was watch the big soccer (er… football ) match between England and Italy in my hotel bar.

I’m very chatty when I travel by myself, and I struck up a conversation with an extremely congenial couple at the bar, who were also cheering for England.

The fellow said he was “with the Finnish government” and was here to give a speech. The three of us had a great time teasing the Germans at the next table and cheering for England to win the match.

After I had a few glasses of wine, I suggested he start off his speech with a joke and even told a few of my corny ones.  After I bid them goodnight and returned to my room, I looked the fellow up on the internet.

He was very easy to find, being that he was Jyri Häkämies, the Minister for Economic Affairs for Finland and all…

I cringe to remember some of the dopey things I said, not to mention the terrible jokes.  For one thing, I couldn’t remember whether it was the G7 or the G8, so I just said both.  Yikes!!

Thank goodness, they seemed to find me amusing.  I’m going to leave them a jar of honey at the front desk.

I’m going to the Opera tonight.  I’ll be on my best behavior!!

More later.