Since posts this week have had an Oxford theme, let's continue that with something which looks as though it's a lot of fun.
By chance this morning I discovered the as yet unlaunched board game Dreaming Spires which lets you build an Oxford college and lead it from the medieval era to the present day. It sounds a bit like Monopoly in caps and gowns, with bonus points for attracting the great scholars of the day and the ultimate prize of the Chancellorship, while you "discover a world of cobbled streets, misty quads and dreaming spires!"
The team behind the game are raising funds to get it off the ground via Kickstarter, and they have already left their target sum far behind so that every new pledge of support helps them to reach so-called 'stretch goals' which will allow them to add to or improve the components of the game. You can find all the Kickstarter information here. Needless to say, I have backed them, and can't wait to get my copy of the game in a few months' time; in a house where Monopoly is played very competitively, and where one of our number used to indulge in the dubious Oxford pursuit that is 'punt jousting', I think it will prove very popular.
On our last two visits to Oxford we've stayed at The Old Parsonage Hotel, and as you'll see if you follow that link, I have nothing but good to say of it. It is currently closed for refurbishment and the creation of five additional bedrooms and a rooftop library (!), and will be open again in March, so this time we stayed at its sister hotel The Old Bank. We had a very spacious and extremely comfortable room overlooking St. Mary's Church and All Souls, and its central location was ideal given that we were back and fore to Magdalen (a 5-minute walk away) several times over the weekend.
In the restaurant, the food was good and the service was slick, the staff throughout were very pleasant and helpful, and while the public rooms are not as cosy and almost cocoon-like as at The Old Parsonage, I'd still rush back any time.
On 7th. November at 6.30pm, Geoffrey Munn - whom many of us know so well from his appearances on Antiques Roadshow - will give an illustrated talk entitled "From my Beloved Albert - The Personal Jewellery of Queen Victoria". This will take place in the Cathedral's Garry Weston Library, and will be followed by a champagne* reception, and given Geoffrey Munn's obvious love of his subject as well as his extensive knowledge, it's bound to be a sparkling occasion all round and one that's fascinating and fun as well.
Tickets may be purchased from the Cathedral shop (020 7367 6710) or via Rose herself (020 7367 6704), or online here (with booking fee).
*Internationally award-winning English Sparkling wine made using the Champagne grape varietals, supplied by Wine Pantry.
I don't know the origin of this piece but it looks to be of the period (the two calendar inserts you see above are for August and September 1914). The round hole between them would have housed a clock, there are letter scales, drawers and compartments for stamps, ink, rubber bands, cheque book, 'letters answered' and 'letters unanswered', pens, fasteners, wax and luggage labels,
and the blotter incorporates what looks to be a ceramic 'slate' (anyone know the correct term?) for memoranda and one for engagements.
And when you've finished your correspondence for the day, you post it in the box in the hall!
*The 'z' is silent, and the name is Gaelic for 'field of corn', I understand.
"Were a young woman brought to relish home society, and the calm delights of an agreeable occupation, before she entered into the delusive scenes of pleasure, presented by theatre and other dissipations, it is probable she would soon make a comparison much in favour of the former, especially if restraint did not give to the latter additional relish.
If we carry on our observations to married life, we shall find a love of employment to be the source of unnumbered pleasures. To attend to the nursing and at least early instructions of children, and rear a healthy progeny in the ways of piety and usefulness: to preside over the family and regulate the income allotted to maintenance; to make home the sweet refuge of a husband fatigued by intercourse with a jarring world: to be his enlightened companion and the chosen friend of his heart: these, these are woman's duties! And delightful ones they are if she be married to a man whose soul can duly estimate her worth, and who will bring his share to the common stock of felicity. Of such a woman one may truly say, 'Happy the man who can call her his wife. Blessed are the children who call her mother.' "
Nan's 'quote du jour' today is a lovely one on the subject of taking pleasure in simple things and finding art "in all the small ways of living"; as Gladys Taber says there, "no matter what heaven may be like, there is no use just waiting for it".
Here is the Queen in her sitting room at Balmoral, and note the toy corgi in the foreground on the right.
Here is my corgi, Philip, who - unlike our real dogs - gets to sit on the settee. He is a souvenir of my visit to Britannia.
Although they are hard to make out in the top picture, on the royal desk are a number of stones which the Queen has picked up on her walks about the estate. As a keen (and choosy) stone-gatherer myself, I'm glad to know I'm in good company.
A Victorian glasshouse which used to be a florist's, nursery shop and greengrocer's, Gee's is now a lovely modern restaurant which retains some of the style of its origins.
Click here for more pictures (much better than mine), and here for the menu - I can recommend the coco beans with girolles and lemon zest, the pizza (as mentioned yesterday), and the goats' curd cheesecake with figs and honey.
I've so enjoyed reading about all your ideal 'lazy days', and I was interested, though not surprised, that there were a lot of common elements to them.
A Cornflower reader typically likes to be in a garden, or on a walk, and if at home, pottering, knitting, having the company of family and friends, enjoying a good meal or a cup of tea or coffee and some cake, and usually with a book to hand - it sounds ideal to me, too.
Cornflower is seven years old today, and I couldn't let that anniversary pass unmarked, so to thank you all for visiting here, for leaving great comments, for sending me links to interesting things, for getting in touch privately, and for being such a lovely community of readers, I have a little 'birthday present' to give away to one of you:
I was down in the Borders today and stopped at The Mainstreet Trading Company - a must if you're in the area - and there I bought some soap made by Ginger Duck. There were lots of wonderful scents to choose from, but in the end I went for Lazy Days & Sundays which contains lavender and rose geranium essential oils and ... cornflowers!
We'll have a draw, open to everyone, no matter where in the world you are, and all you have to do to enter is leave a comment here telling us how you'd most like to spend a lazy day (or a very active one, if you'd prefer) or Sunday - forget any practical considerations or the usual constraints on your time and activities and just think what would make a perfect day. Please do have a go.