WARNING: lots of photos in this post!
We spent the last weekend in Oxford, nursing Husband’s frail elderly parents. Caring for those who are physically disabled and/or suffering from dementia is very, very hard work, intense and full-on from early in the morning until well into the night. Added into this were unexpected hospital visits and emergency tests. It was hard graft. Not that either of us begrudge the effort.
It is doubly hard for someone like me, to whom many of the basic nursing tasks such as dressing, washing, toileting and feeding, fall. The effort leaves my energy levels severely compromised for some time after our regular visits. So at the moment, I am worn out, simply resting in the mist of exhaustion and accepting of it. There is little else I can do.
Luckily there was one point in the weekend, Sunday evening, when Husband and I, having settled the wrinklies in front of the telly with tea and biscuits, managed to escape and make the most of the beautiful weather for an hour. We drove into the city centre and took a gentle walk around Radcliffe Square. The sun was sinking after a glorious, golden Spring day, and the streets were full of tourists and students making the most of the balmy weather. The angle of the sunlight was catching details on many of the Dreaming Spires. It was lovely.
The sun was falling directly down the length of Brasenose Street, creating a beam of light that fell on a magnolia tree against the wall of Hertford College and All Souls. The tree was just coming into bloom and a crowd of tourists had gathered around it to take photos of its beauty, lit in a pool of gold against the warm stone of the elegant buildings. (Magnolias are a special feature of Oxford colleges at this time of year, and we have often gathered as a family to tour the quads at Easter, enjoying their glory.)
We ended our walk by ducking into The White Horse Inn in Broad Street, which is an old-fashined tavern that makes you feel like you are travelling back to the sixteenth century when you step over the threshold. It is all oak beams and panels. If you have ever watched the TV series of ‘Inspector Morse’ or ‘Inspector Lewis’, you will no doubt have seen its interior, as it is a regular watering hole of the fictional detectives. There are signed photos of the stars on the walls, and I was tempted to get my photo taken with them, but it seemed too touristy a thing to do, so we just sat and had a quiet drink and took plenty of deep breaths. And then we returned to the fray. But it was a truly golden Interlude, and its why I love Oxford, and why even when our dear ones are gone, we will come back.
I promise to be back soon, when my brain isn’t on strike, but in the meantime, I hope you enjoyed this photographic interlude as much as we did.