The Oxfordshire Sky
I promise I am trying but I am struggling. Don’t get me wrong, it is a great plot and I like the grey/gothic undertone but good lord the syntax. Round and round we go swooping up and down and under and over. I will persevere but in the meantime I’ll talk about what I have been up to this week. Whilst avoiding nineteenth century literature.
This week we bought our very first car so that we can do a myriad of not very exciting things like go to the supermarket (no I haven’t given up on the market but I like to bulk buy cleaning products) or the local recycling centre. We like to find excuses to celebrate so last night we took ourselves off for a celebratory ‘we have a car’ meal at the Trout Inn at Wolvercote. A totally picturesque pub outside Oxford with the river running by and this lovely bridge connecting one side of the garden to the other. The pub also boasts its very own pet Peacock which struts around looking for attention.
On our way home we caught a glimpse of Godstow Nunnery through the hedge.
I immediately made Mr Bell stop the car and I leapt out and climbed over the fence to go and have a poke about, leaving him bemused to wait whilst I basked in a ruin glowing with evening light. Godstow Nunnery was finished and dedicated in 1139 and was made famous through the fact that it was the final resting place of Rosamund Clifford or ‘Fair Rosamund’. Rosamund was the mistress of Henry II (who accidentally ordered the murder of Thomas Becket) and is the focus of several legends including the legend that Henry II’s queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine, had Rosamund poisoned out of revenge.
‘Fair Rosamund’ was immortalised in John William Waterhouse’s painting of her which he painted in 1917.
As I walked around the site I wondered about the lives of these women. Were they all dedicated to a holy life or were some of them there against their will? Sold to the church to ease their family’s financial burden. I had only cows for company as I wandered around a silent site which would once have been bustling with activity. The Nunnery was dissolved by Henry VIII in 1539 and passed through various different hands until it was eventually acquired by the University of Oxford. Apparently, Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) took Alice Liddell (aka Alice in Wonderland) to the site for picnics.
Jane Eyre is calling. I fear this is turning into an epic journey of realisation that my veins flow with the juices of modernism – and there is nothing that consumptive nineteenth century types can do about it. But we shall see.