Through The Looking Glass

Monday, 12 July 2010
As of this past Thursday Luke is officially a graduate of the University of Manchester (with a 2.1 no less) and I'm so happy I was able to attend the ceremony. I have only ever attended a graduation ceremony that I took part in, so it was nice to sit in on one from a different perspective. The ceremony occurred in Whitworth Hall, a location Luke and I had visited on our trip around the uni. I took photos of it in a previous entry, it is the place that looks exactly like Hogwarts!

The ceremony was short and sweet, in fact much shorter than I was expecting - only an hour long in fact. It appears the English have managed to get all the pomp and circumstance into their ceremonies without making them long and drawn out. Something much appreciated as the room was stifling hot.

After the ceremony, I joined Luke's mum, step-dad, grandad, and dad at a pub across the street for a celebratory pint or two before the family sans Luke's dad went out for a lovely Italian dinner at Felicini's in Didsbury (basically a posh suburb of Manchester). Felicini's caters to the more Mediterranean side of Italian cooking, I had stuffed vine leaves for starters (by far the best I have ever had) and pan-fried gnocchi with goat's cheese, spinach, and sun dried tomatoes for my main. Before ending the evening with a selection of ice creams (fig and marscapone; cherry; double chocolate). The meal was the cherry on top to a lovely day!

I found out something new this weekend, July 10th is Alice's Day, a celebration of everything to do with Alice in Wonderland and Lewis Carroll. This knowledge came to me quite by accident. Luke and I are currently at Neil and Nic's watching Oli and Doogal (their previously mentioned Basset Hounds) which is not to far from Oxford. Saturday morning Luke and I were talking about going to Oxford, and he asked me if I had anything in particular I would like to do there. Of course being an Alice fanatic I asked if by chance there were any Alice in Wonderland museums in Oxford, last time I was there I couldn't remember hearing of any. A Google search told us all we had to know.

Alice's Day is described as a frabjous day celebrated in Oxford (birthplace of the story), I'm still unclear if it's celebrated anywhere else. There are a number of activities to choose from. Luke and I went to The Botanic Garden to enjoy a picnic that Luke had packed and watch 'The Hunting of the Snark', a ceremony based on one of Lewis Carroll's nonsensical poems "that charts the impossible voyage of an improbable crew to find an inconceivable creature." The Botanic Garden was a personal favourite of the Liddell family for a day out. Alice Liddell served as inspiration for Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, as it was written for her one summer's afternoon on a family outing along the river.

After our picnic, Luke and I had a wander around Oxford, down to Christ Church (which Carroll was the Dean of). We found the famed Alice's Shop which basically was like walking into a fantasy land for me, everything you could think of in an Alice theme. I had every intention of purchasing a souvenir but it was an incredibly small shop, on an incredibly hot day which meant it was stuffy and unbearable - I left the shop much earlier than I would have liked feeling faint. This was remedied by a stroll around Christ Church Memorial Gardens, where we had an interesting experience watching a demonstration on honey bees. We were able to post up and watch the bees coming in and out of their hives while listening with stethoscopes to their buzzing.

After our walk through the gardens, Luke and I fully intended to go to the Bodleian Library, which was having an exhibition of early edition Alice books, including one illustrated by Salvador Dali. To our dismay we arrived three minutes too late as the library had just shut. Oh well, there is always next year, for a feel an annual tradition coming on!

Alice's Shop with Christ Church in the background.

Erin x


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