Yesterday (4–4–17) Oxford, England.
Monday (4–3–17) we left Edinburgh around noon and took an almost 6 hour train ride through the Scottish and English countryside. It was gorgeous and I wanted to live in every house and man every farm. Lots of sheep out there! Levi and I both agree the train is our favorite way to travel.
We got into Oxford and took a bus to the cute little 3 story house we are staying in.
Ours is the white door on the left. An 8 minute walk leads to a great little store where we could get some groceries.
Tuesday morning we took our time getting ready. It was nice to relax a little bit. Levi did some work and I took the kids to the store.
We had lunch and I took the younger kids to a little park next to our place.
This is our little backyard at the place we are staying. Lucy found a cool spiderweb.
Time to head into Oxford. It is about a 20 minute bus ride into town. We don’t mind. Being in the country feels so good after so much city time.
We walked around Oxford for about an hour or so. The buildings are beautiful and there are some great book stores and souvenir shops. Around 2:40 we caught the bus for the Kilns.
This is where CS Lewis’ house and nature reserve is. Also where he wrote The Chronicles of Narnia and many other books. He lived here with his brother Warnie and Mrs. Janie Moore, the mother of a war friend he promised to take care of if he didn’t make it, which he didn’t. They also took in many children from London who were evacuated durning the bombings. And of course his wife Joy and her two sons.
Here we are at his house. My dream house BTW.
The tour was being given by this sweet 94 year old WWII RAF vet. He had never met CS Lewis but he loved him dearly and his daughter, Patricia, is in CS Lewis’ “Letters to Children”.
This is the sitting room that Jack and Warnie spent many hours sitting in. Many conversations in this room between Jack and people like JRR Tolkien, Charles Williams and Dorothy Sayers. He also showed us a ration book everyone had during the war. I have seen one of these behind glass before but never got to open it up and look at it. As I write this there is bread and mandarines piled up next to me for lunch. And when we run I can go and get more. Ration books always make me stop for a moment and think.
Warnie’s room which is being used now by the caretaker.
This is the garage that was turned into a room many years after Lewis’ death. Here is the radio they would have listen to for war news, his marriage certificate and the original sign CS Lewis found laying outside of the Eagle and Child when they changed it, and asked if he could have.
The dinning room where our guide offered Turkish Delight. I loved this room. The windows and the green outside would have been an amazing place to sit for a while and eat. CS Lewis didn’t type on this typewriter. He didn’t like typewriters but wrote his stuff in longhand and Warnie would type it out.
This is the room that CS Lewis died in. Interestingly enough it was restored by a couple from Nevada City. This was the music room. Lewis was so generous that he bought a piano for a little girl that came to stay with them, during the evacuations, because she loved to play.
This was Mrs. Moore’s room and, at one time, his study. Lewis’s room is right next to it and he would have to walk through it to get to the rest of the house. Our guide told us how he felt it was improper to walk through a lady’s room, even if she wasn’t in it, so he built stairs outside of his room to give her her privacy.
They were going to have to tear the stairs down but were able to keep them if they sealed the door shut. The society really wanted them kept because it shows CS Lewis’ generosity and thoughtfulness to go outside 7–8 times a day, often in rain or hail, to give privacy to his friends mother he was taking care of.
CS Lewis’ room. I absolutely love this room! It is perfect in every way!
The kitchen. I love that people are living here. There is the caretaker and another man who is a scholar who lives upstairs. How fun would it be to live in CS Lewis’ house?!?
Then we walked up to the nature reserve. This whole area was beautiful. All the kids said it reminded them of Tia Lindy’s pond. There was also a fall out shelter that was never used. Apparently Hitler loved Oxford and wanted to make it his capital after the war so there were orders never to bomb it.
I went back in to pay for the tour and got a couple more pictures inside. Another lady, a mom, asked me to take a picture of her and offered to take mine. We laughed because as moms we are never in the pictures. I was so thankful to get these. Sitting in CS Lewis’s sitting room and posing with the sweetest WWII vet, it was quite the day. Here are some more pictures of the house from the outside.
This may be my favorite house of all time! When I think of my dream house I will think of this one. Not only is it sentimental, it is also beautiful.
This was a dream come true for Levi and I. Here is a little something he wrote:
“Today i got to visit C.S. Lewis’s house, The Kilns, where he lived and wrote all of his works.
I can pretty confidently say that Lewis is the most important author in my life up to this point. I vividly remember finding the Narnia books for the first time when I was eight years old, thumbing through them, smelling the pulp, and feeling a thrill at chapter names like “The Beginning of the End of The World”, even before I knew what they meant. Those books and many others by Lewis put down roots deeper than anything else that I’ve read.
To visit the house and even more the countryside where all these stories came from, these stories which shaped so much of my imagination, is a strange experience. It feels like seeing something that I’ve seen before in a dream. There is a unrelenting sense of recognition and so many things feel familiar. I realize that I’ve loved many places in America because they reminded me of here.”
We headed to the bus stop and waited while the kids played in the grass.
A lady, Yin, who was also on the tour became great friends with Jack afterwards. They talked in length about China, schools, family, etc.
I think Jack might be the friendliest person I know. 😄 We wanted to go to the Eagle and Child for dinner but sadly Lucy and Lily, who had not been feel well all day succumbed to their ailments. We are taking today to rest and get better and will go out again tomorrow since all three girls woke up this morning not feeling well. Levi is taking Sam and Jack on a hike today and I will stay at home with the weak ones. They have to get better. We have much more to do in the next 6 days!
I will just leave you with some pictures of the English countryside in the evening. I think this would be my most favorite place to live if all our family and friends were here.