And so we made it to Oxford, and returned in one piece - indeed, we even managed to enjoy ourselves. The tourist season has not started yet, and it was possible to walk along the street without being pushed off into oncoming traffic. The city outdid herself, like a neglectful friend making amends for bad behaviour. She looks her best around this time of year I think, when the sky is almost painfully blue, and the sun bounces off the creamy white stonework of the University.
You could take several thousand photos of it, and still have only scratched the surface. This is a little present for Elizabeth in Marrakesh, as I believe she once attended the Ruskin School of Drawing.
Oxford was very - Oxford.
All it needed was a body and a rather grumpy white-haired Detective charging up the High, in a vintage Jaguar.
Andy must be mellowing, as for the first time that I can remember, he not only noticed that noticed that there are an awful lot of gargoyles around (bearing in mind we have lived in this area since 1994)...
...but for the first time ever I persuaded him that visiting the Botanical Gardens would be a fun thing to do. And so it was.
We had a splendid time marvelling at gi-normous ferns, gawping at bulbously sinister carniverous plants, ogling outsized cacti and getting brushed up by impertinent creepers.
I have always had a fondness for the banana tree, and hoped it was still here, as I last saw it back in 1990 when I was a foundation art student. It had moved, I think, but it - or a descendant - was still thriving.
I took more photos than I care to inflict on the unwary reader, so HERE is the entire set of our explorings in the glasshouses. For those of you who like plants and the like.
I even indulged in a little filmy-thing; it has noise but there is not much to hear above the hush of the moist greenery...
So well done Oxford, we are learning to love you again, and although we didn't make it to the Ashmolean, there will be another time. Soon.
For my dear friend Tara - I though of you when I was there, and how much you would have loved it - for you, on your birthday - (as my little posted gift is as ever, sent late)...