How I wish they called this College Magdalen College. It is beautiful and deserves a name that does it justice. But who am I to suggest such a thing. This college has been around for some time – founded in 1458 and has been reasonably comfortable with its name. This glorious quadrangle has white hydrangeas planted around its perimeter and they are all in full bloom.
I have been waiting for a lull in the rain to visit this College as it is large and I wanted to explore it properly and do the Addison walk around the island and its private meadow and visit the Fellow’s Garden – all part of the College grounds and inaccessible to the outsider. Keith can get in for free – he only needs to wave his Bodleian library card – whereas I must pay five pounds!
One afternoon last week, the sun came out and I could see more blue sky than clouds, so I filled my thermos with tea and set off. I had a lovely afternoon and alas, it did rain, but I enjoyed my time and managed to drink my cup of tea sitting in the gardens.
CS Lewis attended this College and Shadowlands was filmed here. But it is a place steeped in history, atmosphere and stories.
How I longed to climb these stairs to visit one of the libraries with a collection dating back to a gift of manuscript books, presented by the founder in 1481!
Each time I have crossed Magdalen Bridge, I have looked across at the island and longingly wanted to walk its muddy path.
Finally, I could – this is Addison’s walk and I found a poem written by CS Lewis on a wall.
It is called “What the bird said early in the year” – the bird was definitely not talking about this year:
“I heard in Adison’s Walk a bird sing clear
This year the summer will come true this year this year
Winds will not strip the blossoms from the apple trees
This year no want of rain destroy the peas
This year times nature will no more defeat you
Nor all the promised moments in their passing cheat you….”
This is a secluded pond in the Fellow’s garden – you have to walk around the Island on Adison’s walk, and cross a tiny bridge into another garden, along another muddy path and there it is tucked neatly away. I suspect it enjoys much solitude and silence. I was a solitary walker on this afternoon – a mad Aussie.
There are parts of England that have received 300% of their rainfall for the year this July and we are only half way through! Will it stop for the Olympics? Despite the inclemency of the weather, it has not stopped our enjoyment of living in this glorious place. I just hope the students who live and study at Maudlin appreciate its beauties.