During our 2-week stay in Europe, we visited the medieval city of Oxford, coined the “City of Dreaming Spires” by poet Matthew Arnold.
Our 11-year-old daughter & I just finished the 7 books by C.S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia, & the epic trilogy, His Dark Materials, by Philip Pullman, both alumni of Oxford University, the oldest university in the English-speaking world, established 1096.
What was completely remarkable was that there was only 1 parking spot available in this bustling college town when we arrived and it just so happened to be in front of the Eagle & Child pub – we were hungry, but we didn’t know how significant the place was until we walked in!!
Built in 1650, this favorite watering hole was frequented by Lewis, Pullman, J.R.R. Tolkien and other members of “The Inklings,” the famous literary group!
So, of course, that’s where we had lunch!
Seriously, out of the whole city, what’s the chance of finding that one parking spot!
Our daughter, a published author & speaker by age 8 and now a prolific writer working on her 1st novel, felt the wall behind where we sat and breathed, “I’m touching history.”
Couldn’t be more perfect!
She ogled the Harry Potter Golden Egg in one of the store windows but opted for the snitch.
Before leaving historic Oxford, we stopped for tea & scones and some lovely smoked salmon.
The Bright Spot – Being surrounded by spirituality, architectural magnificence & educational brilliance, it was nourishing for our well-being at this most challenging time: Kicking Cancer
In the 16 weeks since Phillip’s surgery, we’ve been back to the hospital 24 times including a 3rd full-body MRI and chemical injections. (To see the full story, click here: Kicking Cancer) By the end of March, Phillip’s PSA level was tested 4 times, and on each occasion the reading went up!! Having had the prostate removed, the PSA level should be undetectable. When the 4th result came in showing an increase of 77% from the first post-surgery reading, we were really unnerved.
So Phillip surprised me with a weekend house in the Hamptons. The Atlantic was our backyard! If you squint, you can see the kids looking for shells by the water’s edge in the photo above .
He wrote on his blog (Phillip’s Journey), “I wanted my wife to have some down time, as she has been carrying the burden greatly. For those of you who know her, you know she loves deeply and has deep emotions. This journey has been tough on her, and I wanted her to unwind more than anything. I
didn’t realize how much I needed this, too. We spent the weekend in an idyllic beach home with glorious chilled, played board games, grilled fresh salmon & steak, we talked, we walked, we flew kites, we gazed at the ocean & listened to the breaking surf, we delighted in the laughter of our daughter & her friends playing in the sand, running down the beach, rescuing overturned horseshoe crabs, and we reveled in the pure joy of beach life.
And the really good news… my latest blood test last week shows that my PSA is now undetectable. So, 40 rounds of daily radiation begins in June, then another round of chemical injections, and my plan is to have kicked it to the curb by then….Cancer out!”
To think Phillip was again worried about me when it is he going through all this agony! How incredibly loving, how completely appreciated!! This weekend was the respite we all needed.
The children made s’mores before watching family movies and Darling played her latest instrument, a Seagull Merlin she just stenciled.
Smoked salmon for breakfast & chocolate-dipped strawberries at lunch. More kite-flying, even by my Mom, exploring the Bay, and proper burials & prayers for horseshoe crabs that were found washed ashore. The children crafted their own crosses from beach wood and sea grass.
A little bit of shopping and a REALLY windy ride back on the ferry completed the long weekend.
The Bright Spot – We all feel rejuvenated!
Especially Phillip, he looks fantastic!!!!
Thank you, my Love!