Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Doctor Who, Doctor Phil, Dr.Phil, Phil DPhil

I'm not sure what his actual title is. I am sure he will tell me.  But, my son has just received his doctorate from Oxford University. I believe this makes him a DPhil. His name is also Phil, or Philip as his parents call him. Does this make him Dr Phil Phd? Or Phil DPhil? In any case, he did very well and we are very proud of him. The other thing I find strange is, he is a doctor of philosophy yet he did hard things in physics.

Dr Phil

The graduation was at the beginning of June and we thought we would make a holiday of it and spend a little time in the Lake District en route. We love the Lake District, have grown very fond of the area. If you are going by car to Oxford, you get the ferry to Scotland, turn right when on arrival and keep driving until you leave Scotland and reach England. Rather unfair on Scotland, but that's the way it is. South of  the Lake District is a good place to break the journey but it is even nicer to make an overnight stop and enjoy the scenery.

lunch at Ullswater
We always stay in Ambleside, in the same hotel overlooking Lake Windemere. On one famous occasion we actually walked up Loughrigg Fell, the pinnacle of my walking achievements. Mostly we walk along the flat bits, through the parks and along the river. Once you get off the road, its gorgeous. The Fells are gorgeous too, but I worry about the mists coming down, broken limbs, getting lost. If you walk along the flat bits there's rarely a problem. I said we walk through the parks, but the whole area is a park, a national park. Walking alongside the Lakes, I always find myself wanting to quote bits of Wordsworth, if only I could remember them. The one about the big mountain bearing down on the lake and the bigger lake bearing down on the smaller lake. I think it may be The Prelude. I'll stick to the one about the daffodils. "and then I saw a host of golden daffodils."

Waterhead Hotel, Ambleside
The next day we headed to Oxford. If you have ever watched Inspector Morse or Inspector Lewis on the telly, then you already know Oxford. It is exactly like it is on the tv. If you have no idea who Morse or Lewis are, then think Harry Potter. A lot of HP is filmed in Oxford. The streets are narrow, often cobbled, and everywhere is there is an old building, an old college. And lots of tourists, and lots of students. At exam time and graduation time the students fly around in their gowns and mortar boards. And bikes are everywhere.

The Lamb and The Flag, one of Oxford's gazillion pubs

Philip's graduation was in the Sheldonian Theatre. And that is very fitting, the graduation is like no other. It really is a piece of theatre. For a start it is all in Latin. There is a lot of doffing caps, and bowing and scraping, first to the left, then the centre, then the right. No time to get bored, it is all too fascinating. The other main difference from most graduations - there is no audience participation from delighted parents. No whooping and cheering. No flash from the camera. No calling out. A little polite applause when indicated. Pure theatre.

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Great fun.

The next day was great fun too. We went to celebrate at Le Manoir Aux Quatre Saison. To worship at the feet of the great Raymond Blanc, the french chef. All I have to say is, should I never eat another restaurant meal again, I will be happy enough. No meal could ever surpass this one. No, maybe I'm only joking, I will of course want to eat a restaurant meal again. The meal was fantastic, the kitchen gardens stupendous and the service unsurpassed That's right, I enjoyed it.

Alan's chocolate dessert

The red round thing is the raspberry souffle,
 the other is my wine infused face

Back to the hotel again for another night

"our hotel" last Halloween,
The Old Parsonage, Oxford
and then back off to the Lake District again, but before I did there was just about time to dart into Darn it And Stitch to buy a little fabric. This shop is tiny, the sort of shop I feel I should buy something in just to support it. Mind you, it seems to do well enough with or without my support. I bought some Kona in warm and cold colours to go with my Mr Cool and Mrs Hot Hot Hot quilts from my Modern Quilters Ireland bee squares from last year. I just need a few more squares. I also bought some London fabric for when I am Queen Bee in this year's bee. August I think it is, help, panic, I have to write a tutorial.

secret, fast shopping

When we left Oxford we headed off to Hereford to search for my dead people, a genealogy trip for my birthday. How will my husband top that next year? I'll blog about that next time, to much to tell here.

Back in the Lake District I was flicking around on the free wifi and found that Fluffy Sheep Quilting had charm squares in her shop called Ambleside. Well, it was as if the gods had contrived to bring that  together. I ordered some Ambleside by Moda and some rocket boy fabric to slip in with my June block for Stash Hive 2, blogged about last week. I'm also auditioning, good word that, the Heather Ross fabric on the left for a quilt a long beginning soon.

I then arrived home to find the fabric I had won from Fiona in Betsy Grey Craft's ig competition had arrived. A good week all round then.
love the Elizabeth 1st fabric

A great trip. But just one thing, Philip is a twin, and ..... we do the same thing again at the end of July when we will have not one but two doctors in the house. The crunch is though, can either of them put a plaster (elastoplast) on?

Helen x

ps I'll leave you with the gratuitous school boy humour, part of a road sign on the road to Windemere.


  1. Congrats to have Dr.son :) and look all that chocolate and deserts plus fabrics! You sure know how to live well! BTW I like your new pic in your profile. Nice hair!

  2. Congratulations to your son. Love to go england someday. Everything look so pretty there. What I imagined before I came here...

  3. Congratsto Phil! Lovely photos of Oxford and the Lake District.

  4. OMG I laughed out loud several times here Helen! First and foremost, congrats to the mother of TWO doctors (in the house lol---terrific show, that). Loved seeing the pics of Oxford (and the ceremony in Latin?! Our daughter's ceremony was on a football field! but very fit and proper) My mum always raves about the Lake District, but sadly I have never been. Whoa on the fabric win! What a haul! I have the yellow "crayon tops" fabric in an ombre type colourway. Love Tula's Elizabeth line. And yes, Ambleside, how à propos!

  5. Loved this Helen. Lol as the 'young folks' say!!

  6. Congratulations to your twins.You must be very proud. I loved this post, so like me in many ways. Did you pop in to Doughty's in Hereford, loads of fabric for really good prices. I wish I knew you were going there as it's only an hour from me. If ever you come this way again yell out xxx

  7. Congratulations to your twins.You must be very proud. I loved this post, so like me in many ways. Did you pop in to Doughty's in Hereford, loads of fabric for really good prices. I wish I knew you were going there as it's only an hour from me. If ever you come this way again yell out xxx

  8. What a wonderful trip. Congratulations on the achievements of your sons. Look forward to seeing what you decide to do with all those varied fabrics!


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