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Tea Among the Dreaming Spires: An Oxford Virago Tea Party

Virago Modern Classics

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Jan 6, 2012, 8:16am Top

Have at it!

Jan 6, 2012, 9:44am Top


Jan 6, 2012, 10:42am Top

Well, 'when' is a good question... since I live here, I don't mind at all. But since Verity offered to host, perhaps she should determine a date - or at least a date window?

Jan 6, 2012, 10:43am Top

Of course, there is always the option of just meeting in central Oxford and hitting various bookshops/cafes, rather than needing someone's house to host (especially since Verity is a few miles from Oxford centre) - I suppose it depends on what format the day will take.

Aren't I being spectacularly useless?

Jan 6, 2012, 11:26am Top

As long as I'm not on holiday, I'm in, whatever format the day takes. I have nothing planned yet this year, so any time is good at the moment. *joins Simon in the useless corner* ;-/

Jan 6, 2012, 11:46am Top

Ooh, Oxford's not too horrendous to get to from here. I'd love to come along!

Jan 6, 2012, 12:46pm Top

I always have a lot going on in the summer (I'm assuming we're talking about a summertime event, right?) but will make EVERY EFFORT to be there!

Wasn't there mention of June? Or was the the US tea party? (Oh, dear, I hope this doesn't start sounding like the OTHER sort of tea party!) We're probably going to France in mid- or late-June, but nothing's been booked yet.

Jan 6, 2012, 1:04pm Top

I would prefer a Saturday if we are meeting before the end of school term (the end of July) otherwise I wouldn't be able to come. June sounds like a great choice of month - weather may be kind : )

Jan 6, 2012, 5:29pm Top

This is sounding excellent and I propose that we name a Saturday in June.

In fact I suggest Saturday June 16th and Sunday 17th.

We can include book shops, coffee/tea, sites Chritchurch Cathedral, CS Lewis pubs (ooops), Bodleian - Verity I did a fab tour including the Divintiy school once on a special occcasion. Would you be able to wangle anything?

So far and on the register of interest we have
urania1 ... will you be needing collecting from Heathrow Mother dear?

~4 Stuck - I completely agree although of course all are welcome to stay and there are other hostels, hotels etc!

~7 Helen dear, I gather you were going to be coming up to Oxford on the train? Why don't we invite you to come and stay here, about 15 miles South of Oxford and then we can take the car into the city on the day. I do work Monday - Friday but we could have a long week end and you could stay on and explore!

We could do a Saturday in Oxford and then have a Sunday dinner for those who wish to extend their stay - here in Chilton. PS We better not keep mentioning the tea party!

What do we think so far?

Jan 6, 2012, 6:38pm Top

If I can come, I will happily accept your invitation, Julie! But we're going to have two as yet undetermined weekends in June already booked. Fingers crossed there are no conflicts!

Jan 6, 2012, 6:52pm Top

I'm afraid I'm going to have to ignore this thread from now on. I am SO JEALOUS. Oxford in June! For the past 4 1/2 years, my computer's desktop photograph has been of a waterlily in the Oxford Botanical Gardens, taken in June 2007. I also had a little private tour of Christchurch with the dean's personal assistant (a Cambridge friend of my sister-in-law), attended evensong at Magdalen, fell madly in love with the Ashmolean, and drank a pint at the Turf. YOU ARE ALL SO LUCKY!!!!!

On the other hand, I will be in Göttingen, Germany's equivalent of Oxford, in three weeks, so I really can't complain too much, except about missing out on your lovely company.

Jan 6, 2012, 11:12pm Top

Okay, if June 16th is the date, then I will have to postpone my tea party to the 23rd or the 30th. Rob, you can always come to chez moi. Room and board are free. Of course you may have to milk goats. We may have goatlings arriving in June. Julie count me in.

Jan 6, 2012, 11:29pm Top

Egads, June is the most expensive time to travel to England. The prices are twice as high as any other time. I will visit the temp agency on Monday.

Jan 7, 2012, 3:25am Top

All sounds great to me : )

Jan 7, 2012, 5:03am Top

I'm in too! I will probably stay with my sister in Reading for a few days and take the train to Oxford on whatever day we decide to meet. I don't think it's very far- we did a day trip to a natural history museum in Oxford with the kids, the last time I visited.

Jan 7, 2012, 6:51am Top

I'm in too! I presume I'll come down for the day (Saturday) on the train with Ali, however I have some friends in the surrounding areas too and might try to arrange something with them (I was just noting how many friends I have in Oxfordshire when addressing my Christmas cards)

Jan 7, 2012, 7:38am Top

>9 juliette07:: That sounds like an excellent plan; count me in! I too would be coming from London on the train; whether I stay overnight will depend on the price difference between a day return and an open return ticket. I don't get to Oxford very often though so I'm tempted to ignore the cost and stay anyway:-)

>11 rbhardy3rd:: I am envious of all those able to visit Mary in Tennessee and meet the lovely US Viragoites, not to mention the goats. And Gottingen sounds fantastic.

If anyone needs a bed for the night while passing through London, I can offer a basic but free futon in my living room.

Edited: Jan 7, 2012, 7:56am Top

Hmm, 16th June may be a problem after all as Mr Dragon has already made plans and will not be able to look after the boys :(

Will see if we can work around this...

Jan 7, 2012, 8:20am Top

If anyone is coming from further afield and is flying into Gatwick, I live 15 minutes away so would be available for friendly and enthusiastic airport meeting. We also have a lovely, comfy sofa and airbed if anyone would like a room in Sussex.

Jan 7, 2012, 9:30am Top

The 16th June sounds good to me but my weekends for 2012 are so far almost completely free so I can do another day if the 16th doesn't work for everyone.

Jan 7, 2012, 9:47am Top

Settle on date and I will book my flight. Beloved is shuddering. Let him shudder I say.

Jan 7, 2012, 10:34am Top

I, too, live 15 minutes from Gatwick and can accommodate several guests (all vicarages are quite big and my children have left home, so spare bedrooms). I would love to go to Oxford for that weekend (or some of it) and meet some of my fellow viragoites in the flesh.

Ygraine, I wonder if it's the same 15 minutes?

Jan 7, 2012, 10:52am Top

We should be around that weekend and the offer still stands if you would all like to come here for tea and cake. I can't arrange tours of the Bodleian myself but you can do them (at a price) - info here


Jan 7, 2012, 10:54am Top

I just re-read my last post and to avoid confusion want to confirm that when I talked about "working around this", I was referring to my family working out child care arrangements! I wasn't suggesting we try to find another date as I'm sure it would be impossible to find one date which suited everybody. Apologies for any misunderstandings caused!

I think if Julie and Verity are both happy with the sixteenth of June, that's our definite date.

Jan 7, 2012, 7:17pm Top

Lovely! 16th is in my diary.

Jan 7, 2012, 8:31pm Top

Unfortunately, England is out of the question this summer -- grandbaby in March and son's wedding in May -- that's about the big expenses and time I can afford. Perhaps if the tea becomes annual, I'll be able to make it another year -- I am envious!

Jan 8, 2012, 11:45am Top

I'll need to check my work diary - some Saturdays are possible for me, but not sure about that one - I may have weddings to conduct... But I love the idea of an excuse to visit Oxford, to meet some of you and catch up with other friends in the area also (and a long train journey which gives lovely reading time!).

Jan 8, 2012, 1:16pm Top

I am envious too....:-(

Jan 9, 2012, 11:31am Top

Kerry, we're in Haywards Heath.

Jan 9, 2012, 11:35am Top

Drat! I may be in England the last Saturday of June. If you are all still at the party, I'll join you :-)

Jan 10, 2012, 11:58pm Top

I have had a lovely time with Julie in Oxford and a sneaking tour of the gardens of Eton and a lovely drive from Heathrow so I don't feel quite as jealous but I do feel sad that it is unlikely I will make it to Oxford to join you this time. I want to see lovely photos though!

Jan 12, 2012, 9:10am Top

How's about we have the morning/lunchtime for Oxford exploring followed by a glorious teaparty at my house in the afternoon? I know Simon pointed out that I'm a little way out of Oxford, but the flipside is that there is a very good bus service, and plenty of parking in the road for free (whereas you'll pay to park in town - if you even find a space!). Those who are not coming so far could bring something to add to the teatable (I know Simon bakes too :) )

Jan 12, 2012, 12:35pm Top

oooh that sounds like a good plan - I am sure Liz and I could contribute some eats : )

Jan 12, 2012, 3:14pm Top

Wish I could be there!

Jan 13, 2012, 4:46am Top

That sounds like a good plan, especially given that it might be difficult to find a tea shop with space for a big group of us. Anyway, home-made is always best!

Jan 13, 2012, 5:29am Top

I easily have space for 15, more if we split across two rooms and even more if it's nice enough to be outside :)

Jan 13, 2012, 10:44am Top

Whoo hoo! And Ali and I can bring fat-free cakes, to spare you having to try to cook gluten- and fat-free and to share with anyone else who needs that ...


Jan 13, 2012, 6:44pm Top

Sounds good! I will bring cake... and if my housemate's car is free, might even be able to offer lifts. Or I'll try out that there bus :)

Jan 14, 2012, 12:34pm Top

Ooh yes, I can't manage fat free, though I can do vegan and gluten free. You have to put something nice in to make up for taking out the gluten!! It will be strawberries time of year though and they are fat free :) We can collate a list of dietary requirements near the time.

I suppose I should mention this to Mr W - I keep forgetting I'll send him out on a long bike ride that afternoon.

Jan 14, 2012, 12:50pm Top


I thought Mr. W was going to be our butler for the afternoon.

Jan 20, 2012, 2:04pm Top

Verity mentioned the plans to me and I should be able to make it up from London for the day. Who's up for a Virago exchange/duplicate swap? I've given several to a friend recently but I am planning on culling some more.

Jan 23, 2012, 6:19am Top

Ooh, that would be a good idea! Claire - you will finally get to see our house :)

Jan 23, 2012, 8:38am Top

That's a good idea. If I have any culls by then I will bring them.

Jan 23, 2012, 5:13pm Top

This is great and it is beginning to look like a plan. If folk are content I am willing to volunteer as organizer.

Saturday 16th June is the official Oxford Virago tea party with the morning spent exploring Oxford. Lunch at a lovely eatery like the The Nosebag which has a good range of choice including soups, salads, homemade casseroles, vegetarian options & a selection of cakes (6-8 St. Michaels Street Oxford OX1 2DU), more exploring and bookshops followed by tea at Verity's.

Verity - we just need to check that you are still happy with this.

I propose that after tea we then enjoy a soiree. Some may like to do their own thing depending upon what is on - Ashmolean, Concerts, Theatre in or out of town etc etc ... Probably don't want to over plan at this point in time. I will gather together some ideas and friends can make their own decisions.

What do friends think so far?

Jan 23, 2012, 7:21pm Top

I am in your hands Julie :-)

Jan 23, 2012, 7:22pm Top

I am sooo excited!!!

Jan 24, 2012, 6:51am Top

I have got in touch with Julie and will act as tea party hostess and assistant organiser :)

I still have to ask Mr W if we can have a number of ladies around for tea, but never mind :)

Jan 24, 2012, 8:04am Top

Julie, that sounds like a perfect day to me!

Jan 24, 2012, 8:23am Top

Sigh. Working on a way to "apparate" to Oxford in June.

Jan 24, 2012, 8:35am Top

I'm still not sure if I can make it: if I do it will be a matter of travelling down on Thursday or Friday, staying with friends who are overdue a visit anyway, and joining you on the Saturday for at least part of the day. But. I'll have to be back on the train heading north by about 5 pm.

Jan 24, 2012, 9:15am Top

And I'm still trying to work out when our friends are getting married in June and really hoping it's not the same weekend! How can I tactfully press them for a date?!?

Jan 24, 2012, 11:31am Top

Sounds great to me - I've put it on my calendar : )

Jan 27, 2012, 4:21am Top

I finally remembered to ask Mr W last night and he is more than happy for everyone to come round. :)

Jan 29, 2012, 1:03am Top

My airline ticket is purchased.

Edited: Jan 29, 2012, 2:14am Top

~54 Wonderful news - how is beloved and is he still shuddering? How is the temp agency shaping up !!!!

Jan 29, 2012, 10:02am Top

Beloved is indeed shuddering. I am faster and more efficient in the barn than he is. And as for the temp agency - I am getting the trip as my combined birthday/Christmas present for this year. So no temp agency.

Jan 30, 2012, 3:39am Top

Woop! I get to meet my Secret Santa in person!

Jan 31, 2012, 10:20am Top

#44 Sounds great - it's in the calendar. :-)

Jan 31, 2012, 10:23am Top

>57 mrsvjdw: Verity,

Who knows? Maybe I'll bring you another politically incorrect book ;-)

Feb 1, 2012, 3:29am Top

Hooray! Our friends have booked their wedding for 30 June, so I can come and drink tea with all you lovely ladies! Julie - please let me know if a bed is still available!

Feb 1, 2012, 4:56am Top

That would be lovely! I am ammassing lots of duplicates to share with my friends! Mr W survived my hen party so I am hoping he can survive the VMC group...

Feb 1, 2012, 3:12pm Top

Great news Helen! I have PM ed you.

Feb 3, 2012, 8:09am Top

There will be at least one man there, Verity! Moi!

Edited: Feb 6, 2012, 7:21am Top

Excellent news Simon! We are just into February - plenty of time to prepare.

Here is an update; so far and on the register of interest we have

mrs vjdw

Maybe we have;

Please feel free to edit as appropriate especially if I have inadvertently left your name off our list....

Feb 6, 2012, 3:34am Top

What about me!!!

Feb 6, 2012, 7:20am Top

Verity dearest - so very sorry .... hangs her head ..... how could I have left you off the list - our wonderful tea hostess ? Many apologies dear friend I think I may have been taken you for granted ....

Mar 1, 2012, 8:21am Top

Do we have a time for the teaparty? It's just that I may be doing a swim in Bedford in the morning - I need to work out whether it's feasible. I kind of want to as it's a swim series and there might be a series prize - it'll only be a 1.5k swim so won't be shattered but need to make sure time to get back.

Mar 2, 2012, 10:29pm Top

A Bloomsday alternative! I wish I could come, and dearest spouse just joked that maybe I could, but I don't actually think that's realistic. However, I look forward to enjoying it vicariously!

Mar 13, 2012, 4:30am Top

I hope to be able to join you.

Mar 13, 2012, 12:49pm Top

I've booked a hotel! I can't wait!

Apr 6, 2012, 1:57pm Top

Starting to plan teatime cakes - can anyone who has any specific dietary requirements let me know? I am gluten free and will do a mix of GF and non GF (husband isn't and can't bear it!). everything will be vegetarian (i.e. no gelatine) and I can also do vegan if necessary and probably anything else but need to know while I peruse my recipe books! I'm going for just sweet things in the hope that everyone will have a savoury lunch?!

Edited: Apr 6, 2012, 2:11pm Top

Great news and thank you Verity! I was presuming a savoury lunch - so looking good. I thought that The Nosebag would be a good choice for all - what think you? http://www.nosebagoxford.co.uk/index.html

Apr 6, 2012, 2:39pm Top

It all sounds wonderful! Verity, unfortunately for my waistline, I have no dietary restrictions. The Nosebag looks great too! Can I bring something? I'm coming on the train on Friday, but I'm happy to bring a batch of my sinful brownies if you'd like!

Apr 7, 2012, 3:37am Top

miss_read if you would like to bring something that would be great. Maybe everyone should bring a tupperware box too as I anticipate if everyone wants to bring things then we will have enough for doggy bags!!

If people want to bring things, could they say what on this thread please so that we get a nice spread?

I am going to make mini victoria sponges (if husband allows me to buy the special new tin from Lakeland), shortbread biscuits and a fruit cake. I may also make cookies, and can do vegan gluten free coconut cupcakes. Carrot cake is also a possibility.

I will get strawberries too for anyone who is watching their waistline!

Apr 7, 2012, 4:25am Top

I'm getting hungry just thinking about it! Will you have time for all that, Verity??

Put me down as bringing a tupperware box of brownies.

Apr 7, 2012, 12:42pm Top

Yep - I'm off on the Monday before (to recover from my first triathlon!), so I can get the shortbread and fruitcake done then (cunning choices you see....), and then I can do the other cakes on Friday night after work. I once made three birthday cakes on a Friday night after work, including a guitar shaped one, so I think I can throw together some things for a tea party without too much hassle. (I hope!!!).

Tea, coffee, juice...what else should we have to drink? (Obviously tea includes decaff tea, and peppermint, earl grey, and at least 4 varieties of other herbal teas)

Oh, and I did buy the tin in Lakeland earlier :)

Apr 7, 2012, 1:33pm Top

If it's a hot day (and I really hope it is!) perhaps some sparkling elderflower or something like that might be nice?

I'm ashamed to admit how much I've spent at Lakeland over the years!

Apr 8, 2012, 6:39am Top

Dear Verity - Ali and I eat fat free (for two different reasons) but we are quite happy to bring down a couple of the delicious Mrs Crimble's Apple Cakes (alas not gluten-free) which we love and can eat - and will happily share.

Will that be OK? Cooking fat-free is a royal pain and we are more than happy to do this!

Apr 8, 2012, 9:32am Top

Will there be chocolate?

Apr 8, 2012, 11:28am Top

#78 Dear Lyzzy Bee and Ali - would a tea brack be ok without the butter? I have been meaning to try making one for sometime - it has one egg in it but otherwise no fat:


Could provide butter for the other Virago-ites?

or I can have a go at this one?


Also, will have nice strawberries from the PYO which are by definition fat free :)

#79 What sort of chocolate do you require Mother Urania? Will Miss read's sinful brownies be sufficient? Or should I lay on something else...

Apr 8, 2012, 12:01pm Top

Tea bread is OK, but I am not good with something with full eggs in it, however the date banana and rum loaf looks fab for me. I think there is a dried date as opposed to fresh date issue with Ali but will wait for her to confirm! Strawberries are fine and we can oddly enough have meringues, too - Ali fewer than me. Yum yum. I can make some meringues if you don't want an oven full of air at gas mark half - I make nice COFFEE MERINGUES yum yum or plain ones too ...

Apr 8, 2012, 3:32pm Top

Meringues - Mr W LOVES meringues. They go so well with strawberries... Shall I go for them then if Ali is ok with that? Poor you two having such a complicated restriction - I thought gluten free was bad enough but I don't think it is the worst one!

Apr 9, 2012, 3:57am Top

#81 - Oh, yes please to meringues! I made some yesterday and they're one of my favourite things ever!

#79 - There will be chocolate. Brownies loaded with chocolate. Enough chocolate to sink a ship.

Apr 9, 2012, 5:44am Top

#82 it's a bit of a pain, simply because it's not so well-known - mine is a cholesterol issue, controlled perfectly by my diet and exercise (I worked my level down from 7.1 to 5.1 all by myself, no meds) but because I don't eat much sat fat at all now, if I do, I also feel unwell. It's probably the same as gluten free: fine at home, harder when out. Also of course I don't get an immediate health reaction (apart from feeling uncomfortable) but it's the long-term effect I need to watch out for, which is a bit trickier to explain.

But yes: meringues all the way!

Apr 9, 2012, 11:10am Top

Sinfully chocolate brownies sound lovely. The more sinful the better.

Apr 9, 2012, 1:09pm Top

#85 well, if I provide cream to go with strawberries you could also apply that to the brownies?

Apr 10, 2012, 7:40am Top

I will make something which will probably not be free of anything, I'm afraid (but will be vegetarian, because I am!)

The Nosebag is a brilliant choice for lunch - my favourite lunchy place in Oxford, and has the proper VMC feel. Not to mention a gift/bookshop next door.

Apr 10, 2012, 8:30am Top

Hi Simon and so glad you agree with The Nosebag - it just seemed a VMC place to me as well - not to mention the books next door - I quite often find some greenies on the outside rack .... but we will have to be polite ..... visitors first!

Things are really shaping up - well done everyone :)

Apr 10, 2012, 8:52am Top

Only concern is that Nosebag can get VERY busy on Saturdays - should we see how many people are meeting for lunch (I won't be...) to assess feasibility?

Apr 10, 2012, 9:50am Top

I can bring home-made plum Streusel, which is vegetarian but probably not gluten free (it uses plain flour). I was going to volunteer to bring the sparkling elderflower drink suggested by miss_read, but realised it will probably explode upon opening after travelling from London!

I was planning to meet people for lunch. I'll be coming on the train on Saturday morning. Should I carry a green Virago so you'll know who I am? ;-)

Apr 10, 2012, 11:51am Top

Mrsvjdw all that sounds wonderful - I am happy as Liz says to provide a Mrs Crimble's Dutch apple cake - I also eat crumpets with a little jam and no butter - but the tea bread with no butter sounds lovely. All this is sounding very exciting.

Apr 10, 2012, 1:18pm Top

#90 Haha, everyone should carry a green Virago!

#91 No need to bring anything as you're travelling. Would you be ok with a couple of meringues?

Apr 10, 2012, 2:25pm Top

yes I would thank you : )

Apr 12, 2012, 10:12am Top

I've just discovered the ability to make delicious marshmallows, so I'll bring along a box of those. There's no fat in them, but there is gelatine.

Apr 12, 2012, 10:34am Top

Ooh, hello! I have a marshmallow addiction (Ali, can you have them? I think so) but I haven't ventured into making them yet. Do share the recipe if you are able!

Apr 12, 2012, 12:37pm Top

Oh, lovely, Ygraine! I've always wanted to make marshmallows! Clever you!

Apr 12, 2012, 4:14pm Top

Oh I love marshmallows - I get addicted to them if I have them in the house so I limit them. : )

Apr 13, 2012, 3:46am Top

I propose we institute a "no guilt" rule on the 16th. ;)

Apr 17, 2012, 9:29am Top

All the discussion about cakes and marshmallows makes me feel even more sad to have to say that I won't be able to come after all. My sister-in-law has booked her hen do for that Saturday.

Apr 17, 2012, 12:42pm Top

I won't be there either. My husband has a ticket for an event on the same day and I haven't been able to work out any practical childcare arrangements!

Apr 20, 2012, 10:18pm Top

Sorry to hear that -I hope to see Heather again next month but I was hoping to get to meet you Dee. Still need to sort out a plan for that weekend and I like the opportunity to visit Oxford - my mum's parents lived there so it's good to get back there.

I probably won't get to it this year, but I think a lot of people here would enjoy the St Hilda's Crime and Mystery Conference which usually happens in mid August. Crime writers talking about other crime writers, mostly - which is even more interesting than talking about their own work.

Apr 22, 2012, 11:27am Top

Oh how sad, maybe we can do a video link up?

Apr 24, 2012, 9:37am Top

101 & 102: Yes, I would have loved to have gone and to have met you both. Hopefully next time and I look forward to the pictures!

May 9, 2012, 7:05am Top

Right - I am trying to book Saturday night accommodation for Ali and I. I was going to go for the Travelodge Peartree but it's £80 each plus travel in to Oxford. Can anyone recommend a budget, plain but not hostel accommodation nearer the city centre at all? There's a bewildering array of choices ...


May 9, 2012, 10:10am Top

The Youth Hostel by the station is actually supposed to be pretty ok; individual en suite rooms as far as I understand. I think you'll find that most places will be a bit pricey sadly, especially in the middle of tourist season. Pear Tree has its advantage in that its by the Park and Ride so quicker bus than other bus routes - I can only really think of places which would require a bus ride anyway.

So sorry that we don't have room to put people up; it also looks like we will be leaving at the crack of dawn on the Sunday to go to Devon for the day :-o

May 9, 2012, 2:04pm Top

Hi Liz - sorry - only just seen this. I will PM you with some ideas :)

May 10, 2012, 6:12pm Top

Right - Ali and I are booked in at the Oxford Peartree Travelodge and have train tickets and everything!

May 11, 2012, 6:13am Top

I am sure someone can run you back there after the teaparty if you are not heading straight back to town - it's on the right side of town for where I live.

as an aside, I always used to stay there in its previous incarnation as a Welcome Break service station when I was little; I have stayed once in the travelodge which was the night before I came up to Oxford as a student, approaching 10 years ago! I hope it is nice and comfy.

Edited: May 12, 2012, 10:31am Top

I haven't posted anywhere in practically forever. Goats, gardens, guests, ghosts, and one funeral have kept me busy ... to say nothing of the construction of the new goat barn. Our visiting buck Everest was too willing and we did not have a proper set-up for keeping a buck. Instead of three pregnant does, we have six. The consequences of such rash procreation? Our herd will temporarily double in size during the month of September. I do not wish to go down to the goat barn in September to find carnage and a pathetic note - "because we are too many." So I have put my foot down and demanded a new barn ... my neighbors think we are crazy as our main barn is referred to as the goat Taj Mahal. I shudder to think what will happen while I am gone in June.

I hear there is a two-hour back-up at Heathrow right now. Poor Julie who must pick me up. All of which leads me to my next question. The last time I was out of the country, I was in Canada. No cell phone problem. The last time I was in Europe, I did not own a cell phone, nor was one necessary. But, does anyone know practical arrangements for temporary cell phone service in Great Britain without coming home to a thousand pound phone bill????

I am excited about coming. Robbie has told me I am not tell the security persons that they forgot to check my plastic underwear :-) Security types tend to bring out the flippant in me. This is not good. Right now no one in the US has a sense of humor. In the last three weeks, I have been the recipient of two rabid verbal attacks - each time while I was out with a friend quietly (and I am serious about the quietly part) discussing politics. A waiter refused to serve me in a restaurant because I was reading a book entitled Alien Sex: The Body and Desire in Cinema and Theology. I was alone and quietly perusing it. I was told that such filth was not welcome there. What is next for me? Stoning? I am starting to feel mildly frightened because I do sit on the political left. I need to move to Sweden or Iceland. I really have a hard time keeping a straight face when I hear my neighbors refer to Obama as a communist. Back in the late seventies, his politics would have resembled those of a moderate Republican.

May 12, 2012, 10:29am Top

P.S. I promise not to discuss politics or religion at the Virago tea party. Now literature or goats? I make no promises there.

May 12, 2012, 12:17pm Top

can you bring a goat with you?

May 12, 2012, 12:17pm Top

(Mr W is dreadful at keeping up to date with cutting the grass, I would hope that a goat might help..)

May 12, 2012, 1:13pm Top

I'll happily sit on the left side of the tea party and talk politics with you, urania. ;)

May 12, 2012, 2:21pm Top

I had to laugh Mary. Once, on a trip to GA, husband and I killed all conversation in a Waffle House just by walking in as a black/white couple. The waitress dropped our food from an inch above the table, and everyone smirked and snickered. My husband said, very loudly, 'Don't worry darling, it's just the cast of Deliverance,' at which the short order cook (a white teenage boy) came out from behind his counter, sat with us, and chatted on about how he hated his home town and was desperate to get out of GA and see the real world. On the way back to work he punched Van Morrison's TB Sheets into the juke box. Given that I adore Morrison, I took this as a hugely positive sign that extraordinary people exist everywhere. Nevertheless, the situation was at best disconcerting, at worst quite frightening.

May 12, 2012, 2:30pm Top

Welcome back, Mary. I don't know anything about cell phones in Britain, but I just had a chat with a friend from England who is coming to our son's wedding at the end of May, and he mentioned that British airport security is really on high alert -- especially because of the Olympics. So keep mum and don't carry any metal or liquids (unless they're duty free).

May 13, 2012, 10:20am Top

good advice ..... probably add goats to the list as well.

May 13, 2012, 11:29am Top

I'm sorry to say that I'm not going to be able to make it. I feared I would be prevented by weddings, and this has happened; there is not one on the Saturday, but there is one that I have to take on the Friday at 1pm, after which there are no cheap trains left to travel down to Oxford, and I can't really afford the pricier ticket for just a 24 hour visit (I'd have to travel back on home on Saturday evening). I'm really sorry not to have the chance to meet members of this group - especially those who will have travelled far further than the length of England. I'd have loved to have a chance to talk goats, literature, left-leaning politics, theology or all kinds of things with Mary, for starters. (The book title 'Alien Sex' etc sounds intriguing, and I can't imagine you being refused service in the Nosebag or anywhere else in Oxford because of a title like that, so I think you'll be safe to read what you want in public and engage in whatever conversations you please!).

No idea about the cell/mobile phone options from coming from US to UK. I know that when I took my new mobile abroad to Europe for the first time recently, there were a variety of options with different price levels. I would suggest contacting your service provider to find out what they offer.

May 13, 2012, 4:25pm Top

Mary, I'd love to join a left-leaning conversation with you! We live in a semi-rural area that is very politically conservative and we have found very few like-minded people. So I can relate to your experience.

I also second Genny's recommendation to call your mobile service provider. They can give you the low-down on rates while abroad and certain features you may want to enable before you leave in order to use the phone most cost effectively. I went through this when my daughter took a school trip to France. It wasn't difficult to do, but at first glance the options seemed daunting. It was one of the few times the service provider was actually helpful. :)

May 16, 2012, 10:52am Top

Ok, so for teaparty food we have:

sinful chocolate brownies
Simon T has offered to make a coconut and raspberry concotion
I will make meringues (for the fat-freers which will also be gluten free and dairy but not egg free), shortbread, and a special Virago Tea Party celebration fruit cake (which will be gluten free but not dairy or egg free), as well as get meringues.

I think that sounds like a good spread - probably best not to overdo it - I hosted a tea party 10 days ago and we've only just finished eating the leftovers,during which time I've put on a kilo which isn't great in swimming racing season! Is everyone who's coming ok with at least two of those options?

I will provide tea, coffee, and juice. Does anyone need soya milk?

May 16, 2012, 6:01pm Top

Unfortunately for my ever-expanding waistline, *all* of those options are OK (more than OK!) with me! :)

No soya milk needed for me, but I do need decaf tea or coffee. If that's a problem, I'm happy bringing my own!

May 17, 2012, 5:05am Top

Don't worry, we don't actually drink caffeine either. We only have decaff coffee, although we do have regular tea (mainly for my dad!), we have decaff regular tea, decaff earl grey, peppermint, redbush and strawberry. I trust that will be sufficient oiptions :)

May 18, 2012, 2:59am Top

My (tea)cup will runneth over!

May 19, 2012, 9:11am Top

Oh - I say this all sounding wonderful and so very yummy!
In terms of the day as a whole I propose a gathering together in the morning, a walk around Oxford, a light lunch followed by bus trip out to Verity's home .....
I am more than happy to share my mobile phone number privately if people would like to find us, arrive late .... or get lost etc!!
Verity and I will let you know timings, venues etc very soon.

May 20, 2012, 9:35am Top

Change of plan, think am saving the fruit cake, so intend to make a madeira celebration cake, and some of my famous mincemeat flapjack! (Just saved Mr W from putting mincemeat instead of chutney on his cheese on toast...)

May 21, 2012, 9:46am Top

All this sounds wonderful, I am really looking forward to the day. If people are travelling from London, shall we try and get on the same train? I think there is a fast service from Kings Cross, otherwise slow trains from Liverpool Street. Also, I have a Network Railcard, which gives a 1/3 discount on my ticket and those of up to 3 others travelling with me, which I'll be happy to use. ( We would all have to travel both ways as a group though.)

May 21, 2012, 11:36am Top

Uh? I thought Oxford trains go from Paddington (are you confusing with Cambridge?) - if I make it I will probably get the bus - there are two slightly different routes which both set off from Victoria, various stops along the way which might suit people in West London better, but probably not me as I'm in North East. It's slightly slower than the train but it's easier for me to get to (plus my last few visits to London have been to St Hilda's College and the bus actually passes the college which is between two of its stops).

May 21, 2012, 11:45am Top

Yes, trains are every half hour from Paddington and take an hour - the Oxford Tube goes every 10-15 minutes and takes a minimum of 1.5 hours, usually about an hour and three-quarters. They're about the same price, I think. I always go by train since they 'improved' the coaches, adding a second staircase and thus giving almost no leg room...

May 21, 2012, 12:28pm Top

>126 elkiedee:: Yes, I am thinking of Cambridge. *blushes in embarrassment* Clearly I have not caught up on sleep after my holiday yet . . . Anyway, I'll take the train from Paddington and am happy to meet anyone who'd like to use my railcard.

May 21, 2012, 1:08pm Top

In fact, the train looks to be possibly cheaper - I could book advance return tickets now for £11.50 compared to £16 on the bus. It's just often a pain getting to Paddington.

May 21, 2012, 2:35pm Top

Is anyone else coming through Birmingham? I can check which our train is if people want to meet us there.

Gosh, it's coming up, and between then and now I have 18 days of 8 hours-a-day transcription ... gulp ...

May 22, 2012, 3:44am Top

But something nice to look forward to after all that Lyzzy :)

Simon and I were talking about it at work yesterday, and trying to explain what was happening to another colleague without sounding *too* weird. Well, it's Simon, so he always says weird things anyway :)

May 22, 2012, 5:57am Top

haha! Libel!

May 22, 2012, 10:52am Top

I have not even bothered to explain to friends that I am bopping off to England, staying with Julie whom I only know via LT (I hope you're a serial killer Julie) and meeting a lot of other people whom I know only through LT. Well ... I know a few of you through Facebook. But even if I did explain, none of my friends would think it is any weirder than anything else I do.

May 22, 2012, 11:45am Top

It is indeed something nice to look forward to, and actually although the work is quite physically demanding, it's super-interesting and fun to do, so it's OK. It's just it does tend to take up all my bandwith and thought processes, and loom over my days (e.g. today the gap between files arriving came this morning, not this evening, so I had to mow the lawn myself. I'm not sure what I'll do for dinner when Mr LB is away next week, as he is good at supplying it when I need to typetypetypetty type).

There is also the damned jubilee street party between now and then. More specifically, the damned bunting...

May 22, 2012, 1:53pm Top

Can you get him to make double quanties of dinner this week and freeze the rest?

May 23, 2012, 1:05am Top

This is already multiple quantities of meals, frozen by me and reconstituted by him!! I'm sure I'll manage, anyway - and it keeps me busy and not missing him so much!

May 23, 2012, 2:16am Top

>133 urania1:: She's not a serial killer ... but *I* might be!

I'm not letting myself get excited about our tea party yet because I have a trip to the Hay Festival to look forward to first, and I don't like to rush things! But it is exciting, isn't it!?!!!

Edited: May 23, 2012, 8:20am Top

>137 miss_read:: She's not a serial killer ... but *I* might be! LOL!

I remember the first time I met an LT friend in real life. We were heading to a meetup, and she lived along the route I needed to drive, so we agreed to travel together. I was completely fine with it until I was standing on her doorstep ready to ring the bell and I thought, "what if she's a serial killer?!"

Of course she wasn't. She's a delightful person, one of many fine LTers I've met F2F.

You all are so lucky to have this day together!

May 24, 2012, 5:42pm Top

I thought you all knew I was the serial killer of this group - I have lured Mother Urania into my snare .... and that Miss Read as well ...... heheheh ......

May 25, 2012, 9:33am Top

Hi all!

Julie and I are trying to come up with an itinerary for the day - and I was just wondering if people could confirm from which time they'll be available in Oxford, and what time they need to leave? This is primarily for those people travelling to Oxford on the day, of course.

Obviously we have Verity's party at 3.30 - now we're trying to work out what fun things we can fit either side of it! It will hopefully include a tour of beautiful Magdalen College, where I am a grad student (and, incidentally, where Verity used to work.)

May 25, 2012, 9:44am Top

I have to do whatever Julie does.

Edited: May 25, 2012, 10:06am Top

I'll be coming up for the day and have just checked train times. I could get either the 9.21 which arrives at 10.19 or the 9.50, arriving at 10.48. (Could also arrive later, but then we might be rushed.) Return trains seem to depart at .01 and .31 past the hour; I'd want to leave Oxford by 2100 at the latest (church early next morning). There are some excellent Advance fares available at the moment, so if you come up with a timetable, I'll book my tickets accordingly. Thanks to everyone who is helping plan what should be a lovely day!

May 25, 2012, 11:44am Top

Liz and I are coming by train - I can't remember what time it gets in would need to ask Liz as she booked tickets - think we leave Bham about 8.10 or 8.30 - something like that. So would imagine will be in Oxford sometime after 10.00am Saturday morning. We are leaving on Sunday (staying at the travel lodge) - I think our train is at around 6.00 or 7.00pm.

May 25, 2012, 4:25pm Top

I'm with urania! But I'm coming from Friday-Sunday, so will be available all day on Saturday. Whatever you all want to plan will be wonderful!

May 25, 2012, 6:19pm Top

Ali and I arrive in Oxford at 09.14 from the 08.04 train from Birmingham. We may pop up to the hotel first if that's a bit early for people to be around, and drop off our stuff.

We leave on Sunday at 18.06 but will be meeting a friend of mine in the afternoon, so around up until lunchtime, at a guess.

May 28, 2012, 8:24am Top

I can get an earlier train if most people will be ready to start between 9 & 10 am.

May 29, 2012, 7:53am Top

Apologies - I have had a beastly bug but dear Simon has been great.

Suggesting the following

Meet at 10 am outside Christchurch (Simon we could then walk up by St Mary's, via Bodleian etc .... ) (venue to be finally confirmed and Google mapped
Browse bookshops - (if you *really* want to do so!)

Nosebag lunch at midday on the dot!

Wander over to the Ashmolean plus Oxfam second hand book shop nearby

Bus to Verity's for a 3.30 arrival and wondrous tea

Return to Oxford for college trip to Magdalen (courtesy of a Virago friend) - a fabulous ending to the day.

Would friends like to have a contact number in case of being late, lost etc?

I am happy to share mine but please PM me as I would prefer not to share it publicly!

May 29, 2012, 8:11am Top

That sounds like a wonderful plan. Books, food and fine company - what more could we ask for? (I suppose good weather would be nice!)

If I get a train that arrives at Oxford at 9.48, will that give me enough time to walk to Christchurch by 10? The earlier train is three times the price for some reason, and involves changing en route.

May 29, 2012, 9:11am Top

It's a bit of a trek from the station to Christchurch, I would reckon on it taking 15-20 minutes.

May 29, 2012, 9:31am Top

If most people are coming on the train, or similar, perhaps we should meet at the train station? Not as beautiful as Christchurch... but would save new people getting lost! Also, that would be a better location to take in two bookshops on the (sort of) way to Nosebag...?

Sorry to throw a spanner in the works at the first juncture!

May 29, 2012, 9:33am Top

PS: I am afraid I won't be at the outing in the morning as I will be in Bedford doing a swimming race but I shall be at home and ready to greet you in the afternoon :)

May 29, 2012, 10:23am Top

Simon - good idea - I was too keen to get people taking in the lovely Oxford!
Decision - meet at Oxford station 10 am.
Please PM me if you are definitely coming so we know if we should wait for you or not!

May 29, 2012, 10:24am Top

Verity dear - we understand - it is simply lovely that you will be welcoming us all for tea - thank you so much.

May 29, 2012, 10:26am Top

~ 148 Claire - Thank you for your comment and get the cheaper train! Looking forward to meeting you.

May 29, 2012, 10:28am Top

Great! I see that some people are arriving a little after 10 - we will wait and chat!

My mobile number is 07966494261 in case anyone needs it. (I know one isn't supposed to divulge this information in a public forum, but it's already viewable by everyone on Facebook, so...)

May 29, 2012, 10:31am Top

~ 11 Should we alert Mr rbhardy3rd - just in case he wishes to join us? Mother U - could he sneak into your shoulder bag? Rob - if you read this we would love to have you with us! You will be with us in spirit .... and beer!

May 29, 2012, 10:44am Top

I'll book my train now then. I can't wait to meet you all; I've been so excited about this day that I think my friends and family will be glad when it's over and I stop talking about it!

May 29, 2012, 12:41pm Top

:))) I am sure that you are not the only one Claire!

May 29, 2012, 1:26pm Top

There's less of Rob than there used to be, so he might be able to fit in a bag!

This is all starting to sound SO EXCITING!!! I can't wait!! Books, food, Oxford ... and meeting you all! :)

May 29, 2012, 1:29pm Top

I'm getting excited - that all sounds like a lovely plan. Thank you Julie/Simon/Verity for your organisation and enthusiasm - I for one can't wait.

Edited: May 29, 2012, 5:41pm Top

Marvellous. We will be the ones siting at the station with our books. I wonder if there is a time slot for us to rush up to the hotel to check in - as I would have to pay for a late check-in I think ... it's only a quick dash out on the bus and back. Or I could possibly do it and find you all, as I should know Oxford OK even if I can never remember what the field at the back of CC is called ...

Edited to add - no, I got it wrong! Check in is after 3pm and we have to pay more to check in early. So that's fine!

May 29, 2012, 3:03pm Top

I'm feeling very sorry that I can't come, as I read the proposed itinerary and remember some of my favourite places from my Oxford years - the Bodleian (Duke Humfrey's Library especially) and the Oxfam bookshop (which was right next door to my college St Cross, and thus a regular haunt).

I do hope you all have a great meet up.

May 29, 2012, 5:07pm Top

~159 - now, there's a thought!
~160 - our pleasure!
~161 - Liz - it may be a good idea - up to you. We will recognise each other! DOn't forget your largs bag of green Elizabeth Taylors!!
~162 Genny - I for one was so hoping you would be able to come. You will be with us in spirit.

Thank you all for your kind words of thanks ...

May 30, 2012, 3:59am Top

I know Bunnyb/Claire is still planning to come, she's in the US at the moment but asked me to remind her to buy tickets when she gets back.

May 30, 2012, 5:43am Top

Not wishing to introduce a sad subject, but do we have an idea what time things will wind down on Saturday? I'd like an idea of when to plan to head back to London. Advance train tickets make it annoyingly difficult to be flexible!

May 30, 2012, 5:48am Top

Good question - I don't really know how long Verity's tea party is? And then the tour around Magdalen is optional, of course, so you could make good your escape then...

May 30, 2012, 7:11am Top

I think a couple of hours for the tea party? Maybe until 5 or 5.30?

May 30, 2012, 11:14am Top

#163 - I'm sorry especially to miss the chance to meet you, Juliette, since you were my Secret Santa!

May 30, 2012, 5:44pm Top

~168 I know but I have a consolation in that I will be meeting an SS who got her other half to deliver my gift to my very front door!!! Maybe another time will be possible - I do hope so!

Thansk Simon and Verity for that answer!

May 31, 2012, 4:02am Top

You might even get to meet Santa too Julie :-) He is biking back from my swimming race, so not sure if he will be back in time to have a shower. He's under strict instructions to stay out if not.

May 31, 2012, 4:57am Top

Thank you all for the answers to my question. I'd like to join the college tour, so will book a later train.

May 31, 2012, 8:33am Top

Btw, I have VMCs The Love Child by Edith Olivier and Celia by E.H. Young going spare - claim them now if you're coming to the Oxford day, and I will pass them on!

May 31, 2012, 1:35pm Top

Oh Simon - thank you for the offer. Please may I request The Love Child?

May 31, 2012, 1:36pm Top

Good news Claire!

May 31, 2012, 3:01pm Top

ooh Simon I would love Celia if it's still available.

May 31, 2012, 7:34pm Top

Done and done, Julie and Ali!

Jun 1, 2012, 5:01am Top

I too have some duplicates to bring. They are:

The love child
Ordinary families
Tortoise by candlelight
Novel on yellow paper
The holiday
The Brontes went to Woolworths
The play room
The diviners

All are original greens except The Diviners, which is the bright green spine edition. Speak now if you'd like any of them.

Edited: Jun 1, 2012, 5:33am Top

May I please have Ordinary Families if nobody else has snagged it first? I'm afraid I don't have any duplicates to bring ... although I'm off to Hay-on-Wye in a couple of hours, so you never know what I might find! ;)

Jun 1, 2012, 5:54am Top

>178 miss_read:: It's yours! Have a wonderful time in Hay; I am very envious (although my bank account could probably not stand the strain!).

Jun 1, 2012, 7:51am Top

May I put my name down for The Holiday, please, as I had a copy but somehow no longer do (not that I'm careless, I must have lent it out!)

Edited: Jun 1, 2012, 8:56am Top

Oh, this is a weird request, but can I please have The Tortoise and the Hare? (My copy got left in a waiting room never to be seen again!). If you could give it to Ali or Liz and if they could just keep it until I get back to Stratford, I would be most grateful!


PS. Liz or Ali, only if that is all right with you!

Jun 1, 2012, 9:24am Top

Fine by me and I'm sure Ali too. We each have a copy, I believe (well, Ali gave me mine) so that's just fine!

Jun 1, 2012, 9:29am Top

>180 LyzzyBee:: The holiday is yours!

>181 Liz1564:: I'm offering Tortoise by candlelight, the Nina Bawden, not The tortoise and the hare. The former is yours if you want it and Liz/Ali are happy to booksit it for you. If you did mean the Jenkins, then I'm sorry but I want to keep my copy! How many novels are there with "Tortoise" in the title? More than I thought, anyway!

Jun 1, 2012, 10:26am Top

Nina Bawden is great and I recommend that one!

Jun 1, 2012, 1:22pm Top

Oo, The Diviners, please! I do like Margaret Laurence.

Jun 1, 2012, 5:09pm Top

How wonderfully generous - thank you everyone!

Jun 1, 2012, 5:41pm Top

Oops! My mistake! I have that one already!. But thank you and Liz and Ali for the willingness to accommodate me!


Jun 2, 2012, 3:29am Top

Simon, I'll put your name on The diviners.

Elaine, I hope you are able to find a copy of The tortoise and hare soon!

Jun 4, 2012, 3:41pm Top

I only came home from Hay with one duplicate VMC I'm afraid, but it's up for grabs for anyone who wants it when we're in Oxford: Our Spoons Came from Woolworths. If there are no takers, I'll post it on the Duplicates thread. :)

Jun 5, 2012, 2:33am Top

I would like it Helen - however I have already put my hand up for a book from Simon. So if anyone else would like - let them have it please : )

Jun 5, 2012, 1:57pm Top

Liz and I got togther today and inevitably started talking about this event as we are both looking forward to it. Remembering the proposed plan for the day - we both realised we had no idea what a nosebag lunch was. We decided it must be a packed lunch - we felt rather stupid - but thought ok we can make a lunch and bring - what a sensible idea. To make sure however I just googled "what is a nosebag lunch" and there is a restaurant in Oxford called The Nosebag - ah! So can someone clarify - as we are obviously really far too dim to attend this event : ) - should we make sandwiches and bring? - or are we going to a place called The Nosebag - either is fine by us.

Jun 5, 2012, 2:14pm Top

Just popping my head up out of my conference transcription to say that we are obviously too dim to be allowed to attend in full, and will of course be happy with a walled-off bit of Verity's garden and a few meringues tossed over the wall ...

Jun 5, 2012, 4:09pm Top

Dear Liz
Yes, the Nosebag is the venue for lunch and you don't need to bring anything to eat. We will need to be there at midday as it is very popular. They have lovely salads, veggie options, hot dishes etc. Also if we eat early(ish) we will all be ready for tea at Verity's!!

Any more questions please ask away and so very sorry for not being clear.

Jun 5, 2012, 4:12pm Top

Here is a link for our lunch time venue - http://www.nosebagoxford.co.uk/

Jun 5, 2012, 4:55pm Top

191 & 192 - You gave me a good giggle! And we'll still toss meringues at you if you'd both like it!

Ali - the book is yours!

Jun 5, 2012, 6:09pm Top

thank you Helen :-)

Jun 7, 2012, 3:45pm Top

191, 192 - haha, brilliant! Although I love the term 'nosebag lunch' for packed lunch.

I have another spare VMC going - A Compass Error by Sybille Bedford. I bought a copy recently, and then Daunt Books sent me their reprint. So a lovely green spine going to anyone attending the day...

Jun 8, 2012, 1:13pm Top

If nobody attending wants A Compass Error, I'll open it up to the wider group...

Jun 8, 2012, 2:00pm Top

I look forward to seeing everyone although I am a little sadder. I lost all but two of my goats this week to enterotoxemia, which they got from breaking into the feed room and overeating. I feel heart sore at the moment.

Jun 8, 2012, 2:59pm Top

Oh Mary, my heart goes out to you, that is too, too sad. It just seems unfair for overeating to have that outcome!

Jun 8, 2012, 4:35pm Top

Oh no! so sorry : ( that is so sad. We are all looking forward to meeting you though.

Jun 8, 2012, 5:05pm Top

A warm welcome and a sharing of the joys of hope and friendship will await all xxx

Jun 8, 2012, 5:17pm Top

Oh no Mary :( Such lovely little goats
I've been using a pic of Gabrielle (I think) in my rotating screensaver pics.

Jun 9, 2012, 4:48am Top

I'm so sorry to hear the sad news about your goats, Mary. I hope the two survivors will be back to their usual bouncy selves very soon. And I very much look forward to seeing you on the 16th.

Jun 9, 2012, 5:33am Top

Thank you. As Julie knows, I had almost decided not to come for fear I would be a sorrowfully sodden wet blanket at the party.

>200 Soupdragon: soupdragon - yes it is sad to think that overeating kills little goats but think how much better off we would all be if we had the threat of immediate death hanging over our heads. Alas, my pretty ones had no way of knowing. They were merely being joyful. The ending was too painful for words. I am not sure I will ever completely recover.

Jun 9, 2012, 5:34am Top

However ...

Jun 9, 2012, 5:34am Top

In which Miss Coco Chanel arrives and finds her accommodations not to her liking

"I thought there would be interiors by Fortuny," said Miss Chanel when questioned by reporters.

"She smells," huffed Linnea and Gabrielle, survivors of the Great Enterotoxemia Plague.

"At least I do not overeat," retorted Miss Chanel.

Edited: Jun 9, 2012, 5:40am Top

That's awful about the goats, Mary. For such joyful excess to be followed by such an end. The ill effects for humans of over-eating are not so immediate, though as you say perhaps we'd be better of and healthier if the danger was more immediate and final. Although I'll not be there to meet you, I'm glad you are still going ahead with the trip, and hope that the meeting up with LT friends will bring a little comfort at this sad time.

Edited to add:
Ooh, cross-posted with the new arrival! Miss Chanel looks beautiful. I hope she comes to terms with her accommodations soon!

Jun 9, 2012, 5:42am Top

Miss Coco Chanel yells. I can hear her where I am currently investigating a most interesting virus on a small unnamed island in the South Pacific.

Jun 9, 2012, 6:22am Top

I'm very sorry to hear about your goats Mary.

Jun 9, 2012, 7:33am Top

I'm so sorry about the goatlings, Mary, but I am very glad you're still coming. xxx

Jun 9, 2012, 11:45am Top

Oh what sad news, I am so glad you are still coming however.

I have just been having a clear out of (non virago books) which no longer quite have a place in my home library. They are destined for Oxfam but I thought my guests next weekend might like first dibs. Mix of things.

I also have a cake in the oven, madeira, which will be decorated hopefully in Virago theme :-)

Jun 9, 2012, 5:41pm Top

Oh Mary, I'm so sorry to hear about your goats. I am glad you're still coming - you know we're a nice and comforting bunch and it will be good to get away from the sadness and to a new place for a little trip. Take care coming over and we'll see you soon x

Jun 10, 2012, 9:50am Top

What a very elegant goat, Miss Chanel is!

I hope you all have a wonderful time. I am slightly jealous but also rather warmed by the thought of all you lovely people meeting together with your nosebags at The Nosebag in Oxford!

Jun 11, 2012, 6:20am Top

Oh Dee - too funny for words :)

Miss Coco Chanel does look mildly miffed with regards to her accommodations. Maybe a small European gift may abate her concerns.....

Looking forward to meeting everyone 10 am Oxford railway station on Saturday - bring brollies!!

Jun 11, 2012, 6:47am Top

I have made meringues this morning! And the cake is nearly decorated. Not sure if the shortbread will happen as I am more tired than expected after yesterday's triathlon. I hate being tired as like to convince myself that I am superwoman, but just cannot face making lots of little biscuits today. Maybe there will be a chance later in the week...

Edited: Jun 11, 2012, 11:24am Top

Sounds like full steam ahead in the kitchen - wonderful Verity and thank you ! Take care of yourself and don't overdo it.

Jun 11, 2012, 9:42am Top

Day off today, back to work tomorrow. Husband told me to skip today's swim so I did make some shortbread - well, it's baking in the oven!! Just some flapjack to go on my morning off on Thursday, oh and a good hoover. I've lost track of numbers, can someone give me a figure please so that I can sort out appropriate seating and plates?

Jun 11, 2012, 12:54pm Top

OK folks - we need to make a register of definite attendees. Please, please let me know if I have inadvertently left you off this list .....


Oh and of course mrvjdw aka for me as Santa!

So, at risk of being a school m'aam the day is looking like this but has flexibility ...apart from lunch and tea :)

Meet at 10 am at Oxford train station

Browse bookshops - (if you *really* want to do so!) and sight see

Nosebag lunch at midday on the dot!

Wander over to the Ashmolean plus Oxfam second hand book shop nearby

Bus to Verity's for a 3.30 arrival and wondrous tea

Return to Oxford for college trip to Magdalen (courtesy of a Virago friend) - a fabulous ending to the day

Farewells or should we say au revoir ....

Is there anything I have forgotten - anything additional we would like - please let me know.

Jun 11, 2012, 1:29pm Top

Or "au reservoir" (for any other Lucia fans)?

I love the sound of that plan but then I've always been a sucker for a good schedule. ;)

I'll be making my sinful brownies on Thursday before hopping on the train on Friday morning!

Jun 11, 2012, 1:47pm Top

Brilliant Helen! I have warned Mary .... who is arriving tomorrow ... just hope the Ark stays still long enough for the plane to land!

Jun 12, 2012, 2:55am Top

Just PM ing all those who expressed interest in coming along on Saturday.

Jun 13, 2012, 2:31am Top

Thanks for the PM, Julie.

Are people still going to be around on Sunday? Ali and I are staying at the Pear Tree, as we know (and if anyone's driving that way at the end of the Saturday ... ) and meeting an old University friend of mine on Sunday afternoon, but free for the morning / lunch if anyone fancies doing anything?

Jun 13, 2012, 4:01am Top

I have an early-ish (10-something) train on Sunday morning, otherwise I'd have loved to!

Jun 14, 2012, 5:48am Top

Afraid I'll be doing a swim session on Sunday morning.

Getting excited now - all the baking is done and the house is clean and tidy, but will probably have to be retidied at the crack of dawn on Sat before I go to Bedford for my swim!

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