Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Oxford

last weekend we visited our granddaughter. It is hard to believe that she is already half way through her degree
On looking up I spotted one of Anthony Gormley's cast iron men. There are some on Crosby beach north of Liverpool, Cuxhaven Germany, De Panne Belgium, and in an olive grove in Catanzaro Italy, I have also seen several scattered around Stavanger Norway - they appear to be springing up in the most unlikely places.
We walked past the ancient university walls until we came upon the entrance to her college
The colleges distinctive neo-gothic red, white and black brick buildings designed by William Butterfield 
Senior Common Room
Dining Hall
Library - top 4 images wikipedia
We clambered up the well worn stone stairway to her room
There was a happy group of us - her parents, brother, sister, and boyfriend. We love the fact that she is so obviously enjoying herself as well as working hard.
We all went off to have lunch together at an Italian Restaurant, returning later to her room for tea and cake, before going our separate ways, and leaving her to her studies.
Wandering off we decided that the day was far too cold to hang around 
The warm sunny days at the beginning of the week had given way to a wind that felt distinctly Siberian
As we turned a corner who should we bump into but Imran Khan, surrounded by several smart male associates on his way to address the Oxford Union. A handsome and dashing looking 61 year old, who, according to the weekend papers seems destined to be the next Prime Minister of Pakistan.

70 comments:

  1. I'd love to visit Oxford some day. It reminds me of chief inspector Morse!

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    1. It is hardly surprising, I suppose, that so many TV programmes and films have been shot in Oxford with its beautiful architecture, lovely parks and ambience.
      Apart from Chief Inspector Morse, a substantial amount of Harry Potter and the Golden Compass were shot there too, as was Shadowlands, Brideshead Revisited and The Madness of King George.

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  2. Strange cast iron man. I've never encountered one. I think you have a stalker Rosemary;-)
    Oxford looks so dictinctive and those college buildings just bring you back in time. Imagine how many students must have walked those stairs....
    The weather? One big tristesse over here, grey, cold, wet, brrrr, not my kinda weather at all.
    Bye,
    Marian

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    1. Yes, I think perhaps you could be right, I must keep checking over my shoulder!!!.
      The university was founded in 1096, but the college that my granddaughter goes to was established in 1870. However, it is a salutary thought to think of all those young people that have climbed those stairs.

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  3. Hello Rosemary, You must be very proud of your granddaughter, and as well it must be nice to have an inside introduction to Oxford.

    I enjoyed seeing all the color in these photos, both exterior and interior. I am used to seeing British universities in old black and white (or sepia) photos, and your pictures really seem to make the spaces come alive.
    --Road to Parnassus

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    1. Hello Jim - next time we go and see her, hopefully, the weather will be more favourable and then I can take some better shots of the buildings. Last weekend was just too cold, and we were keen to return home to the warmth. Having said that, granddaughter's room was like an oven - I dread to think what the university energy bill is like.

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  4. How fabulous your granddaughter is a student at such a wonderful uni., and that you were able to visit and capture great pics. Love the first one of the shop window, the umbrellas make it!

    Hope you can return in the warmth of a Spring day soon, know it will all look even lovelier.
    Good luck to her with her studies - know your family must be proud of her accomplishments so far, and I bet she will go far in life with an Oxford degree!

    Hugs - Mary

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    1. Dear Mary we shall be returning next term to celebrate her birthday, so hopefully we will be blessed with a lovely day.
      I have never climbed to the top of the Saxon tower which is supposed to give wonderful view of all the "dreaming spires" so if it is fine that is on my agenda. We never stay with her too long as she has a very heavy work load as you can probably imagine.

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  5. What a gorgeous university! I love all of the architecture. Too bad about the weather. I don't think I've heard about the cast iron men before. Interesting that they are showing up in so many places. Are they permanent structures or are they moved around?

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    1. Dear Marie - the men are designed by Anthony Gormley, a contemporary British sculptor. The ones in Stavanger, Norway were commissioned by the town and are a permanent feature entitled Broken Column. Apparently the one in Oxford sits aloft Exeter College and is called Another Time. The ones on the beach at Crosby were intended to be temporary but are now permanent and they are called Another Place. They are interesting because they change all the time depending on the tides, sometimes totally visible but other times up to their necks in sea water. The figures vary slightly with arm placement etc.

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  6. To be honnest, I'm jealous of your granddaughter...If I only could relive this age ...I've visited Oxford, 10 years ago but I remember well how beautiful town is ,with all those young people, ful of ernergy ! Oh Rosemary, thank you for getting me there!

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    1. Dear Olympia - I agree with you, she is very fortunate to be having such a wonderful experience at the beginning of her young adult life. There is a buzz surrounding Oxford, and so many opportunities to get involved with, plus she is making some great new friendships.

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  7. These are lovely pictures. It does look very cold there, though! I especially like the shot of the door to her college and the stairway.

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    1. It was cold, the wind was penetrating through our clothing.
      I think it would be possible to do a post literally on the entrance doors to all of the colleges. They all have these wonderful old enclosed doors which you step through and then all of the facilities are completely enclosed within walls. It is like being in a small village - each college having it's own chapel, library, dining hall, study cum bedrooms, kitchens etc.

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  8. Dear Rosemary,
    What wonderful pictures of beautiful Oxford! You must be so proud of your granddaughter-- and I'm sure she is proud to have such a wonderful grandmother! We haven't been to Oxford in a few years: the excitement last time around was that they were filming Harry Potter in the Bodleian... According to the 20 or so teenaged girls clinging to the railing, Daniel and Emma were about to emerge...We joined them for a bit, then tried to casually enter the library to "read', and were politely turned away by the third set of guards... It seems something exciting is always happening there! What fun it must have been to discover the Gormley-- isn't it wonderful to have such an unexpected aesthetic treat?! Thank you for another wonderful post.
    Warm regards,
    Erika

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    1. Dear Erika - I think that it would easily be possible to spend a week in Oxford and not do and see everything. I noticed at the Tourist Office that there are 24 tours that you can take including Pottering in Harry's Footsteps, and one that you would enjoy, William Morris & Victorian Oxford Tour.
      The weather was not suitable for hanging around taking photos but we shall return at the beginning of May granddaughter's birthday and hopefully be able to spend more time.

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  9. Never saw the university insade. A wonderful place Rosemary. I hope you had a great time with your granddaughter and the rest of the family. You can be a proud grandmother.
    Have a wonderful evening.

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    1. Dear Marijke - her college is lovely inside and full of treasures. This is just one of the colleges that makes up the whole university. There are 37 other colleges, all of them completely individual and each having their own distinctive architectural features.

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  10. Wonderful, wonderful!Oxford is a wonderful town! The cast iron men stood at Solastrand (Sola beach), looking out to the sea, some of them nearly sanded over. Unfortunately, this was not a permanent installation, so I am also very happy when I see them scattered around Stavanger.

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    1. Yes, I think that Oxford offers something for everyone.
      I didn't realise that the cast iron men had been on the beach first of all. That must be similar to the installation at Crosby beach near Liverpool. That was a temporary installation but it proved so popular that it is staying. Sometimes, depending on the tides they are up to their necks in sea water other times the sea is a long distance away and they are isolated on the beach.
      There are quite a lot of them in Stavanger, I am not sure how many though.

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    2. Nor am I. I love them, that is for sure...

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  11. I really enjoyed this tour of Oxford , beautiful photos and so interesting to see the inside of the university .

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    1. Dear Jane - hopefully next time I visit it will be warmer and I can take a better selection of photos. The inside photos represent just one college where my granddaughter is studying. There are 37 other colleges that make up the whole university. Thank you for your visit.

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  12. What a priveledge to attend such a college.

    Greetings,
    Filip

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    1. She loves her life there, and appreciates it very much.

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  13. Dear Rosemary,

    Congratulations to your granddaughter on her progress! I would love to someday visit Oxford and breathe in that wonderful atmosphere and the energy of so much history.

    I wonder whether the dining hall of this posting is the same one that has windows that inspired a one I made for myself? My Oxford window knock-off is in this posting:

    http://allthingsruffnerian.blogspot.com/search/label/flashed%20glass

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    1. Dear Mark - the windows at Keble do seem to bear some resemblance to the one you made, and unlike most of the other colleges Keble is Victorian. There are 38 colleges in all and each have a vaulted dining hall with stain glass so it is difficult to be sure which college influenced you.
      The only shots of any of the dining hall windows I could find are below.
      http://silverlinings4me.blogspot.co.uk/2010_07_01_archive.html
      http://inaam-oxford.blogspot.co.uk/2008/05/high-dinner-at-keble-college.html

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    2. Oh my goodness! I didn't realize there were that many dining halls, and as I have now done my own Google search, I see that they're all grand. The windows that inspired me were featured in a National Geographic article, probably 30 years ago. Thanks for for looking . . .

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    3. You will just have to visit Oxford, Mark, and go to all of the colleges to find out which one influenced you. I do not think most people understand that Oxford and Cambridge have a collegiate system. Each of the 38 colleges are independent and self-governing. It is at the heart of the university's success, giving students and academics the benefits of belonging to both a large, internationally renowned institution and also to a smaller, interdisciplinary, academic college community. Each of the 38 colleges has extensive library and IT provision, accommodation, welfare, sports and social events. Because there are relatively small numbers of students at each college it allows for very close and supportive personal attention to be given to them. Although my granddaughter does attend University lectures, she also receives a great deal of one to one tutoring from top academics within her college.

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  14. Oh Rosemary, Oxford how wonderful for your granddaughter to be there and I wish her good luck with her studies. Your photos are stunning and I just adore the architecture.
    Patricia x

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    1. She is a fortunate girl Patricia, but very happy and loving her time there. We really enjoy seeing her brimming over with enthusiasm - we leave her and feel full of the joys of spring ourselves, even if it isn't here yet.

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  15. Hello Rosemary!
    I visited Oxford and one of the colleges many years ago and I liked it so much!!!
    Thank you for bringing back such a nice memory!
    Good luck to your granddaughter!

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    1. Hello Marie-Anne - it is lovely that this post was able to bring back good times of your visit to Oxford many years ago. It is nice to be reminded of things past and revisit the memories - thank you for your lovely comment.

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  16. I would love to visit Oxford one day. It looks so beautiful and historical. Looked like a fun visit with your family on a lovely weekend.

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    1. Next time I visit, hopefully, Oxford will be wearing her spring dress and it will be warmer. The university is over 900 years old and steeped in history, it is no wonder that it has been the background to so many writers books.

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  17. Oxford is beautiful. It is wonderful that your granddaughter is there.

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    1. Dear Olive - I have been thinking about you lots - she is a very fortunate young lady to have this wonderful opportunity.

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  18. Rosemary, you must be so proud of your grand-daughter, in such a prestigious uni as Oxford. It was great to see inside the wonderful old buildings, and imagine how it must feel to be a student there - magical, I suspect. We spent a few hours there in 2004 and I have never forgotten our walk around, and lunch in a very ancient pub. It was like becoming part of history! Thank you for sharing it all.

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    1. Dear Patricia - the college she is in keeps up their traditions of formal dinning every evening with gowns worn. Of course the students chose whether to attend or not - and it doesn't come free, but you can imagine how lovely it is to be able to eat in that magnificent room.
      Because the university is over 900 years old, the history is tangible, but she is finding her time there going far too fast.

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  19. Beautiful pictures! My daughter is in University in Canada and she and three of her friends will be coming to visit us in May (I can't wait!!) They all want to go to Oxford to walk around and see it's beauty having only seen pictures. Hopefully she will have her "spring dress" on then. Thank you for sharing your photos of the gorgeous buildings.

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    1. Dear Gina - I am pleased to meet you and welcome.
      It will be lovely to have your daughter over from Canada. In May, hopefully, it will be a lovely month and the blossom will be adorning the trees.
      I am glad you enjoyed seeing the photos, I shall be returning to Oxford at the beginning of May when hopefully the weather will be more conducive to photography.

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  20. How time passes so quickly Rosemary.
    I remember you going with your grandaughter when she started at Oxford.. (that is if its the same grandaughter)
    What an honor to study at Oxford.
    The old buildings and traditions still being upheld. What a great senior lounge and entertaining area.
    I wish her well with the remainder of her studies.. Is she following in her grandmother's footsteps! Her friendships made there, will be for life.
    Very strange to see bronze statue on top of a roof. Unique I must say.
    Imran Khan.. I too think he is a possible candidate for Pakistan's prime minister.. He is very handsome .. I wonder if he was educated at Oxford!
    great photos.
    The siberian cold is hitting us here Rosemary.. I have just lit the woodburner. Its so cold. The sun is shining but its not warm.
    So pleased you had a wonderful day with your family and your visit to Oxford.

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    1. Dear Val - I cannot believe how the time is passing so quickly myself and neither can she - it doesn't seem any time at all since we were awaiting her results. She is the only granddaughter at university at the moment, the others are all younger.
      Imran Khan studied at the same Oxford college as my granddaughter, and he is an honorary fellow of her college.
      Hopefully better photos when I visit her again in the late spring.

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  21. Dear Rosemary,
    What lovely photos! Its funny but I have never been to Oxford. When it came to Universities both sides of my family were died in the wool Cambridge men (and women) although these days family members (including myself) have attend all different ones.
    I do love that senior commons room. My university commons room was no where near as lovely...
    Bye for now
    Kirk

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    1. Dear Kirk - she visited Cambridge too, but decided that the course she wanted to do appealed more to her at Oxford - we are pleased as it is an easy trek for us to get to Oxford.
      The facilities in all of the colleges are really quite grand. She has had lovely rooms for both of her years there.

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  22. Dear Rosemary, Your photographs always have the feeling of almost being there. How wonderful that your grandaughter will have this once-in-a-lifetime experience which will serve her well in whatever she decides to do. ox, Gina

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    1. Hello Gina - she is a very fortunate young lady, but equally she is really making the most of the opportunity and is very happy there.
      We love going to see her, treating her to lunch, and hearing and sharing in all of her news.
      On our next visit I hope to climb the Saxon tower and get some photos of the wonderful Oxford spires.

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  23. You've given me Hogwarts shivers of delight with your 7th and 8th photos as well as the use of the term "common room." Can you tell I am a fool for Harry Potter? Wonderful photos Rosemary, love the quintessential red phone booth as well as the exterior of your granddaughter's college.

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    1. Dear Rosemary - I should explain that my granddaughter's college was not the dinning hall used for Hogwarts. These pictures are of Keble and Christ Church college was the one used in the film. There are 38 colleges making up the collegiate system at Oxford, and each of them have wonderful dinning halls, libraries etc.
      Next time I visit it should be warmer, and hopefully I will get some better photos - it was so cold last weekend.

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  24. Hello Rosemary,
    Congratulations to your grandaughter ! Being a graduate in Oxford, that's wonderful...I've always wanted to know what it must feel like being seated in the dining room :-)
    Thank you very much for your visit on my blog and following too..i'm following you back :-)
    Greetings from a sunny but cold Andalucia
    Lala

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    1. Dear Lala - I am so happy to welcome you and say hello.
      I am sure that the first time the students eat in the dining room it must feel rather grand. When taking dinner in the evenings they have to wear their gowns, so it is quite a formal affair.
      I hope that it warms up in Spain soon, I shall be travelling there shortly. The whole of Europe seems to be cold at the moment, I see that they even have snow in Milan.

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  25. What a lovely visit to your grand daughter. She lives in such stunning surroundings it puts my children's Uni's in a completely different league!
    Sarah x

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    1. Dear Sarah - I do understand what you are saying as the surroundings are very exceptional. She does realise how fortunate she is, especially as she made it there through the state system.

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  26. How wonderful you've had the opportunity to visit her, all together!
    It's a hard time, university, but probably the best in our lives...

    Oxford is wonderful! Love the photos from inside Especially the one with the worn stairway.

    Never seen the iron men by Gormley before ( I MUST visit Stavanger!)

    lots of love from sunny east Norway : )

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    1. Dear Demie - glad you have got the sun it does everyone a tonic to have sunshine and blue skies.
      Granddaughter is really happy, the only trouble is that the time is passing too quickly for her.
      Take care.

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  27. Dear Rosemary,Oxford is a wonderful place to visit!!And very famous too!Beautiful pictures!I would love to visit Oxford one day. It looks so beautiful and historical!
    Thank you for sharing!Hope you have a lovely evening!
    Dimi..

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    1. Dear Dimi - hopefully you will have the opportunity to visit at sometime in the future. I think that you would enjoy a trip there.
      Hope you are enjoying lovely spring weather.

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  28. Keble is just across the University Parks from my old college, LMH, Rosemary and I had several good friends there. In fact my middle sister has been married to one of them for almost 40 years. :-) Many thanks for these lovely photos of a city very close to my heart.

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    1. Next time I go Perpetua, if I have time, I will try and get a photo of LMH just for you. It was far too cold last weekend to wander around for too long.

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    2. That would be great, Rosemary. LMH has been doing a lot of building recently, so is much changed from the place I knew and loved back in the 60s.

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  29. what a beautiful school!! she is very lucky!

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    1. Dear Annabel - there are 38 colleges making up Oxford university and each of have them have their own individual charm.

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  30. That sure is a lovely dinning room, & image the silence when mouths are full :)

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    1. It is a beautiful room which looks particularly lovely at night time when the lamps are lit.

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  31. Lovely ! You went there ,you saw your granddaughet and spent wonderful family times This place is beautiful and she is very lucky that she studies there !I wish to her these years will be the best years of her life !
    Have a nice month !
    Olympia

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    1. Dear Olympia - Oxford is a lovely city, and our granddaughter is very happy there - working hard, but having lots of interesting times too.

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  32. My two daughters both went to Oxford and my older daughter still lives there ten years on. I have come to know it quite well now and I like it very much. It is one of those places I feel I could live in. I like the balance of ancient and living modern sometimes rather scruffy town. It is a real place. Love your photos!

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    1. Oxford has a vibrancy about it and always feels as if lots of things are happening. It is interesting that one of your daughters decided to settle and make her life in Oxford, I think that it gets under the skin for many students. The big drawback being that it is such an expensive place to buy a property.
      Glad you enjoyed the photos - next time I shall hope for better, it was too cold the other weekend.

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  33. Oh my…your photos breathe such tradition and knowledge, a true pleasure to “visit” I have just recently ear-marked my navy blue Oxford sweatshirt to my “milking” clothes. I will soon have to order another one :)

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    1. Time for you must be at a premium at the moment with so much new life happening on the farm.

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“You can't stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you - you have to go to them too.”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh