The view from my window into one of the courtyards of the school I was staying at.
Briefly- the reason I went to Oakham
was for a one week summer school with The Tallis Scholars, a world-renowned choir specialising in music of the Renaissance. Here are my impressions of the town and some of my experiences there!
I kept a journal throughout my trip so these are excerpts.
Arriving in Oakham:
I arrived in oakham today after a long, gruelling day of
travel. I caught the 23:35 flight from Halifax, Nova Scotia, to London and
arrived in Oakham around 13:30 today.
The flight was alright but I only got about 45 mins of sleep.
I arrived in Oakham by a combination of tube and train
I wandered around Oakham for a while trying to follow my map, but, as
is the case with many old cities the streets are hardly ever straight and it
took me a while to get my bearings. I was trying to get to the local private
school because I was supposed to be met at the chapel- Eventually I found the
walls concealing the school grounds but ended up walking back and forth in
front along the street because I couldn’t see the entrance. After a couple of
laps an elderly couple walking by me asked “Are you lost, duck?” . Needless to
say, they pointed out the rather obvious wrought iron entrance only about 10
metres from where I’d been pacing and off I went.
It’s early Saturday morning and I’m sitting in a lovely tea
shop enjoying a cup of tea.
In front of the school gates.
I must admit that despite my personal enjoyment of
the beverage myself, the English obsession with tea has always eluded me. As
I’ve said, I enjoy it but I’m never understood the habit of seeking it out
several times a day- until now. I woke up this morning to one of those
quintessential damp British days- the temperature was warm by the dampness
demanded a jacket and all I could think of to push the damp away was a pot of
tea. Driven by this I donned my coat and took to the street in search of a tea
chop. I passed a market just opening up but instead of stopping to peruse it as
I usually would have dome, I continued on in my quest of tea. I walked along
the cobblestones glancing at the stores still in the process of opening and
trying to remember what directions the cars were coming from. After about 5
minutes I reached a shop that is awe yesterday and decided to stop here for
Oakham is a typical English market town in Rutland, England.
The houses are mostly built of local stone and there are a number of
thatched-roof cottages. Gardens and flowers are everywhere- most of the houses
have good-sized gardens that are well taken care of and now in full bloom and
there are beautiful hanging pots outside every store. The streets here are
typical of any old city or town- they twist and curve and may runt any
direction. Because of this it is very easy to get disoriented- so, yesterday I
went out walking without my map and got lost deliberately. I wandered around
for almost 2 hours and now know the town quite well. The highlight was probably
the cat that I met. She was a beautiful calico with a bit of a weight problem
sitting in front of a covered walkway leading to someone’s garden. I wanted to get a picture of her sitting in
front of the entrance but made the mistake of introducing myself to her first.
Thereafter, despite my clear explanations that I wanted a picture of her in
front of the entrance, every time I knelt down to take the picture she came
trotting to me. Eventually I got a picture...of her rolling on the pavement in
front of the door- which I suppose portrays her personality more honestly than
one of her sitting still and aloof!