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150 Years of Alice

150 Years of Alice
  4th July 2012 marked the 150th anniversary of the river picnic taken by Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) and Alice Liddell (the "real" Alice), on which the story of Alice's Adventures was told for the first time.

"Anon, to sudden silence won,
In fancy they pursue
The dream-child moving through a land
Of wonders wild and new,
In friendly chat with bird or beast -
And half believe it true ...

... Thus grew the tale of Wonderland:
Thus slowly, one by one,
Its quaint events were hammered out -
And now the tale is done,
And home we steer, a merry crew,
Beneath the setting sun."

Anniversary Voyage to Godstow


The River Thames between Oxford and Godstow Christ Church college   On 4th July 1862, Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) took Alice, Lorina and Edith Liddell on a river trip to Port Meadow near Godstow and told the story of Alice's Adventures for the first time. Both Dodgson and Alice later described this "golden afternoon" as warm, sunny and cloudless, but this is disputed by meteorological records, which indicate that the weather that day was in fact "cool and rather wet".

  150 years on, 4th July was not strictly golden in Oxford, but there were plenty of sunny spells between clouds and the occasional rain shower; the changeable sky is captured distinctly in the picture of Christ Church Memorial Garden on the right. Thankfully, the day was primarily warm and dry, and both the river and Port Meadow were looking lush and beautiful.

  Although I didn't detect any particular magic in the air, or a shadow of "Alice moving under skies", drifting along the river, taking in the impressive sight of Port Meadow and wandering around Christ Church Meadow and the Botanic Gardens, I could certainly see how Dodgson's home inspired his imagination. Oxford is a truly beautiful city, rich in history with a blend of spectacular architecture and nature.

  One thing that did seem straight out of Wonderland that afternoon was the strange behaviour of the abundant wildlife. Especially entertaining were a horse rolling happily on the ground (see below) and a squirrel that repeatedly climbed up my legs. They're all mad there!
Port Meadow

Alice's Day weekend 2012


  The Story Museum has hosted Alice's Day since 2007, with various activities and events throughout Oxford, and for the 150th anniversary, Alice's Day 2012 was to be the biggest and best yet. Unfortunately, it also turned out to be the wettest. Still, the weekend's events went ahead as planned, including special exhibitions at the many local museums, treasure hunts, performances, lectures, a flotilla following the route of the famous 1862 boat trip and a Caucus Race featuring dance, street theatre and games for all ages. This seems especially appropriate considering the weather; the race is supposed to be the best thing for getting dry after all.
Many thanks to Gary and Raisa for the wonderful Alice's Day pictures.
Alice's Day 2012
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