Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Oxford’s Narnia

Written by: on June 13, 2019

It was our thirty-fifth wedding anniversary which occasioned the trip of a lifetime, two weeks in Great Britain and France. From the theatre in London to the Tattoo Festival in Edinburgh to the highspeed Chunnel train transporting us to five magical days in Paris, it was simply unforgettable. With all of these amazing experiences and more, the one that stays with me most was discovering the wooded area behind C.S. Lewis’ home called “Narnia” in Oxford. Walking the pathway by the pond, seeing sites which were reminiscent of scenes in the movies, and sitting on the log bench said to have been the place of deep contemplation and conversation between Tolkien and Lewis, I was in Heaven. Walking through Lewis’ modest home and enjoying fish ‘n chips at The Eagle and Child made the experience complete. Like many, I have been an avid fan of Lewis’ writings so walking through his world was somewhat surreal. I imagine what it would have been like to sit in the corner and listen to the Inklings discuss literature and any other topic they would broach.

Our second trip to England took us to Daventry to speak for a conference and a few add on days in The Cotswolds. Being the planner I am, we took a daring risk and decided to just drive and find a place to stay. A word to the wise, always reserve a room in the English countryside in the summer months ahead of time! We drove and looked and drove and looked and there was no room in the inn. Finally, as I was about to panic and imagined us sleeping in the rental car on the side of the road, we came upon a quaint working farm that also served as a bed and breakfast. It was seemingly in the middle of nowhere and turned out to be our most enjoyable stay of the trip. It was an alpaca farm with a historic farmhouse with one room left in the crow’s nest which was a beautiful room at the top of the house. The views were amazing, the feather bed divine, and the breakfast delicious.

My last trip to London was just a few months ago for a layover from Morocco. My assistant had never been to London so we determined a few hours in the city was necessary. We booked the ultra-tourist thing to do and took the City Light Tour experiencing all the main sites from the upper deck of a double decker red bus. It is always enjoyable to experience something through someone else’s eyes who is seeing something for the first time.

Reading Culture Shock! London by Orin Hargraves and Culture Shock! Great Britain by Terry Tan brought back many memories in my mind’s eye and September 26, 2019 cannot arrive quickly enough. I look forward to purchasing an Oyster card to hear, “mind the gap” on the Tube and must remind myself to walk on the opposite side of my normal pattern. I so appreciate the expectation to say “please” and “thank you” and find the sense of “order” and “respect for privacy and common decency” quite refreshing.[1]

As my husband is fond of saying, “London is my favorite city!” Even though it is English speaking and Western culturally, it is still quite different from the U.S. and these guides are excellent reminders in order to appreciate the differences and enjoy the area to its fullest.

[1] Orin Hargraves, Culture Shock! London: A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette (Tarrytown, NY: Marshall Cavendish Corporation, 2009), Kindle Loc. 240, 242.

About the Author

Tammy Dunahoo

Tammy is a lover of God, her husband, children and grandchildren. She is the V.P. of U.S. Operations/General Supervisor of The Foursquare Church.

10 responses to “Oxford’s Narnia”

  1. Rev Jacob Bolton says:

    Very fun memories Tammy! Looking forward to our time together!

  2. Hi Tammy. From the looks of it, either my wife and I were on the same trip you and your husband took, or I simply plagiarized your blog post. It looks like we had similar experiences there.

    My friend completed his D.Phil at Oxford and he invited my wife and I to live vicariously through his academic journey for a few days at a couple of the colleges in Oxford. My friend was involved in giving tours at C.S. Lewis’ home at the Kilns and so I got to experience a lot of it close up and personal.

    I had imagined what Lewis was seeing in his mind as he penned some of his classics on his desk in front of the window looking into the forest. Definitely good times and I hope we get to capture some of that when we get to Oxford.

  3. Harry Fritzenschaft says:

    I appreciate your, statement “It is always enjoyable to experience something through someone else’s eyes who is seeing something for the first time.” This time around, our cohort family is a bit formed and settled. It will truly be a delight to get to experience this trip together. I am so glad your two-week trip was so magical but I was getting hives as you described finding “no room at the inn!”

  4. Mary Mims says:

    Tammy, you made the trip to Oxford sound even grander than I imagined. I look forward to hanging out with you there for another magical trip.

  5. Mario Hood says:

    Between you and Digby we have great classmate tour guides 🙂

  6. Andrea Lathrop says:

    Tammy…I want to stay at that alpaca farm and explore the woods behind Lewis’ home! Oh my goodness- the stuff of my dreams too. Can’t wait to be there together!

  7. Karen Rouggly says:

    Please take me to the woods behind Lewis’ home! Lord of the Rings is my favorite book of all time and I am SO looking forward to seeing where Tolkien and Lewis wandered. Also, this post stirred even more excitement for me! Thank you!

  8. Digby Wilkinson says:

    I like Oxford. There quite a cool Tolkein Shop too. I sqauted for nearly two weeks at Catherine College while I was at course at Jesus College. The students were away so I marched in carrying my bag and a piece of paper looking rather official and then just moved from room to room for ten days – it was very exciting. Unfortunately, I didn’t get caught so I can’t say I was thrown out. I also got to eat dinner in the banquet room while they were wearing hat and tails suits – now that was culture shock.

  9. Rhonda Davis says:

    Tammy, I want to find this featherbed on the alpaca farm! Like you, I am looking forward to being in England again, and this group of friends will be icing on the cake.

  10. Thank you Tammy for giving us a glimpse of what to look forward to in England. I hope that I can visit the S W Lewis home and much more in London.

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