This friend who I shall call D has an interesting summer job. She volunteers at The Kilns, C.S. Lewis's home near Oxford, where she cooks and cleans for the various summer guests who attend lectures sponsored by the Lewis Foundation.
We had often said that if we were ever both in England at the same time, we would meet at The Kilns and sit in Lewis's sitting room and walk Shotover Hill, one of Lewis's favorite daily walks.
Last month our dream came true! D and I overlapped in Oxford for less than twenty-four hours, but we made sure we met at The Kilns during that one day we were both there.
The Professor, Chaplain Dan, The Princess and I took the bus from Oxford to Headington and disembarked near Lewis Close. We walked to the cul-de-sac (close in British English) and found the last house on the right at the end.
D and I met like long lost friends, talking our usual mile-a-minute, hugging and smiling. She escorted us through the house, showing us all the rooms and telling us stories of her summers living in this most famous place of the Wardrobe and Tales of Narnia.
A small bronze statue of Aslan rests on a table near the front window in the sitting room.
On a desk in the sitting room there is a photo of Lewis. But wait! What are those two stuffed animals doing there?? Do you recognize that little white bunny on the left? That's Eleanor Elizabeth Rabbit, better known as Bunny*. She was created by me on the airplane trip from Los Angeles to Gatwick. Her new friend is Little Brown Bear, the traveling companion of one of D's summer coworkers.
Bunny asked to have her photograph taken on the sitting room mantle with the map of Narnia just above her. The fresh roses were picked in The Kilns' garden.
Bunny seemed to be quite taken with the fireplaces and mantles at The Kilns. Here she is, sitting above the brick fireplace in the upstairs bedroom.
Back down in the kitchen, we paused to be introduced to the Oxford graduate students who had been living in residence at The Kilns this past year. They were chatting with friends as they made tea. We opted to have water because it was a warm day and we had already walked up Shotover Hill. The kitchen window faces the front of the house and the lovely view into the front garden.
*You will be hearing more about Bunny's adventures in England in the future. She went everywhere with us, traveling in the front section of our daypack, her little face and floppy ears sticking out the top, and had her photo taken much more often than we did.
Bunny was made from a pattern I bought at fuzzymitten.com and adapted a bit to suit my fancy.