Off like a shot! Alarms buzzing in the fourth hour, clearing of beds, furious stuffing and zipping, and filling our water bottles (singers must stay hydrated)… It was a groggy choir busing on the winding roads to Rosslaire Ferry Port. After waiting in the bus queue, we exited Stenaline’s Green Deck 5 to decks 7 and 8, where we availed ourselves to breakfast and hot drinks. We endured the fairly calm crossing by napping, playing Rook, enjoying the breezy views above deck, and checking antisocial media below.
Land ho! The patchwork countryside of Fishguard, Wales appeared in the mist, and soon we were on the carriageway again. The upside to all our bus time is that it invariably leads to many fascinating discussions of music, texts, poetry, and books. You might say that Oasis Chorale bus is a sort of dropbox for the Anabaptist artist’s opinions, questions, and suggestions. With all our traveling, we have decided that we are officially tourists today (which we are comfortable with) but many of us are looking forward to getting into a normal routine!
At 5:30, we checked into the Ibis and YHA Bristol. Those of us at the hostel found it to be quite accommodating. (Its riverfront views were especially invigorating at night!)
Jonathan Yoder’s long-time friend, Michael, graciously scheduled a two-hour double-decker bus tour of bustling Bristol. Gerry, our tour guide, offered us a voluminous historical context for the city.
The choir was delighted to visit St. Thomas the Martyr Church, now no longer used for regular services, yet a location where Handel himself composed music and played the organ! We entered the empty church, situated adjacent to Bristol’s most famous night club, and sang a few pieces. The sounds and smells of the club’s overflow wafted through the stained glass, yet it did not drown out our song. The irony was not lost on us.
Friday morning we bused from Bristol to Oxford, arriving in time for an excellent two-hour walking tour. Dazzled by the architecture and history, we comfortably moved about the city, visiting several of the hundreds of Oxford colleges, the Radcliffe Camera (a repository of over 11 million books), and even Lucy’s lamppost from the Chronicles of Narnia!
In the afternoon, we checked into gorgeous Keble College.