Merton College was founded in 1264 and claims to be the oldest college of the University of Oxford (2 other colleges also claim to be the oldest, but Merton says they have the documents to prove it, and not just legends). It has been home to some world-renowned scholars such as J.R.R. Tolkien and T.S. Eliot.
[Oh hello, you beautiful Fellows' Garden, you.]
I kind of felt like I was walking in an autumnal Garden of Eden.
The red Virginia Creeper along the walls was especially beautiful:
The ever-classy Mimi was a wonderful tour guide. She told me about some of Merton's traditions and legends.
For example, this is called Tolkien's Table. Rumor has it that he composed part of Lord of the Rings at this table (at least, he liked writing here when the weather was nice). And the tree behind the table? People say that's what inspired the Ents.
[Not the little, skinny tree. The bigger one in the background with the knots that look like facial features. THE ENT TREE.]
So of course I had to get a picture with the Ent Tree.
[This is for you, Erika Jo.]
This is the Mob Quad. It is supposed to be the oldest university square in Oxford. Apparently it is called the "Mob Quad" because the fellows of the college would look down on the unwashed masses below them from their ivory towers.
And this is the Fellows' Quad. Merton College has a special tradition every October Daylight Savings Time. The students want to make sure that the world doesn't explode when we go back an hour, so they walk backwards around this square (while drinking port) from 2 am to 3 am to ensure that balance is restored to the universe.
So since Daylight Savings Time happened in England this weekend, obviously we can all be grateful for the members of Merton College for keeping the space-time continuum balanced.
Thank you, Merton College, for saving the universe.