Lifestyle and Entertainment

All the things I don't know for sure

Iona Ravindran
January 17, 2024
5 min read
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There are some enormous houses in Oxford. Specifically, near the University Parks, around Norham Gardens and the like. Honestly, some of them are just huge, and also very imposing and scary looking. Others are more beautiful in my eye, built to stand peacefully and regally with cotswold coloured stone. I’ve walked past these houses a lot in the last year, taking my daughter for walks in the pram in an attempt to get her to sleep (I had a far-too-interested-in-things-to-sleep daughter for the first year of her life!). And I’ve wondered about them, a lot. Somebody told me they have something to do with the Oxford colleges and their dons. As I’ve been walking past them, I’ve often thought: I just wish I knew for sure.

The Botanic Gardens in Oxford sit peacefully enclosed between Magdalen Bridge on the one side and Christ Church Meadows on the other, tucked away behind a beautiful arch and standing-the-test-of-time stone walls at the end of the High Street. I’ve spent a lot of time here too this past year. A haven of peacefulness on the way in and out of town for us, perfect for a stop-off during an (infrequent, see above!) afternoon nap time for my daughter, or for an afternoon on a picnic rug looking at the other garden visitors (and over-familiar ducks). I’ve even been on a brilliant, much recommended, guided tour of the garden (these happen twice a day on a Thursday and a Sunday), where a very well-informed volunteer gave us an interesting circa 45 mins overview of the gardens, focused on their history and layout.  

But, as I’ve wandered the paths on my own nearly every afternoon of the summer months this year, again, I’ve often found myself thinking: I just wish I knew for sure... why this planting is here, when this bed was introduced, how do flowers grow, why are the Botanic Gardens SO beautiful. The list of thoughts is endless.  

And for both of my ‘thinkings’ whilst out and about, to satisfy both of my yearnings (and in a place like Oxford, just two examples of many, many, many more) to know more about and to know for sure, we have the answer. And it’s guidl. Just imagine being able to open your smartphone in front of a house in Norham Gardens and learn all about it’s history, in the moment. To be able to satisfy that itch and go home more alive and interested about the world as a result. Or imagine being on your own tour of the Botanic Gardens, in your own time, choosing one of many either horticultural, or historical. Having the choice and having the availability. Just imagine.  

We hope guidl will help us to know, finally, all the things we don’t know for sure – right where and when we want to know. How exciting. Come on and join the guidl movement. We’d love to have you!

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