As I mentioned in my last post, I just spent two weeks in England, and of course on the top of my list of places to see was Oxford, birthplace of Alice in Wonderland. Right off the bat when we arrived in the city, we started seeing Alice references:
Then we began our Alice tour in earnest. We visited Folly Bridge, where Lewis Carroll and the Liddell girls set off on their boat ride down the Isis that fateful day, and Carroll began spinning the tale of Wonderland.
We stopped at Alice’s Shop, a wonderland of souvenirs set in the very same shop that Alice used to visit when she lived there, the inspiration for the Sheep Shop in Through the Looking Glass.
And then we went across the street to Christchurch College, where Lewis Carroll (under his real name, Charles Dodgson) studied and taught, and where he first met Alice, the daughter of the dean, Henry Liddell. Guided by a booklet we picked up at Alice’s Shop, we toured the campus and found many Alice-related things.
The next day, I got my long-awaited Alice-themed tattoo. After mulling over many possibilities in the months beforehand – including some of the Tenniel illustrations of my favorite scenes, and even some of Carroll’s own illustrations of the characters – I finally decided on just a simple bit of text (as I’ve got text tattoos for my other favorite stories). To encapsulate the Girls Underground theme, I chose “Down, down, down” – obviously from Alice’s fall down the rabbit hole – written in Lewis Carroll’s own handwriting from the original Alice’s Adventures Under Ground manuscript, along the curve of my ankle.
The tattoo shop I chose just happened to be across the street from Christchurch College, and the studio was on the second floor, so as I had his words tattooed on me forever, I got to look out over the buildings Lewis Carroll himself lived and worked in. It was pretty amazing. Here it is:
And a scan of the original text: