Oxford Blues

Trip Start May 22, 2010
Trip End Oct 31, 2010

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Where I stayed
Margaret and Don's Place

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Friday, October 15, 2010

Irene had time to say farewell to Margaret and Don then we loaded her luggage into the car and drove around to collect Raewyn from her BnB. We had decided to do a triangular drive with Oxford the main destination. It was a grey morning but we decided to stay with the original plan.

We drove first to Dunstable, just because it made a good corner for our triangle. We then went to Aylesbury so we kept off the motorways. We were looking out for a nice tearoom with the same lack of success as yesterday. We had gone down a side road to a 500 year old thatched pub but it wasn't open. Nearby were advertised some New Zealand cottages, but we couldn’t see them. In the end we went to an Italian pizza place. In fact they made excellent coffee but the toilets were the highlight. Italian lessons were given as you sat – phrases were repeated to help you order food and drink in Italian. It was certainly a talking point for us. They also had hand driers that must have come from the engines of jumbo jets – they were so powerful.

We found a Park and ride outside Oxford although we had to search for a park – it was advertised as full. We had a short wait on the bus then had good views from the top floor. The only problem was knowing where to get off as the bus made more than one stop. We checked out the pick up point and found buses ran every 15 minutes. We were near the oldest building in Oxford so had to take a photo here. Then we walked around to the information centre but on the way passed the Hoho and ended up with a free map which was all we really needed. There was no point in going up the tower to get the view with the amount of cloud today.

We wanted to have a full meal for lunch because Irene and Raewyn’s flight was not until 10.30pm and ended up in a 500 year old pub for a nice meal. Raewyn and I looked at the Hoho map and plotted out a shorter route that would allow us to see the highlights. We had all agreed to just walk around the city because there was no building we especially wanted to go into.

We were next to the Bodleian library so walked past here first then found the Bridge of Sighs. Then we sort of followed the Hoho route and saw Magdelen College from all angles. The back entrance was full of signs saying not to park or enter here which seemed a bit unfriendly. However the grounds were lovely so maybe they get sick of uninvited visitors.

We also did a cachc on the way at in Longwell St. The then Mr Morris, later to become Lord Nuffield set up his business here building bikes. However this then developed into motor cars and Morris Motors was born.

We went as far as the punting site at Magdelen Bridge but there was not a lot of activity on the water. We then turned and went back along High Street. The Botanic Gardens got a brief look through the arch because we didn’t have time for a proper visit and didn’t want to pay for a brief one in the cold.  We saw All Souls College (the 9th oldest college), The Queens College (the 6th oldest and closed to visitors) and University College (the oldest), There were lots of notices in the town about the history – a site where people were executed for their faith in 1589, the oldest coffee house in England (1650) and the site where Boyle worked on what became known as Boyles law. John laughed when I took a photo of a street called Logic Lane.

Probably the most photos were taken of a horse and cart. It drove up the street and stopped opposite us so we all tried to take photos during breaks in the traffic. It reminded John of Steptoe and Son. Then we went over the road to the covered market where we found a charity shop selling second hand books among other things. This gave Irene the chance to get something for the trip home.

It was looking like it might rain and we spotted the bus just in time to scramble on so we decided not to walk further and we were able to get back to the car without getting wet.  We drove to Henley on Thames and all agreed it was a place we would definitely love to return to on a day when we could stroll around the town and along the river in the sun. For today we just looked for a tea shop. And we were in luck. We found a lovely spot on a corner and had lemon and blueberry Danish. Then Raewyn bought a handbag at a market while Irene bought throat lozenges at a shop.

We dropped Irene and Raewyn at the airport about an hour before they had to be there and then went back to Acton for a light meal before going back to Margaret and Don’s. They had tried a new take away place which they were very pleased with. We had a drink with them before checking details for the next day
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