Thursday, 5 March 2015

Season Opener - Oxford

We collected our caravan from her pre-season service, in Derby, then took her on a short tour of all the more interesting roadworks. We were heading for Oxford, and what we imagined would be a short hop turned out to be a bit of an epic. A50/M1. M1/M6/A14. Two lots on the A443. Then the show-stopper, an almost two-hour delay on the M1 waiting to join the A34/M1 junction. Lovely.

A so-so photo of Radcliffe Square enhanced beyond all recognition and without prompting by Google. Thanks guys.
So we arrived at the Camping and Caravanning Club site, in Oxford, a little later than expected and a little more irritable than expected, but after a rushed pitch we headed out for the city. The walk from the site along the banks of the Thames, right into the middle of Oxford, is lovely. Didn't want to have to wait a whole day for it, so we set off in gathering twilight and walked back in the dark. Long enough in the city for a coffee and to get our bearings.

Saturday was a full day in Oxford. This was, for me, a day of academic study and learning. By study and learning I mean sitting in coffee shops amongst students and acquiring intelligence by osmosis. It was very much a mooching-around day with no agenda, but for February the weather was kind and Oxford is a fabulous city, and boasts some of the country's last remaining real bookshops. What more can you ask? Well, you could ask for an old ham, and even here Oxford delivers. The world's oldest ham, in fact, hanging in a butcher's in the market, with a certificate to prove it.

On Sunday London was top on the itinerary. We were unsure whether we should use the excellent Oxford Tube bus service or just drive to an outlying station. Our decision was made for us by our cargo, namely five framed paintings and twenty prints, to be delivered to Central Hall Westminster for one of @Flowagirl's  upcoming exhibitions. Not so easy on the bus, so we drove, instead, to Walton-on-Thames station where parking is free on a Sunday (and the trains cost buttons on Sundays with Oyster cards, too). We weren't in a rush. Couldn't drop the pictures off until four-thirty and didn't want to be hanging around London in the rain with half-a-ton of art, so I promised @Flowagirl a relaxing lunch in a posh eatery in this very posh part of Surrey, and took her to the cafe in Morrison's supermarket for two chicken Tikka's for not much more than a tenner. But come on, it was a posh Morrison's.

We came home on Monday, but only after a little reminder that February is still winter, when all the taps froze up on the site, and guess who forgot to fill the aquaroll between coming back from London and going to bed? There was enough water for Sarah to have a shower, but I had to pong until we got home. I could have used the site showers, but why waste the chance to feel just like a kid on holiday again?

So, a successful start to the year. I would highly recommend Oxford as an off-season site, and it's open all year round.

Where next? I love this. A whole year beckons.

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