Oxford

Sunday 5th August 2018

Today we are off to Oxford – Nigel was up early getting things ready – he made a video of him cleaning the windscreen using time lapse on the GoPro. He had done that and was in the process of editing it before I even woke up as I had another bad night.

We arrived at the campsite a little after one o‘clock as we had stopped for lunch in a lay bye as usual. We were offered the choice of a few pitches and chose 29 as it was mid-way between the Reception and the Facilities block.

voyager pitched

The site isn’t large but it is well situated and there were lots of Motorhomes, Caravans and tents making the most of this glorious weather. Mostly English but a few Dutch and Germans as well.

It didn’t take us long to get pitched (we mostly have it down to a fine art now) so out came the 2G’s and we were off to explore. We found the Cycle Route sign post just outside the entrance and so headed toward the Town Centre.

We didn’t intend to go far – just enough to get our bearings really. Found Hinksey Park after a few hundred yards which was very nice –

Lakelake mary

it had a large lake which looked very peaceful – except for the group of youngsters playing in it (all good fun though). There was also an outdoor swimming pool and water play area for the younger ones – I might have been tempted but you can have too much of a good thing and I wanted to remember the times I had swimming with the family recently as special so we just looked at the families enjoying themselves.

So onward on the National Cycle Network (NCN) Route 5 – and just around the corner near another entrance to the same park was a red ice cream van. Well we had to try one (vanilla whippy tub) and very nice it was to.

Then on further across a ramped bridge over the River Thames

Thames town

through a housing estate and we found ourselves at the Westgate Shopping Mall (good time to visit as it was just after 4pm on a Sunday). A little bit of window shopping and checking out a bit of the art work and history of the place by way of notices about the walls.

westgt art

The recently built Mall was built on the original site of a Franciscan Abbey where the well-known? Philosopher Roger Bacon did a lot of his experiments and planned a scheme to drain Oxford. Its surprising what we learn in the back streets of a town.

We didn’t go further but made our way back to Voyager because as usual we hadn’t got anything out of the freezer – but just for a change (because it was so warm) we had a prawn salad for our meal. Eaten al fresco in the evening sunshine with a cool glass of spritzer for me and a lager for Nigel. We sat outside until the sun went down chatting about what we wanted to see tomorrow and generally putting the world to rights.

voyager sunset

Monday 6th August 2018

Another bright sunny warm day and we are off to explore Oxford and to see some of the things we missed the last time we were here but of course chores to be done before we go and breakfast to be had.

Took the NCN trail to town again and did the tourist thing – photo taking, buying a postcard and fridge magnet (avoiding being ripped off by the souvenir shopkeeper – insisting on only paying the displayed price) well at £1 for a postcard we were being ripped off anyway.

Oxford is on the world tourist map so there were coach loads of American Spanish and Japanese tourists but even more Chinese all chatting and standing about blocking the pavements with many guided tours in many different languages.

We made slow progress but did get through them and having decided to go to Christchurch Meadow for our lunch we made our way there. Getting in proved harder than we thought – a kissing gate by the Botanical Garden entrance – a steep step at the gate in Merton Street. Finally we asked a porter at the Cathedral who directed us to the main gate in St Aldate’s . We trundled passed the Medieval Dining Hall with its long line of tourists queuing to take a look at it and on

medw selfie

to a shady part near the river where we sat for our picnic while watching people punting, paddling and rowing along.

The most funny was the guy who got his pole stuck on a tree branch and had to paddle back to get it – I have to admit I fell about laughing but I did clap when he eventually retrieved it (he bowed).

We had another trundle around the town,

sighs selfie

found the Castle (and Prison) but thought we would leave the exploring of that for another day so we worked our way back retracing our route on the cycle way. Checked out a fig tree (some overhanging the pavement but not ripe yet) and a mellor as well – (very unusual) while we progressed back to Voyager.

Mellor

We decided on chicken salad for our meal (way too hot to cook much) – al fresco again and another evening sitting outside until late – isn’t it nice to be able to do this in good old England.

Tuesday 7th August 2018

Another beautiful day and both of us up with the lark. Had a big fry up today (SW style of course) because I think it may be a heavy day.

First a quick trip to ‘Go Outdoors’ which is only 50yards from Reception – we needed a bucket and  a collapsible bowl. Then we are off down the Thames Path to Iffley Lock – a lovely trip and the lock was smashing – a stone bridge that didn’t want to go anywhere,

iffley brg

old lock keepers cottage with well tended flower garden.

iffley lock

Getting over the lock gates was ‘interesting’ – the lock keeper fitted the necessary ramps for us –

iff lk ramp

getting on was fine but because of the angles getting off on the other side we really needed a ramp 2 inches wider. We managed it – just sort of slid down the ramp – we are used to taking the odd risk but almost scared the lock keeper to death bless her.

Anyway on we went through Iffley village

iffley vill

to Doddington and then back onto the Thames path to Oxford town – a lovely route with lots of activity on the river with Kayaks, skulls, row boats and one of those enormous  trip boats (again lots of Chinese faces).

thames cruiser

We progressed through the main tourist routes

observ area

and on to Jerrico (as featured in many an Inspector Morse episode). Had a good look at the eateries in Little Clarendon Street – Italian, French and Spanish almost next door to each other as well as more English Cafes make for somewhere for everyone.

I had hoped that we would be able to get to see the canal which is on the edge of Jerico but alas it all appeared to be blocked off – shame as we had thought it would be a good place to have our picnic lunch. Oh well we settled for our second choice by returning to the Castle court yard in town and spent a lovely hour there eating and drinking my special ‘lemonade’.

prison

Suitably refreshed we set forth toward TOAD. That’s ‘The Oxford Artisan Distillery’ where we spent half an hour sampling a couple of their Gins (Nigel enjoys – I don’t – bad experience),

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buying a bottle of Ashmolean which is best enjoyed with a slice Jara Lemon (from Bangladeshi shops apparently). Also a couple of TOAD shot classes.

They do tours of the distillery but we were a bit late for that so just had a quick peep at the stills and a good chat with the workers about the place and the setup.

toad still

We set off back to Voyager through South Park (large open park on a hill with trees and open areas) then onward through the town. We had gotten to the High St when Grace started to feel lumpy – looked down and the nearside rear tyre was flat – what do you do when you get a puncture on a mobility scooter.

To start with we swapped scooters and Nigel walked beside Grace – the idea being to find a garage or tyre place – maybe it just needed a bit of air we thought.

After a couple of hundred yards Nigel’s knees were starting to give out so he decided to try riding side saddle – keeping as much weight as possible on the good tyre. This seemed to work and so we made good progress along Abingdon Rd – we knew we had to stop at Tesco and get a few things – and just before we got to the shop we saw a National Tyres place on the right. They pumped some air in and we set off – flat again within a minute or so.

We did the shopping and then continued with the side saddle procedure until we got back to Voyager.

Then it was out with the tools and Nigel removed the wheel,

punct 1

got a bowl of water and did the old look for bubbles thing – there were loads. So the wheel was dismantled the inner tube removed and the bubble test done again.

punct 2

A pin prick size hole was the source.

Quick trip to Go Outdoors for a puncture repair kit – they were out of stock. Nigel thought he would check at Reception (thinking they may know where else he could try) and they had a kit – lucky or what?

The instructions where in Polish? but Nigel remembered how it used to be done in the old days (he reckons it was probably 50 years since he last fixed one) so went with that and had it patched, tested and reassembled in half an hour or so.

punt fx

Another chicken salad tonight and again we sat out until it got dark and a bit chilly before turning in.

Wednesday 8th August 2018

After a good night’s sleep I had a shower using the site facilities. No disabled wet room on this site so had to manage on my own while Nigel waited outside. Had to have a couple of sprays to help but managed it OK. Nigel used the van shower – he’s got it off to a fine art quick spray then soap then rinse off – I doubt if the water is running for more than 45 seconds in total.

A quiet morning with me doing my cross stitch while Nigel did the van clean – whizzing round with the Flash and the Dyson. Looks great – sparkling.

We are eating lunch out today so I don’t need to make a picnic.  After yesterday we had narrowed the choice down to Italian, French or Spanish. We set off taking a jumper each in case it gets colder (not as warm at all today) and made good time to the food area (not as many tourists today).

I didn’t really fancy the Italian (too much pasta) and the French Restaurant seemed to be more heavy meals so Spanish it would be.

Al-Andalus Tapas Bar had only a couple of steps and loads of tables so in we went.

tap br 1

We had the lunch time Tapas special (2 dishes each with bread).

tap br 2

The only real disappointment was the Croquettes – said to be chicken and ham but hardly any taste at all. The others were fine and we did enjoy Dates wrapped with bacon and filled with blue cheese – something I would not have even considered a few years ago but now my palette has changed (and my experience) and I’ll try more exotic things.

After lunch we thought we would just go back to Voyager – we had seen all we wanted for this visit and it was definitely getting cooler with the clouds filling in. Had to have one last ice cream a flavoured one (scoop type) – I had Hazelnut Nigel Tiramisu – asked for large tubs – that’s about 5 good scoops (a lot) not cheap at £9 the pair but value for money (remember to ask for small tub next time).

As we neared the site we started to feel a few spits of rain – so we put the scooters in Betty straight away and Nigel sat under the awning doing a bit of blog work while I had a little siesta – this holiday lark sure can take it out of you.

The threatening rain came about half an hour later – heavens opened for about five minutes then it petered out – few more odd spits but the tarmac was starting to look dry before we had our ham, egg and chips meal (salads are off until it warms up again).

The first evening we have spent inside this trip. Bit of TV – and Nigel is still typing – only with 2 fingers though.

Thursday 9th August 2018

Time to go home – so while I slave over making breakfast and getting everything inside stowed away Nigel does all the outside stuff and finishes off the Blog.

 

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