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Boat Blog: Autumn Odyssey Day 10

Posted by indigodream on 9 November, 2012

Rewind to Wednesday 19th September

Swinford to Sandford

The remains of Godstow Abbey (just upstream of Godstow Lock) – there’s not much left, but then, it was originally built in 1133! More on its history here – http://britisharchaeology.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/highlights/tiles-godstow.html

I took no notes whatsoever today – I do hope that the photos act as an aide memoire!

I don’t remember what time we set off from Swinford, but I do remember that we stopped off at the moorings downstream of Osney Bridge – we’d decided to have lunch in Oxford and have a little bobble round the city. A local recommended a hop on/hop off bus tour – in hindsight that would have been very sensible. Instead, we followed our noses – luckily, if you cross over Osney Bridge and keep walking you’ll eventually get to the city centre and there are lots of tourist maps and signpost once you get there.

We stopped off at the Angrid Thai cafe for lunch – although the restaurant was large and far from full, the waitress put us right next to a couple having an intense but strangely stilted conversation at the next table. I was fascinated trying to work out the relationship between the two of them – if I had to guess I’d say it was a first date of 2 people who’ve met online – he seemed desperate to get closer; she seemed desperate to stall him (not that he noticed!). People watching – you can’t beat it for entertainment – the noodles were good too!

We then had an aimless wander around Oxford – the trouble with this city is that there is just too much to see – we really needed a plan! We wandered into tourist information but everything was for sale – there wasn’t even a free ‘throwaway’ city centre map. The atmosphere in there was one of a fleecing shed, and, unwilling to be sheep, we decided not to spend a whole £1 on a map and carried on drifting.

Floral display at Godstow Lock – some lockies work really hard to maintain a beautiful environment – imagine the impact this would have on visiting boaters from afar. We’re used to it, but we always appreciate their work and never take it for granted…

There’s no doubt that Oxford is an imposing and interesting place to visit, but we didn’t give it enough time to shine. A couple of hours was just enough time to get sore feet and to feel overwhelmed – but we saw enough to want to come back…with a plan next time!

We got back to the boat and started wondering where to moor for the night. We quizzed the lock-keepers who told us that the moorings at Port Meadow, just downstream of Oxford, may not be secure – apparently a lot of Oxford’s ‘disadvantaged’ hang out there. It’s a shame because they looked like tidy moorings and there were a few boats there.

We decided not to risk it – after all, we are on holiday and there’s every likelihood that I’d  be out on the path with Lou in the middle of the night so security was important.

We went back to Sandford Lock and snaffled the mooring weir-side below the lock – although it’s a bit of a jump for Lou, it is a quiet, secure mooring with a good pub and excellent dog-walking.

We moored up, took the hounds for a walk then wandered across to the pub, where we stuffed ourselves again – we may have missed out on a good night’s sleep during this holiday but by God the food has been fantastic 😀

As predicted, I was indeed wandering the canalside with Lou at 2.30am – just as well we’d moored in a quiet spot…

Photoblog:

We really liked the eagle figurehead on this boat – maybe something similar for Indigo Dream 2 (if she’s every built!)…

Ah, we had a little detour in Oxford – we thought the channel was on the right by Folly Bridge and ended up here (we got through perfectly fine!) but I think we were meant to go left past the trip boats – oops! Ah, I now read that either channel is fine – phew!

All the boathouses have their own coat of arms…

The riverbank in Oxford is lined by boathouses – rowing is obviously a BIG pursuit for college students; Richard reckons that the grandeur and state of repair varies with the wealth of the college 🙂

I’ve always found Oxford to be a bit dreary from the river, but that’s a nice view – just above Iffley Lock I think…

We found it hard to work out what was what – these ‘heads’ seem to surmount the walls around the “Museum of the History of Science” – the building has a long history dating back to the 1600’s – https://www.mhs.ox.ac.uk/about/history/

The “Bridge of Sighs” – a modern addition (1914) that links two parts of Hertford College. Apparently parts of the college building themselves date back to 1280. http://www.hertford.ox.ac.uk/about/history

The Bodleian Library – we didn’t venture any further than the courtyard – even that had traditional “silence” signs! http://www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/

The Radcliffe Camera (camera being latin for “room” apparently) – build in the 1700’s as a library but now it’s additional reading space for the Bodleian….

There are gargoyles and ornate carvings all over Oxford – it is really overwhelming…

The magnificent gateway to Christ Church – Sarah (aka Greygal) recommended this as a must-see (amongst must-see’s!) but sadly by the time we found it we were exhausted and didn’t venture in – next time! http://www.chch.ox.ac.uk/visiting

A bit of whimsy….

According to the plaque, there has been a ferry crossing at Sandford since the 13th Century (Wikepedia suggests that it might be even earlier). This ancient stone is a ‘mounting block’ that allowed people to remount their horses after crossing the river…

Lou enjoying yet another splosh – at Sandford this time – shame the water’s not warm (and bubbly like a jaccuzzi – oh hang on, it is, but we wouldn’t want her that close to the weir!) – as it is we have to rush to dry her off before her muscles get cold and start to spasm – sigh….

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