We’re undertaking a rain spattered bus tour of Oxford, sharing the top deck with a couple from Sidney. This typical British weather won’t be what they’re used to and I’m sad for them- or perhaps it’s a novelty and renders their experience more authentically British?
Our bouncy, enthusiastic guide, Catherine keeps us interested with plenty of anecdotes and by making references to our respective home locations. She knows plenty about everywhere, seemingly and hails from Somerset, herself. As we make our soggy way through the streets and past the individual colleges she provides us with a ‘who’s where’ of writers, artists, politicians, artists and otherwise famous people who attended them. There’s a comical moment when she mentions Boris Johnson and Husband interjects with ‘BOO!’ causing much hilarity from the Australian couple.
We’re not tempted to ‘hop-on-hop-off’, or certainly not to hop off, although the Australian pair alight when we pull into the bus station, taking their wheeled cases with them and off to Scotland, as the woman tells me.
It’s day 2 of our mini stay at the club site just on the outskirts of the city of Oxford and the morning arrives with much improved weather. After our previous day’s soggy walkabout we dined in the local pub- a perfectly acceptable pub meal- and all is well.
For this next day we’re meeting family members at the park and ride and heading back into city for a closer look at some of the colleges and historic buildings. After meeting up we clamber on to a double-decker bus and up the stairs to the top. The front seats are empty! In our dotage, we’ve all regressed to childhood in our delight in sitting on top at the front for the bus ride, enjoying a wonderful sense of almost-vertigo as the tall vehicle rounds corners, lurching like a galleon on the sea, and we’re able to peer down into peoples’ gardens or into top floor windows.
We alight in the city centre. Husband, who has a map, becomes the navigator. As usual I’m having to run to catch up most of the time due to photographing things [Husband has never been one to pause for photographical activities]. We get to look at a lot of things we passed on the ‘open-top’ and viewed through rain-streaked windows but this time the sun is out and even warm.
Today we can take ourselves to a restaurant and enjoy a long, leisurley lunch and we opt for a French bistro down a little side street, https://www.pierrevictoire.co.uk/find-us/. It’s great food in a rustic space that feels comfortable and intimate- ideal for catch-up chats.
There’s more wandering after lunch, although nobody feels like a long hike, or clambering up the ‘motte’ of the old castle which is surrounded by paths and also flanked by the historic jail.
Eventually we’re back at Queen’s College and the little old coffee shop, feeling it would be churlish not to stop for tea and cake before we amble to the bus stop for another lurching, swaying ride back to the park and ride. There’s more tea at the van and we bid our goodbyes. Home tomorrow…
Grace is the alter ego of novelist and short story writer, Jane Deans. To date I have two published novels to my name: The Conways at Earthsend [https://www.amazon.co.uk/Conways-at-Earthsend-Jane-Deans-ebook/dp/B08VNQT5YC/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2ZHXO7687MYXE&keywords=the+conways+at+earthsend&qid=1673350649&sprefix=the+conways+at+earthsend%2Caps%2C79&sr=8-1 and The Year of Familiar Strangers [https://www.amazon.co.uk/Year-Familiar-Strangers-Jane-Deans-ebook/dp/B00EWNXIFA/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2EQHJGCF8DSSL&keywords=The+year+of+familiar+strangers&qid=1673350789&sprefix=the+year+of+familiar+strangers%2Caps%2C82&sr=8-1 Visit my writer Facebook page [https://www.facebook.com/search/top?q=jane%20deans%2C%20novellist%2C%20short%20fiction%20and%20blog or my website: https://www.janedeans.com/