Monday, 30 September 2013

Cleats and Colleges....

This post is late. I've been so busy with 'stuff' - I've neglected the blog - and for that I can only offer sincere apologies. 

Bourton on the Water
I've been away. We had a wonderful long weekend bumbling around the Cotswolds - a place, I'm sorry to say, is mostly unknown to me. The blonde and I travelled down to Bourton on the Water - until now a place that I've only read about or seen pictures of. It was worth the trip. We arrived in a very light mist of rain which conveniently stopped as we stepped out of the car. We ambled around the streets, quiet and calm - none of the heaving tourist masses that I'd feared from online research. We enjoyed a tasty breakfast in the wonderful Artisan bakery in one of the many side streets and spent a couple of hours wandering round exploring. Then we travelled through Stow on the Wold and onward to our destination - The Falkland Arms at Great Tew.

The Falkland Arms
If you had describe the quintessential English pub, say to a group of Americans, how might you explain it? Thatched of course, and old oak beams, naturally. A real fire, subdued lighting, flagstone floor, dartboard, real ale, a maze of small, higgledy-piggledy rooms...... this is the Falkland Arms to a tee. And the Americans love the place! 
Sign in Great Tew
Our room was perfectly adequate and to be honest, it didn't matter - the atmosphere of the place made up for any shortcomings elsewhere. We enjoyed working our way through the selection of beers and tucked into a hearty three-course meal in the evening. The bar was a mixture of tourists (at least two American couples and a French group) and locals. And there was a folk duo encouraging us to singalong to some classic folky tunes - the yanks loved it.

On Sunday I rode my bike into Oxford - through England's green and pleasant land. Endless stone cottages with straw rooftops, drystone walls, rolling countryside. It was a pleasurable ride of 15 miles or so, passing through Woodstock. As I rode into the City I noticed one or two studenty types on bikes - but nowhere near the numbers I'd expected - no more than I see at home really. I skirted round the town centre a couple of times stopping alongside various colleges, taking a few photo's - all very touristy as I mingled with coachloads of Japanese visitors.

I met the blonde and we adjourned to a convenient pub for a drink before further exploration on foot. There are some nice old parts and the colleges are an obvious major attraction - but it seemed to me that there was the ubiquity of any other City - waking out of a coma, colleges aside,
I could have been in Leicester or Middlesborough.

There was a man in the high street who appeared to be floating in thin air - I took a photo. And then I was back on the bike heading back to Great Tew - we met up again in Woodstock and brought some provisions from a deli - an impromptu picnic amongst the honey coloured stone.

Back at the pub and a final evening of gentle intoxication before bed - and the end of a thoroughly enjoyable and enlightening weekend.

The floating man

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