Monday, 20 August 2007

Friday (mostly) in Oxford: a sort of Missed-the-Gig-a-Blog™

Friday, 17 August 2007

This was the day of Martha's first course concert, a lunchtime at Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford. If you don't know about this interesting place it's probably worth reading up on it: as its site says, "Christ Church is a unique institution, one of the largest colleges in the University of Oxford and, at the same time, the Cathedral Church for the Diocese of Oxford", so there you go.

The day got off to a surprising start with the field behind the house getting filled with sheep early in the morning. Daisy found this a bit bemusing but was pretty good generally, with one or two naughty runs at the fence when they came a bit close.

We took the car in only as far as the Pear Tree Park and Ride then we parked and, well, rode. This is all very good. A bit of fiddling around with shops and so on then we went to the very beautiful Christ Church. Daisy was naturally not welcome there so Deb went in for the concert while the dog and I went for a lovely walk through Christ Church Meadow then round the Cherwell to the Thames or indeed Isis if you prefer. On the way there were fantastic views, especially back towards Christ Church, which rather shook my loyalty to Cambridge and its, ah, collegescape(?) We ended up quite a way downstream at a nice pub, the Isis Tavern, where Daisy acquired a fan club of little boys.

In the meantime Deb was at Martha's concert. Martha was continuo cello for "Summer" from the Four Seasons and acquitted herself very well: she was apparently praised to Deb by various luminaries, which is always nice. I wish I could write more about this but I couldn't hear much from the pub.

I was toying with the idea of getting a boat back to Folly Bridge but didn't have quite enough cash having bought a beer and crisps for Daisy and me. In fact, it didn't matter - it was a pleasant walk back and no slower than the boat, indeed I was seated at the next pub before they'd all got off the boat. This latter was being driven largely by Daisy's collection of little boys, who called and waved constantly as we walked along. It was all very convivial.

After the concert Deb said goodbye to Martha and we met for lunch at another fantastic riverside pub, the Head of the River, right by Folly Bridge. This was an exceedingly nice spot to sit and they serve very fine salt beef.

Eventually - after checking on the venue for the Saturday concert, and looking at parking, and wandering a little bit, and so on, we set off back. It was very slow getting out of Oxford on the bus and I wondered if they shouldn't somehow try harder to prioritize the buses in order to keep up people's faith in the (otherwise very good) Park & Ride system. Then we picked up the car (Deb, exhausted by concert and lunch, briefly woke up for this bit) and set off back to Guiting Power. I had seen horrendous traffic queues on the A40 out of Oxford so in avoiding them we took a massive but very pretty detour round via Woodstock (where you pass Blenheim Palace) and Chipping Norton. I can report that this route was really enjoyed by everyone in the car who was awake.

On our return to the lovely Guiting Power we had a walk round to the church. It has some amazingly-old-looking graves, two excellent Norman doorways with fantastic carving, and a rather weird layout so that the transepts, built in the 1800s when the population was burgeoning, are as long as the nave and chancel. It must give odd sightlines for services if/when it's full; likewise, if you did concerts there - and John advises me that there is a rather good music festival in the village - then you'd have to think hard about where things are placed. A lovely and interesting building - and getting to it you pass many others equally good.

After that we walked over to Kineton for a quick pint, which was very nice, then home to dinner. A busy but excellent day.


  1. The Power of Guiting

  2. A Wednesday walk

  3. Strawberry Yoghurt - Daylesford Creamery organic yoghurt with strawberry compote

  4. A Thursday of Longwalkness

  5. Incidental moments of deliciousness

  6. Friday (mostly) in Oxford: a sort of Missed-the-Gig-a-Blog™

  7. A Cotswolds Saturday, another concert, and the road homeward

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