It was a dull and cold morning but dry, when 10 members met at Brize Norton Road bus stop to catch an S2 to Oxford. 6 more members joined us at various stops in Witney. We had an extremely fast journey into Oxford. Getting off the bus at the old John Radcliffe stop we walked to the Pitt Rivers museum, which several members had not visited before. After a short stop we walked the few yards to the University Parks gardens. The area offers an escape from the hustle and bustle of the City and the green oasis has something to please everyone. The park is open every day of the year (except Christmas eve) from dawn to dusk; it boasts a choice of walks, a large collection of trees and plants and space for informal games and picnics; a lake and riverside walk. We saw lots of nesting swans, ducks, geese etc in this area. For those that enjoy sport there’s the opportunity, depending on the season, to catch a game of cricket, lacrosse, tennis, football or rugby. Harry Potter fans may even encounter a game of Quidditch in play. We didn’t have our usual fly past but there was a helicopter sat in the grounds, we were not able to find out why it was there.
Leaving the park we made our way to the High Street where we stopped for lunch at Queens Lane Coffee House. It is alleged to have played a part in Oxford’s rich and varied history; in 1654, Cirques Jobson is said to have started selling the favourite new drink, coffee. Thus, Queen’s Lane Coffee House is reputed to be the oldest coffee house in Europe. During the seventeenth century, the coffee house was a favourite haunt of scholars to debate issues of the times. A visit is a MUST if you are in Oxford.
After lunch we made our way to Christ Church Meadows entering via a side road next to the Botanical Gardens. Punters were having fun on the river, as were school pupils in rowing boats. Some of the trees were quite old and needed propping up. We met a very friendly squirrel that came up to us and begged for food. One member gave it a nut and it moved to safety and ate it, came back for another one; on the 3rd occasion it wrapped itself round the members leg until it got another nut.
Crossing a bridge we were able to see the boat sheds and many boats moored on the riverside. We also saw a deer in the middle of a herd of long horned cattle. Leaving the meadows we walked back through the town to catch a bus home. It was an extremely relaxed and sociable day. 16 did the first walk and then 6 went their separate ways, which left 10 for lunch. After lunch we were went down to 7 and this group stayed together until it was time to get on the bus home and we were then 3. Our next short walk is on 13th June at Faringdon and is followed by breakfast.
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