Narrowboat AREandARE

From the 2009 & 2010 tantalising tales, traumas and stunning photographs of Barry (photographer) and Sandra (writer) from New Zealand aboard NB 'Northern Pride', to the stories of their 2013 return journey, purchase of 'AREandARE', progress on sustaining their live aboard continuous cruiser lifestyle, and Barry's quest to gain residency and 'Indefinite Leave to Remain' in UK ...

Friday, 30 July 2010

Back once again to Morse's Oxford

On Thursday we tootled back to the west side of Oxford as we were actually craving some civilisation again after almost a week of remoteness.  Along the way we moored up as close as possible to a small place called Farmoor as we needed some milk or I'd not get my afternoon cup of tea which would never do!  Barry wanted to walk around the large Reservoir there, but unfortunately there's no public access.



Barry gets up close to some cygnets and the "Grey Lady" boat leaves her mooring in front of us


 Approaching Northmoor Lock







A wonderful windmill stands desolately in a field








It was just a short walk to the one shop at Farmoor which luckily sold milk - and also seemed to stock a vast range of South African meat, how peculiar!  One must conclude that the owners originate there, but why would you go to all the trouble of having supplies brought in from so far away when you're in England - I wonder if the local residents appreciate it - maybe there's a community of South Africans living in the area?

We walked back to the boat along the nature reserve surrounding the reservoir, enjoying sights of pretty butterflies and wild flowers, then sat in the afternoon sunshine with a cup of tea and home-made blueberry muffins - it's such a tough life!


 The reservoir at Farmoor










Sandra and Kim resting up after a long walk to Farmoor and back to the boat


 P1290660 A quick stop at Oxford Cruisers marina for diesel and some 'loo blue' (@ £14.99 - rather pricey!) 


  Moored boats at the marina


 Snakelike meandering river


 Approaching Swinford




Side hatches are ideal for duck feeding




Another trip under the toll bridge at Swinford

Continuing on we eventually moored up right next to the ruins of Godstow Abbey not far from Lower Wolvercote.  The Abbey has an interesting history:

  • It was built on what was then an island between streams running into the River Thames;
  • The site was given to the foundress Edith, widow of Sir William Launceline in 1133, by John of St John (!) and built in local limestone in honour of  St Mary and St John the Baptist for nuns of the Benedictine Order;
  • The church was consecrated in 1139;
  • Henry II gave the nun's funds for many things, probably due to the fact that his mistress Rosamund Clifford was buried there;
  • Following the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII, it was converted into Godstow House by George Owen and occupied by his family until 1645, when the building was badly damaged in the Civil War;
  • Following the damage, the building fell into disrepair and was used by the locals as a source of stone for their buildings; 
  • During the 19th and 20th centuries, it was used for collecting livestock during the annual rounding up of animals on Port Meadow;
  • In Victorian times, Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) brought Alice Liddell (aka Alice in Wonderland) and her sisters, Edith and Lorina, for river trips and picnics at Godstow.

A selection of Abbey images ...




Barry shot off on his bike in search of some tonic water and soda, to mix with the gin and vodka on the boat, but alas after being away for over half an hour returned empty handed. The petrol station he found had every other drink imaginable - doesn't anyone around here drink gin?!

Ah well, he managed to take a few photos on his travels ...


 The Thames widens out considerably after Godstow Lock


The huge area of flood plains stretching to Oxford is perfect for walking the dog (and child!)


 A hire boat enters Godstow Lock - the abbey ruins can be seen in the background




Another boat-full of pirates, though mini versions this time 




P1290767   Wytham Village - cars and signs should be banned from spoiling such 'chocolate box' village scenes

Across Godstow Bridge is The Trout Inn, a very popular 17th century public house where you can sit out by the river, so of course it would've been rude for us not to visit the establishment and we went later in the evening to find it absolutely packed - well we though it was but the barman from Sydney said it was a quiet night considering that on Sundays it gets so busy there's standing room only.  The Inspector Morse television series was filmed here a number of times and they proudly display photographs of each series on their walls.

We didn't stay too late, just a couple of drinks each - it gets mighty expensive tasting the local ale in each place and we'll be running out of funds if we're not careful in the not too distant future!  So it was back to the boat for another game of cards in the week's tournament ...

On Friday we'll be heading into Oxford itself for yet more grocery shopping (oh for the luxury of a large fridge and deep freeze!) and another explore (or possibly a bit of a girlie shop!) before Kim leaves us either Saturday or Sunday.

P1290646A Scotch Thistle and hoverfly silhouetted against the very dry grass


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