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 ...

Sunday 28 June 2009

Awayday to Oxford

A lovely day spent with my daughter Kim and catching up with friends I haven’t seen for many years. And of course Barry got to see Oxford and take some more cool photos.
We managed to wake up, get ready and leave the boat on time to get the train at 0925, but then got a little ambitious and walked a different way to the Train Station and got a little lost! After a bit of a panic and a sprint once we asked directions, we arrived in time to pick up our tickets and catch the train – phew! Our special offer of £18 each return was only if we caught that particular train, so the heat was on. Our next getting lost was in Oxford.
I called my friend Lesley for directions, but we must’ve taken a wrong turn before we’d got 100 yards and Mark, her husband, came to find us on his bicycle. A very pleasant walk along the canal in Oxford and 10 minutes later we were with Lesley. Fabulous to see her again, we worked together at The Royal Free in London when I initially returned from New Zealand in 2001. Kim joined us just after 12, looking gorgeous as usual, and we made our way into Oxford, guided thankfully by Mark’s map so we wouldn’t get lost for a third time!

Kim, Sandra & Lesley

Barry, Sandra, Lesley & Mark

Lesley & Mark's back garden

Apartments along the canal walk back into Oxford town

Some brightly coloured flowers beside the towpath

We found a boat for Kim!

A hot Sunday in Oxford is going to be busy!

Beautiful buildings everywhere
We walked through Oxford to Christ Church Meadows and sat by the river for a picnic lunch. It’s been a beautiful, warm and sunny day, though very humid. There we met up with Sarah, another previous midwifery colleague from my time in Birmingham, and had a catch up on what she's been up to – sadly we missed the opportunity to take a photo which is a shame.

Christ Church College main entrance

Kim and Sandra entering Christ Church Gardens

The side entrance

People and geese everywhere
He has that Oxford look of intelligence

This guy doesn't though, swam across the Thames and back.

All sorts of craft out boating
We then had a scout around Oxford and saw some amazing buildings, with the sky at one stage looking like the one in the film ‘Ghost Busters’ when they were on the top of the building at the end – very surreal and spooky! Feeling rather hot and sticky, we then found a pub along a little alleyway and had a jug of Pimms and Lemonade, very refreshing!

Now for a look around the town!

Lovely church tower through Christ Church Meadows

Ivy covered building. 'Please keep off the grass!'

Sandra cheered and clapped when a girl came out to bat. Bowled out on the first ball!

A bit Gothic looking

Even a simple clock tower has to be over the top

Oxford is the city of spires, they're everywhere

Gargoyles of all shapes and sizes along the rooflines

The bridge of sighs

You have to go through a tiny alleyway to find this pub, we found it by chance. It was really busy, apparently a famous Oxford drinking tavern

The Radcliffe Camera, (the word means simply "room") was built 1737-1749.
Originally a library to house both scientific and general books
Now a reading room for the library

The spires of 'All Souls College'

'All Souls College' from the main entrance. Definately keep off the grass

The main gate

University Church of St Mary The Virgin
Later on, Kim persuaded us to try some ‘KrisyKreme Doughnuts’ – a recent phenomenon from guess where? Of course, The U S of A! Ah well, I haven’t had a doughnut for years and I’m sure I’ll work it off on locks over the coming weeks! The cafe was by Oxford Castle, where there is also a hotel that used to be a prison and the rooms are the previous cells which must be amazing, though it looked terribly expensive! ( It was great to see Kim, even for a short while, I wish we could see each other more frequently.

Oxford Castle

Goodness knows what this building is!

Around 5.45 we returned to Lesley's where Kim had parked her car, and had a glass of New Zealand Montana Sauvignon Blanc - very nice! It was hard to leave, still so much to chat about in the world of midwfery - poor Kim, she used to get stuck with me and 'muddles' of midwives (what do you call a collection of midwives??) who don't stop talking when she was growing up, it must be so very boring to have to listen to passionate midwives who want to change the world all the time!! I'm pretty certain that I've learnt now (after 22 years!) that I can't change that world, but it still pulls me in when I get together with like-minded souls.

The walk back to Lesley & Mark's along the Oxford Canal

Sadly we won't come along this stretch on our journey

The front of 'The Crescent', the building where Lesley & Mark live

We managed to leave with just enough time to get to the Station for our return journey and arrived back to the Canal Basin to find that Northern Pride had survived the day in Coventry without us – it looked as though it had rained heavily here but we missed it in Oxford.
I’m going to go for a visit to Primark in Coventry tomorrow; a very cheap clothing chain store found in most towns in England. With all this gorgeous weather I want to try and find a couple of strapless tops to wear on sunny days so I can get a suntan whilst driving the boat but not have strap marks! Once that’s done, we’ll be heading out of Coventry – back along the detritus strewn canal and up towards Nuneaton where I’ll hopefully catch up with another friend! We have a list of people around England that Barry and/or I know and we’d like to meet up with as many of them as possible during our time here, as well as spending quality time with family whenever possible.


  1. Good luck with your heat wave. Us fellahs in Gizzy are about to get locked in. Roads all around us are being closed due to flooding already and there is a heavy rain warning for the next 10 hours. Had to close my school yesterday and looks the same will happen tomorrow.

    Looks like you are getting an edjamcation in Oxford lets hope you don't become so culturally possessed that you come back all snotty nosed eh bro???

    Have fun and keep the blog up.

  2. ps It took 6 goes to successfully log the comment. Could be a major reason why you don't get many comments!!