Saturday, August 20, 2005

friday wrote mrs kipling

there are downsides to being on holiday and not having a clue what is going on in the world - not that weather reports are generally that accurate but if I had known it was going to pee down with rain I may not have chosen flip flops and a long floaty skirt on my shopping yesterday.

still, at least we got to use our ponchos ! (we're not proud).

did my shopping penance today - tottenham court road ! mutually agreed that being as it was raining and we couldn't be bothered to go far the best place was hamleys ! yay.

currently drying out in last hotel. Lion King soon so more later.

...Time passes....(much) rain falls..

Fantastic! - Lion King is a high energy, cleverly adapted show with amazing costumes, including a giant elephant with 4 people inside. A must see, brought tears to our eyes.
what a way to finish.

its been fun - hope you've enjoyed it too.

we'll leave this up for a bit and then no doubt will find some other exploits to enthrall....... probably uganda next year if martyns idea for a portable solar charger works year ahead then !


Friday, August 19, 2005

Thursday wrote mr kipling..... Visited Madame Tussauds for the first time in about ten years... and then remembered why this was. All the people there were completely different from last time as you'd expect, but then came the clincher... Remember the London Planetarium you might have visited as a kid? those fantastic stars and photographs of planetary landscapes?.. that projection contraption that looked like a giant ant, and those comfy seats? well remember it well Anakin, for it is no longer. Yes that's right, what once was at least an hour of stunning photography and an educational experience is now (in my opinion) A 10minuite 1/2 an imax film (the top 180 degrees) that is hard to watch sitting on the new high tech - low comfort benches.. I couldn't even see it that well.. I'm gutted and so is kay, last time we visited one of these she fell asleep!, It would appear that its been subsumed into the waxworks as well, as it doesn't look like its a separate venue in its own right any longer.

that lot, and the fact that having found our way along 180 miles of the thames path (admittedly very well signposted) we got lost trying to find it did not make for a happy martyn as you can probably tell !
still, looking on the bright side, it was cooler in there than it was outside - and I stayed awake !

what may well have provided additional stress and made mart even more miffed with the wax works is the fact that it didn't take us that long to get round so there was more time for shopping ! which actually was more important than you may think if the whole of the lyceum theatre is to be able to sit in close quarters with us (we don't smell so bad but our clothes ......)

never mind marty - hopefully the half a cow you ate for dinner helped a bit ! (kay ate the other half).


Wednesday, August 17, 2005

day - whatever plus umm two.....

guess where we ended up today !

we made it - yahoo and other suitably cheerful phrases.

of course - having managed to meet brother for lunch we cheated for the very last time and got on a boat to grenwich pier - well, we thought we should finish in the style to which we have become accustomed !

its still quite a way from the pier to the barrier though as we were good and walked all around the peninsula bit instead of cutting the corner off - which I told martyn was cheating (boats of course do not count !)

anyway, we made it in time to discover that the visitor centre etc was closed - great but never mind , feeling very proud and with suddenly very tired legs we headed off to the bus stop.

what do you call the driver of the 177 bus as he drives straight past you without even slowing down whe you are frantically waving at him ? I know the answer but its not printable.

so we set off to walk to the hotel. which seemed like a very long way even thoug it was probably just a mile.

this last opportunity gave us the chance to ponder some of those deep and meaningful questions that have plagued us as we've trudged the last 180 ish miles......things like...
1) are mute swans called that because they can't make sounds ?
2) at night when swans sleep on the river do they float downstream and end up lost and confused ?
3) why do cows always congregate across a footpath or around a stile or gate ?
4) what is the difference between a red, blue, and white police car?
5) why are the last two miles of the day so much further than the previous ten?
6) if kay has shorter legs than martyn and has therefore taken more steps has she walked further than him?
7) how do they build and install the huge concrete pillars that support the bridges - why don't they sink into the sludgy bottom of the river ? (that one was martyns)
8) why do gadgets batteries always need recharging and crucial points ?
9) why do people always manage to bash into kays rucksack nearly knocking her over but seem to take a wide berth around martyn
10)what was the man doing carrying a portion of chips around in a handbag and last but not least.......

how cool would it be to win an award for outstanding use of concrete from the concrete society (as witnessed today at the barrier)

well anyway, that's it, we're done. 2 days left to be tacky tourists in london - not sure if we'll blog anymore or not.

better try and post this now - hope the battery holds out......


Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Day whatever + 1: Hammersmith to Pimlico

A slightly delayed start today, we overslept! Breakfast was 'inc' this morning, so we donned our boots yet again (eugh!) and marched on..

As we observed the other day, the river is much wider, and there are far less boats.

We spent much of the day at the 'London Wetlands Centre', an amazing wildlife centre built from the remains of a redundant resevoir in the london suburbs. Well worth a visit, with many rare and beautiful birds in a natural habitat.

had lunch with three lovely ladies in an area for water voles. they said we looked like we had been walking for a long time - we didn't think we smelt that bad but ..........

after lunch we realised it was so warm my poncho had melted - not much but enough.
we were going to meet my brother for dinner but couldn't quite walk fast enough so scrapped that idea. instead we made it to our room for the night - feet went on strike so for only the second time this holiday we rang for room service and for the first time this holiday we watched tv.

kind of reassuring that not much has changed in two and a bit weeks - still nothing on tv !!

tomorrow should with a bit of luck see the thames barrier.


Monday, August 15, 2005

day - whatever

well, breakfast was not inc this morning so we packed up and headed off for a breakfast bagel at maccy d's. perfect for curing our sake hangovers - one shot between the pair of us so that we could say we'd tried it - didn't know it was served hot. I don't think the waitress knew what to make of my gurning attempts as I tried frantically to swallow.

breakfast done we wandered along side our favourite river for three hours until we came to kew gardens. We're noticing a pattern this holiday - eat , walk, eat, walk, nurse feet , eat ,sleep. What will we do with ourselves when we get home ?

anyway, river is now distinctly less prettty and the tide was out as well so much crud along the banks but we did see numerous squirrels, more heron, cormorants and a water vole / rat thing. Oh and martyn spent 5 mins watching a cool james bond style bridge with barriers that got lowered down to stop the river flow - to keep water in the upper part of the thames whilst the tide was out.

.....and kew was great as always. Interstingly there was some glass sculpture art on disply by david chihuly. Uh oh thought mart and I as we are not hugely good with modern art but this was really impressive and integrated well with the planting - made kew even more interesting.

we tried out a talking tree too - they are piloting this new thing where you walk up to a tree, dial a phone number and get lots of info on the tree - quite cool but we think an audio guide might be better- although my ears are only just returning to normal having worn one of those around hampton court yesterday.

after lunch and much meandering through the gardens it was on to hammersmith bridge and our hotel - it seemed like a long way to get here - I'd forgotten to include wandering around the gardens in my mileage count so feet ache even more than usual today ! so in order to rest them we've sat down for dinner and guess what - its pub quiz night. We haven't entered just as well really as we're rubbish (especially the sports round and mart was really upset as he couldn't get a single music round one!)

but I've just heard that I got my film quote round question right - impressed martyn with the knowledge that 'frankly my dear I don't give a damn' was rhett butler in Gone with the Wind and martyn got 'i feel the need,the need for speed' as maverick and goose from top gun so on that high note we're off......but also because they are now playing some really cheesy music !!!!


Sunday, August 14, 2005

Day 16 - I think but who cares!.

If there was a title for todays entry it would be 'Sushi and the man with chips in his handbag'

Spent a day roaming Hampton court Palace today, much walking but mostly under instructions from one of those talking tourguide things round your neck. Hampton court truly is huge, and (with many of my waking hours thinking about food) I noted that the kitchens they had back in Henry VIIIl's time were fantastic- about the size of a football pitch to be precise. I also noticed that if you type in the wrong room number into the audio tour gizmo 9 times out of 10 you don't notice - that was until it said 'go up the stairs to your left' - there were no stairs, but the random selection of commentary matched the room I was in quite nicely.

We also demonstrated why I always drive the car but don't try to navigate today - HC has a pretty 'maze' built into the gardens. The starting notice even has a map of it which I expertly stored in my photographic memory, and then promptly steered us into a dead end. K however just sneered, and guided us with only one more wrong turn straight to the middle, then lost all the cool-points she had scored by then asking where the exit was, having passed it not 10 seconds previously. ha ha!

Later on our way to the cafe we did indeed pass a more mature japanese man carrying a leather handbag, with a 'go-large' portion of mc donalds best fries neatly placed within it. Whether this was a carefully planned carbohydrate tipple for his walk round the estate, or a joke by his family we can only speculate...

We completed the tour of all the rooms, apartments etc and continued back to kingston for dinner via a pretty walk through the gardens and estate meadows.

Stopped off in kingston to see a screening of 'The Island' at the cinema, with wait for it... allocated seats.. wow. The film wasn't too bad either, plenty to keep me occupied and some trace of a plot, though no budget left for a twist in the tail after they paid for all the cars, trains and helicopters they wrecked. Not such a hit in the US for some reason, shame.

Finished today off with an entertaining dinner in the local sushi bar... yet more conveyor belts, but this time with food dishes on, and too small to ride on.

We resume our treck tomorrow, our destination Hammersmith (we think!?) via kew gardens.


Saturday, August 13, 2005

day - we've lost count and I think I got it wrong yesterday - martyn thinks 14 so we'll go with that.

only a little walk today - 6 and a bit miles through sunbury and molesy to hampton court. Highlights of the day include viewing sunbury regatta from the opposite bank and walking through the concrete bollards of the old ww2 anti tank defenses. We did find a cool sundial in hurst park though - you had to stand on it and use your own shadow to work out the time. We reckon it was half an hour out.

Have realised I missed some things off my wildlife list yesterday - have also seen cormorants, red kites and fish (lots of little ones and three big ones - they must be the ones that got away.)

made it to hampton court palace for lunch and found our hotel about ten mins before the rain came on. A dry patch saw us dash to kingston for dinner. Hopefully it will not be too wet tomorrow - one feels ones distinctly tatty and a little tacky plastic peruvian poncho will not blend well with the posh umbrellas here !

no photos today - martyn thinks this is a good thing as he doesn't know how much they cost to upload. He neglected to tell me this before now - holiday relatively cheap but bankrupted by a gadget (story of my married life ! gotta love it).

Anyway - soggy pictures of hampton court palace tomorrow so more then. As we said as we passed under walton bridge today - g'night jim bob.

PS had to go on a boat again today but it doesn't count as cheating - decided to get ferry across the thames but the guide book said it was an option (I'm sounding very defensive now aren't I ?! .........)


Friday, August 12, 2005

day 14 - windsor to shepperton.

last day of cheating today - we got the boat to runnymede. Made up for this by walking four miles around the site and also walking to america ! - those of you in the know will remember that the queen donated the acre of land the jfk memorial is on to america - we were okay though - apparently they are good enough to assume we were pilgrims and so didn't require a retinal eye scan.

Of course we also saw the american bar association magna carta memorial but perhaps the most memorable part of the day was the air force memorial at the top of Coopers Hill - dedicated to 20 000 airforce servicemen who died in ww2 and have no known grave. We had a quiet contemplative few moments there. Anyone thinking of visiting runnymede should definately make the effort to walk there.

All in all the area is an interesting place with many important and poignant reminders of the importance and cost of freedom.

To lighter things though (or not as the case may be) Martyn has until now refused to concede any comment relating to him being in any way a 'wide load' unfortunately he had to admit defeat with this 'gate'. Apparently it was his shoulders that caused the problem !

Kay needs to remember all the wildlife seen so far so here's a list
himalayan balsam (the pink flower isabel !), yellow frilled lily, stoat, heron, rabbits, deer, wagtails, great crested grebe, coots, moorhen, mallards, canada geese, cows (lots, some with horns), bulls (big ones), mute swans, banded demoiselle ( a type of damselfly), common blue butterfly and an orange butterfly I can't remember the name of oh, and a parakeet - they were bought over from asia and apparently like the area of the thames around windsor (no i'm not joking - we saw one in windsor great park) also seen many caterpillars and slugs and an albino slug - not kidding it was white (couldn't see its eyes though)- have photo as proof jon..
There was some delay to our walk today as Kay found a nature board and had to identify everything.

Slight sadness tinged our walk today. We passed under the M25 and the M3 and passed a coal post and stone indicating we have reached the old upstream boundary of london. We also passed through our last bit of thameside meadow today so from here on in civilisation returns.

Also Martyn is upset as he has realised shepperton studios are nearby but they don't seem to do tours so he will have to spend the extra time tomorrow enjoying my circular walk around hampton court !

Good news though - apparently our building work is done.

Well we are now ensconced in tonights accomodation - the anchor in shepperton - apparently another favourite haunt of dick turpin (he also liked the olde bell in hurley it seems) anyway, full tummies and sore feet so off to recover. More tomorrow from hampton court.


Thursday, August 11, 2005

Day 13 - 'Kay and the fuzzy hat men'

just before we get on to our exploits with a serious castle I felt I had to mention camelot - which we came across yesterday.....

doesn't look so bad in the picture but believe me - 'tis a silly place !

We explored windsor today, one of those strange things isn't it, you travel all over the world, but you never properly explore what's on your doorstep. (well *our* doorstep hopefully is covered in plaster and builders footprints ......but you know what we mean).

We did a small circular walk around Eton and the town this morning using our other walking book that we had in case we didn't do the thames path. Passed a number of bridges built by that clever 'Brunel' chap, they looked as if they will be here for a good while yet looking at the quality of the construction of them...

Three things surprised mart today: 1) the fact that windsor castle started off as a wooden keep 2) that the windsor 'long walk' is actually 'very' long and 3) the sarnies you can buy here are HUGE!.

You wouldn't believe that almost 1/3 of the place was destroyed by fire in 1992 either, the restoration is amazing, and they even re-designed the bits they didn't like. Kay couldn't remember the proper name for the royal guards.. the fuzzy hat men!

Walked through endless corridors, rooms and more rooms. Kay protested that she couldn't buy anything because we'd have to carry it!..

Later in the afternoon we walked the windsor long walk that runs for 3 miles completely straight from the castle, there a statue of George III at the end of it on his horse.

three things that surprised kay today 1) how astonishingly awful some of the royal china is 2) how expensive the christmas decorations on sale in the castle are and 3) the fact that we are now on page 15 of our 19 maps so we must be nearly there now !

More tomorrow, and more boats then too (probably)... (definately says kay who has been planning again !)


Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Day 11 (we think) Hurley to Windsor (maam). We think she's here because the flag is flying..either that or its out to dry because they washed it. Speaking of which kay has turned our already v small hotel room into something of a chinese laundry - something to do with our socks being able to walk by themselves I think.....

Bit of downsizing today, from the *largest* hotel room we have ever seen (thanks liz), to possibly the smallest tonight in windsor. This brings me convieniently back to the subject of our b&b room the other night in Henley.

I believe it to be an early prototype of Dr Who's Tardis. From the outside it looks like a wardrobe, but open the doors and inside is a shower cubicle and a toilet. Amazing. Unfortunatley I was not there long enough to master the time machine controls, sadly only managed hot and cold water, and not intergalactic time travel. never mind.

Today we thought that we'd do some actual walking for a change, due to a fair amount of stick we've been getting online here.

So after a very late night - but at least kay managed to complete one of her su-doku puzzles (i didn't know my wife knew so many rude words - apparently these things develop patience....... personally i've yet to witness this) we awoke to a slightly cloudy day.

After stocking up on some sarnies for a lunch on the way, we set out at a brisk pace in the cool of the morn in order to 'rendevous' with yet another sneaky boat ride at maidenhead. Saw many a fine residence along the way, including some fancy new 'beach house' style ones , marred only slightly we feel by the mainline railway passing, ooh about 5 feet from them.

Kay set a blinding pace (K: no i didn't - we just went faster with lighter bags !), so much so that we had to stop for lunch at 11.45 (sounds familiar doesn't it). still after a quick read of our books.. yes Mart reading a novel, nothing to do with web-services or databases in sight (I must be ill) we set off again.

Passed through serveral riverside fields populated by cows. Expecting K to put on her lets-get-the-heck-out-of-here-before-they-eat-us-for-lunch pace, she pronounced that they 'look like friendly cows', she patted one on the nose and we continued.

we passed the man swimming from lechlade to teddington today - he's doing it to raise money for motor neurone disease and you can find out more at - some of you said we should have got sponsored for our little jaunt but as you've no doubt read we're rotten cheats and he's doing it properly so if you have some spare cash in your pockets please send it his way.

Our olympic pace resulted in us covering the remaining distance to maidenhead before 2pm, so I resorted to my book again, and K to the puzzlebook, sitting quietly for a few moments before uttering the odd word at random while concentrating very hard on her wordsearch......

Tomorrow...well we just don't know, more dastardly plans and more boats...probably then.

we do at least have a day off tomorrow - time to be a tourist in windsor.


Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Day 10 - Henley to Hurley (no liz)

just a baby walk today - six and a bit miles so we wandered into henley to buy lunch and then meandered very slowly along the riverbank whilst I astounded martyn with my rowing knowledge (most of which I gleaned from the museum yesterday but which provided very useful cover for me to ogle the rowers nice shoulders !)

I tried to distract him further by motivating him with the thought of a naked lady on an island at the end if the regatta course but then I let slip that she is a statue - martyn was less than impressed.

having stopped for lunch at hambledon lock we wandered further passed an old millhouse - now converted into flats but still pretty

after this point it began to get very warm - we are discovering the hazards of walking one way along a river in lovely sunshine - our right hand sides are getting somewhat tanned whilst the left is nice and pale. I tried to convince mart that to rectify this problem we would have to walk upstream from the thames barrier to get home. His reply is not printable ! we decided to slap on more suntan lotion instead.

funny conversation for the day happened about a mile and a half from hurley, after the very pretty culham court and flowerpot inn (flobba dob little weeed). we met a very nice old man who said
'Have you seen two dogs?' mart replied
'only with a lady. Have you lost one of those as well?' to be met with
'er yes. Which way did the dogs go?'

remind me not to let martyn get any pets in later life ! well it seemed funny at the time - I think it loses something in print but hey..

well we're pleasantly ensconced in ye olde bell inn for the night with our puzzle books (lighter to carry than a novel and came with a free pen - bargain). we are now down to one puzzle book as i'm saving the sudoku one for toilet paper. I think they must be like marmite - love it or hate it , guess which applies to me !

looking forward to a long day tomorrow as we have to walk to maidenhead by four thirty to catch the boat down to windsor.


Monday, August 08, 2005

Day 9 - Reading to Henley.

Awoke to a nice hotel breakfast and a newspaper this morning, stuff the camping lark. Realised that although we'd been skilful in selecting a nice hotel for tomorrow night, neither of us could find the piece of paper with the name or address of it on. Still after a moment of amused panic, I realised that I had yet another chance to bankrupt myself by using Google on this handy Treo 600 to look it up. Hey presto, one hotel and even a picture of it. I don't care what the bill comes to for this thing while we're away, I'll just shove it in the kitchen drawer when it comes like that bloke on bank-of-mum-and-dad.

Meanwhile we boarded yet another boat this time bound for henley.

Much sunshine later (M: kay has a burnt right shoulder.. ha ha I put sun-lotion on) (K: he didn't put any on his nose though and its pinker than my shoulder and has already peeled once - so attractive ! ) we arrived at Henley, home to the Henley Regatta, and a natty Rowing Museum.

This was after listening to a lady discussing on the boat where all the famous people live along the thames.. we gave up listening at '... and there is Anthony Worral-Thompsons house, you can still see the television cables there on the riverbank...' I looked exitedly at the riverbank only to see one end of the television cable attached to a water-tap. Water powered TV.. blimey, I think Anthony must be on to something....

Not only did we spend 3 rather absorbing hours at the rowing museum, they also had a cool 'Wind in the Willows' exhibition, where the original story of Mole, Ratty (not the wife, the other type), Toad and Badger... brilliant. (K: i'm really quite concerned about my husbands education so far - he didnlt seem to know much about about these characters and his mother was known to call it the 'wind in the willies' exhibit - she'll not thank me for posting this but it might explain marts lack of knowledge. I don't know - alice in wonderland in oxford, wind in the willows in henley - what other literary delights await ?

We did do a little walking today, Kay found a nice random footpath today at the rowing museam...

We also got our first comments from our holiday-blog reader (the only one there is probably).

Tomorrow, on to Hurley... -Sadly kay tells me that Liz doesn't live there... what a con.

of course if martyn spent more time flicking through gossip mags than he spends choosing gadget mags he could have had a nice oggle at liz on her holiday in her bikini which of course would be better than staring at her empty house in a village where she doesn't live

anyway - better go as my techno success vibe is running out for the day - just pressed wrong button and had to be rescued by martyn (such humiliation !).


Sunday, August 07, 2005

Day 8 - Burghfield to Reading (!).

Refreshed after our brief stop, we left with fresh supplies of clothing (most important), no tent, no sleeping bags, and no other camping gear to weigh us down!.

By far the best way to get into central Reading on foot is to follow the canal path along the Kennet and Avon canal. We picked it up at the cunning man pub (after a brief stop for refreshment), and continued on into town.

The path goes on past the point when the canal meets the Oracle shopping centre, passing some pretty houses with gardens that go right down to the canal edge.

Todays interesting creature was a stripey caterpillar!

Tomorrow, we make for Henley by boat once more on the Thames.


Saturday, August 06, 2005

day 7 - a trip to see the rarer wildlife along the thames (not) - martyn said he'd take me back to my roots so we went to monkey world in Dorset for the day. (no, we didn't walk there)

After a not inconsiderable amount of time spent in traffic, and some impressive gymnastics to move from the front passenger seat to the back seat so we could get to our lunch (cunningly left in the boot) we arrived at this very cool place.

spent much fun time viewing the chimps, gibbons, lemurs, orang - utans, macaques, squirrel monkeys, woolly monkeys and others we are now the proud adoptive parents of a chimp called - guess what - kay ! no i'm not joking ! cool huh.

(mart: the simularities are quite shocking)

knew it was time to go home when kay (the human one ) started doing her funky gibbon impression (anyone else remember that song ?).

now sat in pub - food arrived so more tomorrow from the thames path again! gotta go before martyn eats all my dinner.

Moral for the day: only have one woman in the car doing the navigating. Even when one of them is TomTom navigator, they do tend to argue with each other as to the best way to go.


Friday, August 05, 2005

day 7 - wittenham to ermmmm burghfield common (ahem).
yes well - unscheduled stop facilitated bya car journey home and caused by waking up to rain, sore legs and a very sore throat this morning.
Hotel parents had another booking tonight so we had to move on somewhere and quite frankly my legs were going nowhere manually !

Anyway after sleeping the day away in my own bed I felt much better and we managed to replan the rest of our trip with slightly more luxurious accomodation which means we can leave the heavy camping gear at home and just walk with our daysacks. Martyn is I believe secretly very pleased - not all that keen on the dehydrated food and far more appreciative of tonights indian take away !

so, tomorrow we're off shopping (we have realised that many other important items were in our missing laundry bag). Whilst we have friends who advocate the wet n dry approach to underwear - meaning you only theoretically need two pairs - we feel this may be more suited to a week in the congo than rural england !

still our trip home did mean that we were able to give said friends a lift to their train - they're off to attempt a summit of kilimanjaro - who is the more mad I wonder (180 miles along versus almost 6 km up) - we're as bad as each other probably but they only get one shot at it - good luck to them !

our unscheduled stop also meant we could check up on our building work - due to be finsihed before we left , extended to yesterday and you guessed it - diddly squat done so far.

no photo today but we're off for a day out somewhere tomorrow before we start again on sunday - and don't panic we're not completely cheating - our replan does include doing the bits we've missed out....... more tomorrow


Thursday, August 04, 2005

Thursday - Day 6. A nice peaceful morning on the river. Took the Salter brothers river cruise from Oxford to Abingdon, weaving its way like the 30 ton beast that it is. Interestingly (or crucially if you're a 30 ton boat), the river is much wider here and there is quite a bit more boat traffic.

Kay also notes that Salters also do a number of other services to other towns on our route to London... we will be using some of them as well I feel....

At Abingdon we continue our walk towards Wallingford, via a welcome parents house and free-washing-service at Long Wittenham.

At this point our day takes an unexpected turn... it would appear that we have been separated from our laundry, possibly by an over-keen hotel room cleaner, who perhaps mistook the smelly bag of washing for a bag of rubbish.. quite easy really!

So tomorrow we're off to Wallingford, refreshed by the thought of all those clean socks we've been and bought!


Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Day 5 - Oxford to um Oxford.

Stepped outside this morning into warm sunshine, and had a continental breakfast at the cafe across the road.

Back on schedule today, investigated the boat trip itinerary for tomorrow's little 'cheat' down the river to Abingdon.

Demonstrated my skills as a tourguide today, getting us completely dis-orientated in the centre of the town where I grew up as a lad. Managed to find a tourist map and we continued our journey in a more suitable style.. of a pedalo. (The Punt of course being the traditional mode of river transport in Oxford, but frankly I was not willing to demonstrate my hopeless sense of balance, nor fall in the river.)

We spent a peaceful twenty five minutes pedal-powering our way from the town, out towards the parts of the thames that we would have seen had we continued this way by foot yesterday.

Our tranquil journey was interrupted only by the desision that our boat-pedalo-craft was not really fit to take on the comlexities of Osney Lock, so we turned around only to see 5 rowing boats on the way back under the supervision of some foreign students who clearly had a) not understood their brief introduction to rowing b) did not know the front of their boat from the back, and finally thought it was 'cool' to stand up as well as get in our way... the sight of them trying to take on two narrowboats was too much to bear, so we left for a look around Oxford University.

Saw Christchurch, and the Bodleian Library, learned all sorts of interesting stuff about the establishment of both

Being a bloke of course, all I can recall is that there is a rather cool underground conveyor belt that is used to transport books from one library building to the other.. want one.


Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Day 4 - Tadpole bridge to ... er Oxford. What an interesting day we have had. Started early morning at 8.45, a cool mist greeted us as we started our walk.

Despite looking like a kayak, the orange bag is a 'survival bag'. Apparently for use in emergencies. Well apart from burning it, I don't see what use it would have been in helping us with our emergency last night - not sure if it is the cooker or the waterproof matches but eventually we made enough heat to cook dinner.

anyway - the morning saw two boats and er..... that was it. beautiful meadows to walk through - we stepped back in time to olde england for a while.

we disturbed one or two more herons and kay picked up a small hitch hiker in the form of a nice green caterpillar which we managed to convince to enjoy the delights of green plants and not white t shirts !

indiana jones impressions were done on the last stretch just before open fields to newbridge. a 'wooded section' the book called it - we're off to uganda next year and quite frankly I think bwindi impenetrable forest will be easier. head high stinging nettles, brambles hanging like lianas in the gaps and across the path and , a path that is six inches narrower than person plus daysack let alone 65 litre rucksacks made for an interesting section of the walk. kay however got her own back - today it was martyn in shorts - its alright she said as she forged ahead - they stop just up here (oops!).

Later in the afternoon we played chicken with a load of cows in a field, where they decided to block our way through the field, and we charged half the way over the field and hid on a bridge while cunning mart thought of another plan. Meantime they penned us in on the bridge, and we acted all 'cool' on the bridge while the boats passed by. The cows soon got bored so we made our escape.

For anyone thinking of walking the Thames path, note that the Ferryman Inn is closed on tuesdays.. our feet hurt at the prospect of walking another 5 miles, so we got a bus to oxford, had some nice dinner and are now staying in an even nicer hotel!....

Day 3 - letchlade to the trout inn (again). Yes there are two trout inns one after the other!. Not so original with their names round these parts. Saw some herons today, a very large bull (in all departments). Why do cows always congregate near the style that leads out of the field??. Kay was propositioned by an elderly gentleman today from his river boat: 'I say.are you going all the way?'.... she wasn't sure how to respond to that. Lots of bunnies today too, and we helped out the lock-keeper at a lock today.

Not enough battery for much more blogging, until we find somewhere to plug in and charge up.. that's it for now.