It’s been a while since our last post as we have had no access to wifi for the past week or so.
After our first night in Banbury and brekkie we headed out for our 6 mile (9.6km) ride into town along the tow path. We were warned that it is a bit up and down and a bit muddy – yep on all counts. Sadly about half way along, my bike got a puncture.
We walked the bikes a little way before Dave decided to fix the hole (after dunking the wheel into the Oxford channel to remove the encrusted mud). We weren’t sure how far away from Banbury we were and the skies were starting to darken. Once fixed we were back on our bikes to find that we weren’t that far after all. We found the Wilko store that we were looking for and bought a few more things for Matilda. As we thought it was about to rain, we headed back to the Bo Peep MH park along the hilly road which was only 3 miles (4.8 kms) back. My legs are still shaking – I know it wasn’t a huge distance (14.4 kms) but I haven’t ridden a bike for awhile and my poor legs aren’t used to it. Dave was fine as he has been riding at home. Im happy to say it didn’t rain on the way home and 3 hours later still hasn’t rained although we are in for a very cold night.
Sleeping really well in retirement! We caught the bus to Banbury and had a lovely walk around, bought a few more bits and bobs for Matilda, walked along the Oxford canal and saw some lovely canal boats (narrow boats) which I think we could live in quite comfortably. I believe they are very expensive. Had a pint of beer in the Ye Old Reine Deer Inn which is an atmospheric pub where once Oliver Cromwell held court arranging future battles. Lovely old pub. We have come home exhausted again, need to slow down a bit. The weather has been very kind to us so far, although cold and sometimes windy, it has been dry. It did rain last night but we were warm and cosy in Matilda when it started. The sun is shining now and we are enjoying a cuppa listening to the birds twitter throughout the park.
Seems each day we venture to the shops to buy things for Matilda. We also had to return to Elite Motorhomes to have a couple of little things fixed, which were all attended to. After leaving there we drove to a lovely little village called Wroxton, the houses were lovely with the majority of them having thatched roofs. We had a nice walk around, with a visit to the local church as well as into the gardens of the University which is used primarily by American students. We also saw a house being re-roofed with thatch and spoke to one of the workmen about it. It was only a small house however it was going to take about one month to re-roof it. Such a skill when you watch how they get the thatch all even and tied down.
We had a lot of rain last night, lying in bed listening to the rain on the skylight kept both of us awake but that was fine, it’s not a noise we have heard for awhile. Unfortunately we had to go back to Elite today as there were a few minor things that needed fixing. As has been the case the whole time, they have been extremely professional and fixed everything without a problem. It has been raining off and on today and we agreed that our first day of rain would see us give Matilda a good clean, which we did manage, although I think it took us a bit longer than we thought. Another day has passed and again we have not had a chance to relax. We are off to Kidlington tomorrow and are meeting Joanna and Paul for lunch. Our stay at Bo Peep Caravan park has been a good one, it’s a great park with a very clean toilet block, a laundry and wi-fi! The only issue was the showers were a bit hit and miss with the temperature. The couple running the park were very friendly as have most of the people we have met to date. It is a huge park, with three areas you can park as well as a big storage area out the back for caravans and Motorhomes, however there is a waiting list.
Said goodbye to Bo Peep Caravan Park after breakfast and headed towards Kidlington. We don’t yet have a Sat Nav and are relying on an IPad app that Dave downloaded. It has gotten us to all of the places we have needed to get to although it is quite stressful. It can be slow to react to where we are so have made many wrong turns. The wrong turn today took us a couple of miles down a very busy highway, however we did get to our home for the next 6 nights which is a CL site that Lydz (Adventures in a Motorhome) recommended with plenty of time to spare before meeting up with Joanna and Paul. The idea was to get to The Trout Inn early for a walk, but after our detour, we were both feeling a bit frazzled so stayed put. Good job too, because Joanna and Paul were early. They had a quick look at Matilda before we headed off for a cuppa at the pub. We had a lovely lunch and three hours later said our goodbyes. It was only the second time we had met them both and was really great to catch up again.
We are now sitting in Matilda looking out the window at the local deer that are in the paddock next to our site.
Took the bus into Oxford the following day. What a beautiful place. Visited Christ Church Grammar school where the main staircase was used in one of the Harry Potter movies, the Philosophers Stone. Unfortunately the Great Hall was closed for roof repairs. This was used as the dining room in the first movie before Warner Bros built a set out at their site. It cost £5.50 each to get in and we did feel a bit cheated even though the actual Church on the site was open. There was a lead light window that is the last one with the figure of Thomas Beckett (with his face blanked out) who was murdered because he wouldn’t allow King Henry 8th to divorce his wife.
We walked around the town for a few hours visiting the Egyptian display in the museum. Had a pint at the Turf Tavern before a quick shop at Tesco and catching the bus home. Very tired!!
Awful weather last night, very windy and wet. Today is pretty much the same, so we decided it was a good day to sort a few minor issues out. Had we read some of the manuals we could have sorted these out days ago, however all is now at peace in Matilda. We ventured out for a walk in the afternoon along the tow path but it wasn’t really very pleasant so we turned around. Lucky for us as the second we got home the heavens opened up again. We had gone out without our wet weather pants so it would have taken days for our jeans to dry had we got caught. All good though. Elite Motorhomes gave us a bottle of champagne when we picked Matilda up so we are going to crack it tonight with dinner to celebrate 35 married years together. Cheers!!!!!
On the bus again to Oxford to do the Oxford Castle Unlocked guided tour which was very interesting, learning about the history of the castle including the prison that was operating up until 1996.
Had another walk around the town heading down to the Thames River. Couldn’t get onto the walk path that we wanted as you had to go through the botanical gardens. They were charging £4.95 each and the gardens weren’t even in bloom, so gave that a miss. Picked up a few more supplies at Tesco before heading home to a nice cosy van. Got home just before a few showers.
A wild windy night so our plans for today were changed somewhat. We went to Go Outdoors to buy the BBQ, small folding table and a few other things. Got onto the wrong road again, can’t wait until we get our Sat Nav! Ended up coming back to Matilda and tidying up. Think we finally have everything worked out and we are now extremely comfy. This afternoon is still very windy with the odd shower but we did venture down to Kidlington for a bit of a walk. The deer in the paddock next to us are in hiding because of the weather I think. Tomorrow we will definitely venture out as we only have one more full day here before we move on.
Visited Blenheim Palace and learnt a lot about the Dukes of Marlborough as well as Sir Winston Churchill. We did the interactive tour, “Blenheim Palace, the untold story” which I thought was quite good. The palace grounds are immense, with an Italian garden, a secret garden, a maze, a butterfly enclosure to name a few. The wind was bitterly cold however we did take a walk up to the column of victory which gave a very impressive view back to the estate.
We also had a walk around the village next door called Woodstock which was really nice, lots of old character buildings, as you would expect.
Time to leave the Caravan Club site in Kidlington – not! With all of the rain over the past few days as well as a dewy night, Matilda wasn’t going anywhere. Poor Dave, try as he might our girl wasn’t going to budge. Off to the office and assistance from the gentleman who is looking after the site. Sadly I didn’t get his name but he was a wealth of information. In his working life he used to sell caravans so kindly showed Dave where the screw in bolt with an eye on the end was to screw into the Bumper for towing. His Land Rover, after three attempts because the rope kept breaking dragged Matilda onto solid ground and we were free to go. Had a lovely drive to Burford stopping at Minster Lovell on the way, so many pretty little villages to see.
Before heading to the Caravan Club site in Burford we stopped in the old town for a wander around. We are now relaxing at the end of a slightly stressful day, a little bit wiser and a lot cleaner after our wonderful luxurious hot shower in the sites shower block. Heavy rain predicted tonight and we are off to Chipping Norton tomorrow for five nights.
Hope everyone has a happy and safe Easter.