Last week, or it might have been the week before – I lost track over Christmas – the Girl and I went to Oxford. She had the loan of a car for a few days and, having passed her test over a year ago but not having driven much, she wanted to do a longer drive.
On the way, we left the motorway at the first exit and, as we were driving along a very unremarkable road, spotted this house with a model shark crashing through its roof. It’s quite famous and I’d seen pictures before, but it was still fun to see it unexpectedly. The Girl, who’d never heard of it, thought it was pretty cool. I expect the neighbours have got used to it now but there were a lot of objections when it first went up.
We both work at universities in London, so we should have known that anything to do with Oxford University was likely to be mainly CLOSED during the vacation. Nevertheless, we managed to dawdle our way around town quite successfully as it wasn’t raining. We did have to go inside a few times though.
This is a rather wonderful shop called Objects of Use, which sells rather old fashioned household items. I’m a fan of the kind of wood and natural fibre washing up brushes we used to have at home when I was growing up. They’re cheap, totally recyclable, and have heads that can be replaced, so I happily bought two and some spare heads for under a fiver.
To anyone who has attended a campus university, as both of us did, the idea of a university whose colleges and libraries fill a town amongst normal dwellings and businesses is quite odd. I loved my campus being self-contained. However, it does make for a beautiful city in Oxford.
It has been raining in the UK more or less constantly for what seems like months. Evidence was everywhere with flooded roads, allotments, cricket pitches and the River Cherwell being close to bursting its banks by the Botanical Garden. You wouldn’t want to punt in this weather.
Met Office records show that 2012 was ‘the second wettest year since records began’ (their records arbitrarily start in 1910 – records have actually been kept since the 1700s apparently). As someone remarked on Twitter, that is such a very British statistic.
Finally, cold and tired, we stopped for tea and scones at the lovely Grand Cafe, which has been the site of a coffee shop since 1650, before heading home. More about that in another post.