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tomandsteph’s Travel Diary

Friday, 01 Dec 2006

Location: Various, England

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We visited Nick Newton in Oxford for a weekend. We were due to meet him around midday Saturday, but we didn't actually find our bus and leave London until then due partly to a few quiet Friday night beers!! We finally met Nick and set out on a guided tour of down town Oxford. It's a beautiful place, especially around Autumn with lots of big trees and leaves dropping. The highlight of the day was the visit to 'The Turf'. We followed Nick down a few backstreets, through a narrow little lane way, past some rubbish bins and found ourselves in the beergarden of a pearler of a little pub called 'The Turf'. The only signage indicating the presence of a pub along the way is where someone has scratched 'turf' into a small brick at the top of the alleyway. Obviously a popular hangout for students, it is also the place where Bob Hawke set a new world record for skulling the fastest pint during his studying days in Oxford. What a legend!! Only advice while at the turf, don't drink the old rosies cider, or horse piss, as it was quickly renamed. We struggled through the old rosies, had a lovely meal at an italian restaurant, another visit to the turf for a couple more and then back to Nick's for an early night.
Sunday was spent doing a spot of shopping around Oxford for the morning, then heading a few k's out of town to visit another pub for lunch on the banks of the Thames. At first we had no idea where the hell we were, but after driving for about 15 minutes along single lane country roads, we arrived at 'the perch', a beautiful old style English pub sitting a stones throw from the Thames. As inviting as the open fireplace and pints of Guinness were, Nick advised us that there was better to come, so we set off on a walk along the banks of the river. It was a great setting with fishermen dotted along the edge of the water with much more equipment than seemed necessary and the longest fishing rods that I'd ever seen. Getting all the gear there and back must have been some feat, but these guys looked like they lived to fish, although there wasn't much catching being done, so maybe they just lived to sit on the edge of the Thames and relax in a lovely country setting, can't blame them really!!
The walking track led us to 'the Trout', another pub nestled in against a loch along the Thames. Again, open fireplaces and an inviting warmth welcomed us and this time we settled in for a couple of quiet ones and a nice hot hearty lunch. With full bellies and a nice Guinness glow, the walk back was much slower and very cold, but it was a great experience to get out of London and see the English countryside. After heading back into town, we found one last Oxford pub, an O'Neills Irish bar showing the Wallabies v Ireland rugby test. We got flogged, so made a quiet and quick exit just prior to fulltime. It was great to catch up with Nick and have him show us around this beautiful and relaxing part of the world.
Due to the sudden and unexpected arrival of Chantell's landlord, we needed to find some short term accomodation quite quickly and the next week was spent between a hostel in Hammersmith in West London and a friends flat in Clapham in South London. A massive thanks has to go out to Keato and Emma for taking us in on short notice and letting us stay in their flat while they were away for the weekend.
Steph started her new job on the 20th November at Cabe, which is a government department responsible for architecture and building. Her role is Assistant to the General Manager's PA - ie... PAA!!!
We moved back into Peckham for a couple of days prior to moving out and the lease starting on our own place at the beginning of December. To celebrate the occasion, we did something different and stocked up with booze at the off licence and pissed off the neighbours one last time. Nursing hangovers, the next day was spent packing up, then catching a cab across town with all our gear and starting the next phase of out London time at Ealing Common.