A few days after L returned to Oxford for the Summer term (Trinity?), she realized that she needed some textbooks and folders that she had left at home. Being only 25 minutes away, it was no trouble to pop them in the car and sneak a day out. Carrying a great weight of books from the Park and Ride bus stop was a bit more of a challenge but was more than made up for by the promise of punting.
I have been punting once before in Cambridge but on that occasion I was a Puntee, rather than a Punter! This time I wanted to add it to my 50 New Things list, so I was going to have to have a go with the pole. J came along for the morning too, which, as well as being lovely to see him again, made it so much easier as he had done it before. Unlike at Cambridge where you stand on the flat bit at the end to punt (which I'm sure has a technical name!), in Oxford you actually stand in the boat. This was fortunate as it made it much less daunting - I'm not good with heights/ wobbly things. After torrential rain the day before, a bit of bailing out was necessary before we could set off but, at 10 am, we were lucky enough to have the Cherwell to ourselves. I took lots of photos but some were a little blurry - I like to think that was owing to the movement of the punt, rather than my poor photography skills!
There were ducklings:
... and goslings:
We saw a huge nesting box. Look at the Canada Goose to get an idea of the scale. Not sure what sort it was - maybe an owl box?
J started us off and then, when we came to an easier bit, L had a go. She is in her college rowing team, so has the arm strength and was a complete natural.
Then it was my turn. I was really proud that (a) I didn't fall in and (b) we didn't just revolve gracefully like 'The Brain of Pooh'. I can't claim that we moved particularly quickly but I can now claim that I have punted!
We moored for a quick snack and discovered that Canada Geese are rather partial to Jaffa Cakes (must be the smashing orangey bit).
It began to get a tad muddy in the punt.
A lovely time was had messing about on the water. Then, we went back to L&J's college to return the key to the boathouse.
I seem to remember that this was the stone table which inspired C.S. Lewis when he wrote 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe'. Seems a bit on the small side for sacrificing a lion though!
Last, but not least, we went for a yummy lunch at The Vault and Gardens overlooking this:
It was like being in an episode of Morse. I can't remember when I have enjoyed a morning more and we were so lucky with the weather - it poured down the day before and the day after. Many thanks to my Darling L and J for a glorious day. Now I'm off to have another little practice on Genevieve before next Wednesday!
Toodle Pip. x