The reason we embarked on our there and back again journey along the South Oxford Canal was to enable me to visit a friend from Cornwall whom I haven’t seen for the best part of thirty years. Jane lives on her narrowboat Flower on the canal at Kirtlington and runs a delightful canalside tea garden. It’s not open in winter so we couldn’t see it in operation but she sent me this photo of it in the spring. What a gorgeous setting.
It was wonderful to see her again and we spent so much time catching up on 30 years’ worth of gossip that I didn’t get around to taking many photos. I did manage to catch her feeding her doves. A visit next year when the tea room is in full operation is definitely in our plans.
Along the way the Oxford canal has come to be one of our absolute favourites.
Apart from the fact that it’s very beautiful and, in parts, wonderfully isolated, we’ve seen so many quirky and interesting things – and that’s without going down to Thrupp and Oxford.
In no particular order there’s the homicidal bunny at Aynho..
….Ye Olde Reindeer Inn in Banbury where we spent a wonderful Friday evening listening to folk music and drinking way too much wine….
…this wonderful piece of sign writing on nb Troll
… clearly visible medieval ridge and furrow field systems.
…and the unique Wharf Inn at Fenny Compton where you can get drunk while you do your shopping, your laundry or get your hair done. In the beer garden we met and had a couple of drinks with, Jill and John from nb Butty Lark with their lovely dog Fred. They’d come to do their laundry and, like Gordon the week before, stayed to drink a few more beers than they originally intended.
Fred from nb Butty Lark comes up to bark goodbye as we leave Fenny Compton to head back to Braunston
The Wharf Inn is also home to The Spice Traders an amazingly well stocked stall selling a vast range of herbs and spices. We met Rob, one of the owners, while having yet another Friday evening drinkie.
As well as having held down an impressive array of high powered jobs, Rob has a PhD in ancient history and was an absolute mine of information. We had a wonderful conversation about the historical context of spice trading – he’s a true enthusiast and really knows his subject.
Tomorrow we get back to Braunston briefly before heading north towards Coventry and a visit to family.