Welcome message

Welcome, friends old and new, to my blog. This is the place where I can share my scribblings and thoughts on loving life. I hope you enjoy them, make suggestions and come back to read more.

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

One Girl and Two Dogs on the Bummel: buses, burdens and being banned.

Missed the beginning? The bummel begins here

Oxford. I woke early, but slept in, enjoying the lazy feeling of being completely free to spend my time as I wished. It seemed that, every time I felt the need to stir my bones, the rain pitter-pattered down on my tent and encouraged me to just stay snug for a little while longer.

Eventually though, the rain clouds blew away and the sun appeared, beating down on my tent and warming it up to an uncomfortable temperature and forcing me to get up, if only to cool down. Once I was up, I was fairly quick in getting organised as I'd remembered today's plan. Today was the day for exploring Oxford and I was looking forward to it.

The Park and Ride over the road was another reason I'd picked this site; within ten minutes of leaving my tent, I was sat at the back of a bus, Alfie on my lap so he could see out of the window (it was his first time on a bus and I didn't want him to miss anything). Harvey, the seasoned traveller, curled up by my feet and settled there for the ride, only popping up and peeking out of the window when the bus stopped to let on some more passengers.

We disembarked by Christ Church Cathedral and saw Tom Tower. For the first time, but not the last time in Oxford, it felt like a shame to have the dogs with me, as I would have loved to have taken the tour. Never mind, we three were travelling companions and together we'd stay- even if it were outdoors.

A bit further along, we turned into the Memorial garden and walked around the meadows, which was a gorgeous way to view the buildings. I got a bit cross at a Japanese tourist who came over and stamped his foot at Alfie, but I did laugh when Alfie responded by lunging at him and made him scream. I didn't resort to racism, just a nice general, "Stupid prat," as he ran back to his friends. The light drizzle turned to rain as we popped out of a gate and back onto the main road, so I looked for a pub to hide out in until it passed.

Now, I don't know whether I was particularly unlucky in my choices, or if Oxford has a blanket ban on dogs, but I do know that not a single pub where I asked today would let me and my boys in- not one, not even in a beer garden. Most unfriendly and unfair, especially as they are small dogs and it was raining. Also, I was looking to buy lunch, so they turned my money away too.

We wandered the streets, following the handy "You are here" boards which steered me in the direction of something interesting; I found the Radcliffe Camera, Bridge of Sighs, the Martyr's Memorial and the Saxon tower, amongst other landmarks, this way and, by the time I was finished, my feet felt like they would fall off! I tried to picture, as I walked, Oxford as Lyra Belaqua would have known it, and it was easy to imagine the buildings from another time as actually being in another world. Oxford was a lovely city to get lost in for a few hours, which was a good job really, as there seemed to be no chance of stopping anywhere for lunch or a rest! I gave up asking and munched on an apple instead.

At the castle, we got very excited that it was only £1 to climb the Castle Mound but, again, dogs were not allowed to join in the fun. By that point, I'd had enough of Oxford; I was starting to get grumpy at how dog-unfriendly it was and I needed to sit down. We caught the bus back to the site, both boys sitting on the floor this time, all of us feeling slightly deflated.

Back at the tent, Harvey took himself off to bed for a kip and I sent Alfie to join him. We'd done a lot of walking and they needed to rest, bless them. Once I could hear both boys snoring, I sneaked off for a shower, safe in the knowledge that I had a couple of hours before their batteries were recharged. They were still sound asleep when I returned, so I took a gamble and went to the camping superstore to buy a new toilet tent. I hadn't brought mine with me, choosing instead to set up my toilet as an 'en-suite' but the one I'd seen was bigger and better than the one I had, so that was that.

I rang my Nan to let her know I was OK, ate a flapjack, read, sunbathed and watched the new-comers arrive and set up camp in a variety of manners. There were cyclists with tiny tents, the clothes they wore and a toothbrush, right up to eight-berth palaces of which Arthur Weasley would have been jealous. And, of course, everything in between. I don't know which category I fall into. I'm certainly not in the minimalist group, not after my brief and uncomfortable experience with the pop-up tent, but I simply don't have the space for the type of kit I saw with some units today. Not that I think I'd want to; I like to be able to pack up and move on quite quickly, unburdened, and you can't do that with a massive tent and a trailer full of inflatable furniture. I have enough fun putting my tent up on my own...

Eventually, the boys emerged from their sleeping bags (or in Alfie's case, from mine) and demanded walkies, so we went for a stroll down to the shop about half a mile from the site to get some batteries for my radio, which gave up the ghost this afternoon. I swear we saw our nice bus driver again; I waved anyway, because he was looking and smiling, and I was still feeling the sting of the boys and I being shunned.

Later that night, taking the boys for a pre-bedtime walkies around the site, it suddenly occurred to me why this site (expect for the trains) is so quiet- it's mostly caravans. I noticed that through the window of almost every caravan I can see a flatscreen TV on in the background. This is one of the reasons that I am not entirely in favour of caravans. I like a few comforts, as I said before, but I don't understand why anyone would want to go camping when all they do is sit inside and watch TV. Radio, yes. TV, no. It's nice to have phone reception and to be able to check in on Facebook while I've been travelling, but I came on my bummel to get away from my normal routine, including the technology.

Or maybe I'm just grumpy today. In which case I should shut up and go to bed; the boys are already snoring again, and it's time for me to join them. We're leaving tomorrow and heading south, I feel. I can't be sure yet, as we haven't arrived yet. Maybe the "I won't make a booking until you arrive" woman was onto something...

The bummel continues tomorrow...

No comments:

Post a Comment

This is the part where you get to join in! What did you think of today's post? Leave me a message and let me know what you think. I love reading your comments!