April 2023.

Panini and flat white – tick.

World class museum – tick.

Parking drama – tick.

Oxford complete, bar the pub.

I decided to walk across Port Meadow to Guide newbie the White Hart in Wolvercote. About half an hour from Jude the Obscure said the map.

A gorgeous crisp day, a setting Far From the Madding Crowd in Oxford central,

but it soon became clear that only the foolHardy were taking the path along the meadow after a downpour the night before.

Twice, three times I slipped and fell. This is my jacket, a week later.

Yards short of Wolvercote, I caught up with a group wearing Barbour and wellies, looking forlornly at the submerged bridge over the stream.

A couple of chaps started to walk across, the water came up to their thighs, they gave up.

The situation called for Desperate Remedies, but I had none, so I just squelched upfield a bit till I could cross and only ruin my jeans. It was either that or trudge all the way back to the Ashmolean.

Was Wolvercote worth it ?

Well, I’d missed the Frog & Henry,

but the White Hart had just opened at 1. In fact, it had opened especially on Bank Holiday Monday for a rush of trade that never came.

I left my bedraggled coat and shoes outside with the tulips.

Oh, you needn’t have !” said the lady, but I doubt she meant it.

It’s a community pub, which can mean a Well-Beloved pub brought back from the brink, or villagers investing in the property market. The White Hart felt great, the landlady lovely, the Abingdon Bridge cool and chewy (NBSS 3.5+).

I had to take the bus into Oxford.

£2 capped fare, phone charger on the table with a nice photo of the city, lovely.

Shame about the journey from hell. Never felt so sick, ironically as we pass Squitchey Lane.

“I think buses are a marvellous invention !” says Lucy, 10, as I lurch forward as the Number 6 hits the speed bumps at 10 metre intervals.

Is it just me who thinks buses (as opposed to trams) are the spawn of the devil ?


      1. I’ve done that walk but on a dry summer’s evening, luckily. We ended up at the Trout, perhaps less so?


  1. The young lady in the distance in your pics seems perhaps to have found her own way of dealing with the flood – not that I zoomed in or anything, you understand…


  2. There’s a Thomas Hardy short story about two young men who leave their embarrassing drunk of a father to drown after he slips down a muddy bank into a stream coming back from the pub.

    There’s also the Inspector Morse episode The Wolvercote Tongue, about an Anglo-Saxon treasure discovered there and then thrown back into the river by an American tourist stopping at the Randolph Hotel in Oxford, where Morse is impressed by how well kept their cask beer is.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Catches the best of us out. My intrepid other half made me walk the Thames path on a Spring stroll to the Queens Head in Eynsham which ended with me stood up to my knees in mud complaining that “we can’t turn up at the pub in this state”.
    At least you were welcomed at the White Hart. The Trout would have ushered you away lest you upset the gentlefolk.

    Liked by 1 person

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