Papa Bouilloire Chapter the Ninth

Out punts were bright and gay and we scudded along the river to the great admiration of the hobbledehoys who lolled about in their vests.
Out punts were bright and gay and we scudded along the river to the great admiration of the hobbledehoys who lolled about in their vests.

Papa Bouilloire Chapter the Ninth

As My Esteemed Colleague was in London visiting his hundreds of Bohemian friends and it being Sunday I decided to sample yet another of the high-brow entertainments that Oxford has to offer, the local Car Boot sale! Convinced that the walk of a mere 5 miles would yield another grab bag of treasure and knowing that the early bird catches the worm, I set out on the long walk to that centre of culture, Kassam Stadium, after planning my route via the internet.

I shall say little more of this ill-advised journey. The Don had warned me that the way was perilous and required me to pass through suburbs less becoming than those nearer to Oxford but I foolishly ignored his advice. The way proved far further than I anticipated and as I wandered about the backstreets I was fortunately rescued by a taxi cab before I was mugged and I made it to the stadium unscathed. The taxi fare was however totally wasted as I have never seen such an assortment of tat before. Desperate fruit sellers trying to pass off bruised strawberries vied with wampum dealers and charlatans and there was not a proper antique to be seen. I just managed to avoid buying a pair of particularly hideous carnival glass vases out of sheer desperation. I trudged away down an abandoned lane and fortunately reached a bus stop where a cheery double decker whisked me back to Oxford to finish one of the less glittering chapters of my memoirs.

Determined not to let the experience ruin the day I walked into the parks and spent many lovely hours quietly discovering many beauties. I found a stone bench looking into the deer park, and there I sat for an hour as the floss-like seeds of a huge linden tree drifted down and were caught by the sun, imparting an effect of glittering snow. Replete with nature, I went back to my snuggery and found that The Don had offered to take me punting.

Although it took me most of Monday to recover from the exhaustion caused by the experience, I can say that I had the most lovely afternoon. We had one of the university punts (not the gaudy rubbish that the tourist rents at exorbitant prices) and The Don was a most excellent punter. I watched his action, taking metal notes and determined not to make the obvious errors that the amateurs demonstrated all about us.

We took the quieter section of the river which was cool and picturesque. As we scudded along, the envy of all who saw us, I had a wonderful view of Oxford from a whole new perspective, but as I was petrified I would drop my camera in the water at some point I left it at home and shall have to recall the day from memory. I took the pole on several occasions and The Don was good enough to say that my action was not a complete disaster. In fact several yokels (who like all British men of a certain age when the weather gets hot it seems) lay about on the water’s edge with their shirts off and I heard them talking to each other about how to punt, referring directly to my obviously superior action. Unfortunately at that point the pole stuck in the mud and I had to let it go or fall in. Luckily The Don had a small paddle and we eventually retrieved the pole and carried on. On another occasion we were again the object of envy when I pulled up the boat with great skill across the rollers which we had to drag the boat over to get to another part of the river, but I ruined the effect again by accidentally hitting The Don quite hard on the head with the pole.

Despite the head injury (or perhaps because of it) The Don suggested we have dinner together and we had a tasty feast of Thai food surprisingly in an authentic tudor cottage.

And so I rest here dear readers but append a synopsis of my next 2 days reminiscences.

Chapter the Tenth

In which I literally do nothing

Chapter the Eleventh

Papa Bouiloire goes to Woodstock and Chipping Nornton

Wherein I pillage the treasures of the Cotswolds and then climb the Magdalen Tower.

All of Papa Bouilloire’s adventures can be found here


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