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Oxford

The Booze Boat

  A handwritten sign  and some bottles, professionally labelled, are the only publicity that Andy and Diane want. At first he said he didn’t like the idea of being written about, but after a little persuasion they both agreed to talk to me. I asked for a tasting and recommendations. “Try the dandelion wine. It’s […] Read More

Oxford’s housing madness

Having made Oxford my home for forty plus  years, I imagined there was  little I didn’t know about the housing market. Like many, I study the property pages of the Oxford Times, fancy living in mansions or country cottages and for different reasons have moved through the points of the compass,  North, South and West […] Read More

Dreary Pastimes: filming for TV

                    Upper Fisher Row got a bite of the cake yesterday when scenes from the 8th series of the popular cop drama Lewis was  filmed, taking up all of our parking but providing entertainment for the many “home-bound” inhabitants who live here courtesy of the Council […] Read More

Remarkably marketable: Brand Oxford

                    It’s the time of year when crowds throng the the quads of Oxford colleges, programmes in hand, thermos flasks and sandwiches  in carrier bags, to seek wit, wisdom entertainment and literary glamour among writers who have come to talk about their books (and promote sales) […] Read More

Oxford’s Scintillating Night-life

I have become like Miss Betsy Trotwood. “Let me see you ride a donkey over my green again, and I’ll knock your bonnet off. And tread upon it!” A short time ago- at 12.30 am to be precise- I heard suspicious sounds on the street as I sat at my desk. I raised the sash […] Read More

Allotment News- Six months on

Taking over a derelict allotment which was being  strangled by couch grass, bindweed and mare’s tail and turning it into a productive source of fresh food has been a  pleasure-filled challenge. Six months from Slough of Despond (or as a friend’s late mother, who had a stock of wonderful phrases at the ready, used to […] Read More

Port Meadow is where I used to pick bushelfuls of mushrooms for breakfast in the Autumn- you just have to get there at 5 am before the other foragers. Horses in the milky mist, round white buttons under cowpats,  a heron sillhouetted against a thumbprint of moon, the ghost of the airman skirting the ancient […] Read More

Evening Breezes, Abendbilder

Evening Breezes, softly sighing Bid the sun farewell. Time is flying day is dying Rings the vesper bell. Peace and calm with night descending Stilling every sound, Shadows with the darkness blending Wrap the world around, wrap the world around. (Franz Schubert, after Silbert)               […] Read More

Mr North, Chimney Sweep

He came in an immaculate van, opening up the back with a flourish and revealing the elaborate array of brushes, rods and cleaning materials, all laid out in symmetrical order. Even though his name was not Mr Soot (of Happy Families) it was fitting enough.   He wore blue plastic overshoes, laid a black cloth […] Read More

fave caffs (6): Bill’s Oxford

The blurry person hurrying to pay for his chocolate and raspberry jam is Siddo, who sometimes accompanies me on these food critiques. We shared an agreeable afternoon at Bill’s, part of a rather large chain  and the latest eaterie to open in Oxford in Northgate Hall.   Opposite it is the Oxford Union and next […] Read More