4.12.09 Oxford – Christ Church

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4.12.09 Oxford – Christ Church


We enjoyed our last day in Oxford by biking into the city centre this afternoon.  Because there was significantly less traffic (next to none actually) on this Easter Sunday, we could bike all over the historical district with ease.  It was great!  We are so happy we have these bikes for transportation.


The kids were most excited about going to Christ Church College and we biked amongst the most fabulous, ornate college buildings ever in order to get there.  The Cathedral and the Long Room, which were the scenes of the Harry Potter films, were enthralling to the HP fans in our family.  It was all quite magnificent and we spent a long time there.


Then I made the big mistake of telling Lia and Jazy in the loo (bathroom) that Charles and I would meet them at our bikes.  So Charles and I simply walked 30 seconds down a few hallways to get out the front door, where we waited too long.  The girls were no-shows. 


Well, it turned out that Charles and I went out the “Entrance” to the bikes, whereas Jazy and Lia followed “Exit” signs, which took them “about a mile the other direction,” and Security told them the front door was now locked. 


Jazy and Lia walked endlessly through the immense, winding, marble passageways until one of them was literally in tears. 


Crying however was a terrific maneuver- the great shower of feminine tears immediately resulted in a high speed, personal Security escort to the front door!


We were relieved to reunite.  Then the front doormen very nicely attempted to comfort obviously disturbed daughter, which humiliated her even more, and accelerated the emotional flood.  It was a rather difficult teenage moment, you might say, with the sobbing and such.  We left Christ Church quickly, to everyone’s great relief, vowing never to separate again. 


Separating had been my mistake.  It is difficult to connect without cell phones.  We need to come up with a better plan if separated, although we now know that crying works wonders.  I was proud of Jazy and Lia for insisting to the security guard that they return to the front door of the huge building, locked or not.  They did the right thing in that situation.


After that high drama, I immediately led us off on the bikes in the *wrong* direction until we were in a residential area, whereupon I finally noticed that nothing looked familiar.  Directionally challenged! 


We managed to correct and fortunately, saved the night by finding the same Baguette Bar off George Street, where we’d dined the other night.  I bought a phone card at a nearby shop while the kids ordered our sandwiches, which we enjoyed from a park bench surrounded by eager pigeons.  Delightful!


The bike ride back to the campground was pleasant and blessedly uneventful.  Whew!  We detoured to nearby Abingdon Street for some bread at a tiny General Store.  We later knocked on the door of a 38’ American RV that had Florida license plates and was parked across the street from the campground in the Park and Ride lot for a few days, but no answer.  We did learn from our campground hostess that the RV owners had to get permission from the parking folks in order to overnight there since there was no possibility of them even fitting in even for the day at this campground.  The rig looked *enormous.* 


Even Sugar is one of the bigger rigs at 23’ and our hosts said that over 24’ is really difficult in England.  I had to agree.  If one could go even smaller and use the impressive room awnings to double the usable size of their RV when parked, that is a grand idea too.  It’s like having inexpensive slide-outs on the rig.


In fact, because of Sugar’s “big size,” our nice campground hosts had to think hard today about whether they’d let us move to an electric pitch (campsite).  But I convinced them that I wouldn’t get stuck in the grass/mud and neither would I back up very far and so we scored a site with electric. 


Apparently gunning it, even on grass, can leave one’s rig up to the axles in mud, requiring a 120 L tow out of that embarrassing predicament.  It seems to rain every night and morning.  That “wet blessing” makes for gorgeous spring flowers, green grass, blooming trees, and also a possible mud-fest.  I’ll leave very delicately in the morning!  Although my internet had sad connection today, we were happy to charge our iPods, camera batteries, and my computer with the cherished electricity.


Something I think is funny at this campground is that several rigs have severe anti-theft devices on them.  One has a wheel lock, another has a steering wheel lock.  Oxford does not seem scary to me and we are in a well-occupied campground with gates with a secret code.  It seems a little overboard if you ask me, although we do always pull the curtains closed and lock all the doors whenever we leave the rig.  And we always lock up the bikes.  But wheel locks on a motorhome in a secure campground?


Did I tell you about the caravan (trailer) that was backed into position with a remote control?  Very cool.


By the way, price for this nice Camping and Caravan Park, for which we are already considered members since we have the Camping Card International, is less than 20 L a night, and then it was 3 more for the electric tonight. 


We’ve enjoyed the nice free hot, adjustable showers.  Did you know that some campgrounds require tokens for the showers and the water is not even adjustable in temperature?  And some are even cold!  Yikes!  I’ve used the showers at this campground because I’m lazy dumping the tanks and filling the water.  By showering and washing dishes (kids’ job) at the shower block 20 yards away, we really use very little water.


The Easter Bunny brought chocolate frogs and fudge this morning, which the kids helped choose from a chocolatier yesterday in Stratford-Upon-Avon.  While it was not much of a surprise, they were thrilled with the Harry Potter connection, whatever it was.  I really missed going to Easter church services this morning.


Everyone got to talk to Ned tonight, who is traveling a ton for work and was in Central Park with Grandpa Hill in NYC when we called.  Charles got the short end of the line when the phone just cut off.  Not sure if the phone card ran out or line disconnected, but it ended the call.  We can’t wait to see Ned in Paris!


We’re excited about arriving in London tomorrow for a week.  I’m terrified frankly of driving into the city, but since I have 2 campgrounds to find in there this week, and then Paris next week (got email confirmation today from the Paris campground - guess they translated my poor French!), I’d better take a deep breath and just do it.


FIO is a term we use often on this trip.  Figure It Out.  You don’t have to know everything going into the situation, because you’ll be able to Figure It Out.  You get many points for a FIO- and a boost to the old self-esteem. 


Feel the fear and do it anyway.  Figure it out. 

Wish us luck!

azsalsa says:
I think you have all done a wonderful job so far negotiating foreign countries in a borrowed RV. What an education for the kids and memories for you all!
Posted on: Apr 23, 2009
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