I thought that my last post would be the last about Oxford. Well, it was the last from Oxford, but not the last about Oxford. I promise this will be my last Oxford-related post!
The last week I was in Oxford I didn't really do much. I'd seen everything I had wanted to see, so I just went for walks and packed and took care of some last-minute details. As I mentioned before, we lived very near a meadow. This meadow was a grazing area for cows and horses and ponies, but people could walk through it and even sit on the grass and read a book, chat with a friend, or have a picnic....better watch where you sit, though!
I often saw the cows, but had only seen the horses one evening way down at the other end of the meadow, which is probably at least a mile long. So one of my last days I went out with my camera to find the horses, assuming I'd have to walk all the way to the end. I arrived at the meadow and there they were at our end of the meadow! I tried to find out information about these horses. I read some place that they are wild horses, but I don't think they are. Some of them had blankets on and they were all very tame. In fact, one was a little too friendly and even though I didn't have anything to give him he almost acted like he'd stick his nose right in my pockets looking for a carrot or something!
The night before I left John and I went punting with two of our friends we had met in Niger about seven years ago. Punting is very much an Oxford (also Cambridge) tradition. You go in a flat boat and
use a pole to navigate. We were moving along down the river, eating our sandwiches. John was eating his sandwich, talking away, when the guy poling said, "Watch out there, John!" John looks to his left and there was a swan so close he was trying to snatch John's sandwich right out of his
hand! We threw some chips in the water to get him to go away from the boat. He glided along with us for awhile, but soon lost interest. Both of our friends took a turn punting and then they turned it over to John. It's not as easy as it looks....a few weeks earlier we had watched people punting. They were going around in circles, going backwards, and bumping it from one bank to another.
The pole is over 12 feet long and heavy and it takes awhile to get the knack of using it to propel the boat forwards and not backwards and to use it to steer in the direction you really want to go. Once John got the hang of working with the pole, he did a really great job. It was an hour well spent (we just rented the boat for an hour). If you want you can also hire a punter with your punt, but we wanted to do it ourselves.
Our flat was near the canal and there were always mallards and moor hens that liked to be fed crusts of bread. Right before I left I noticed this mallard had a brood of ten ducklings!
I flew back to the US on Thursday and had an uneventful trip. I even had an empty seat next to me which gave me a lot more room to spread out and be comfortable. Daniel and Suzanne got home from Cedarville on Friday and my parents are up from Florida. We are enjoying the fantastic spring weather, but are missing John who is back to cold and rainy weather in England.