Thursday 23 August 2007

Seven Days in Woodstock (and Oxford)

What do you think of when you think of Woodstock . Jimi Hendrix , rock , debauchery , mud? You can find all that on the DVD , but I'm on about a small village near Oxford on the map here with it's own website here (doest everyone have one these days?).

We stayed there with friends earlier this year in a building that at some point had been a pub, but was now rented out to parties of hedonists such as ourselves.

Woodstock itself is very small and one of the few streets ends up at the gate to Blenheim Palace which is huge , impressive , and has grounds designed by Capability Brown , populated with killer geese ,

and a groundsman's cottage that seemed permanently flooded even before the latest biblical deluges.

They had a exhibition of Churchill (he was born there you know) , and for the first time in my life I noticed the amazing similarity between Churchill and Buddha!!. Why they had Buddha in a Churchill exhibition I'll never know.

At Churchill's request, he was buried in the family plot at St Martin's Church, Bladon, near Woodstock, not far from his birthplace. In the fields along the route, and at the stations through which the train passed, thousands stood in silence to pay their last respects. In 1998 his tombstone had to be replaced due to the large number of visitors over the years having eroded it and its surrounding area. A new stone was dedicated in a ceremony attended by members of the Spencer-Churchill family.

Bladon is quite small , and it must have been hell there for Churchill's funeral , but worth a visit as the Church is very pleasant , though the graveyard is right next to the primary school....which was nice.

The village itself has several pubs, The Punchbowl being the Charver Magnet. The Crown , opposite the punchbowl had a lot of big screens and was pleasant enough. They have a restaurant but it wasn't open while we were there. The rest are the pubs are safe enough as long as you can afford the prices. The Black Prince had great location next to a stream / marsh though the insect population seemed to be fairly active around there.

Opposite our domicile there was a chip shop, nothing strange about that, however the portions of chips would do about 3 people , so a good place if you're hungry.

Also theres a shop called Hampers , great for all your exotic foods and nibbly things , again , at a price but well worth it. Alternatively there is the Co-Op!!!

It's all very touristy, middle England , but none the worse for that. Parking's easy and your convenient for Oxford and surrounding villages.

Oxford itself is architecturally very pleasant but it's full of blood students. Still you can get a drink , see where Morse drove his jag , got drunk and solved the odd murder and theres a few churches with towers that all offer the "best view" of Oxford. It's worth putting in the effort to haul yourself to the top of one of these , even if your a total f@t b@st@rd like me!!! and you'll be rewarded with views like these!!!