Tuesday, 21 June 2005

Day 21, Chiswick sofa workshop, full moon, fawn.

Huge tale back on the road out of London and the driver predicted that it would take at least 3 hours to get to Oxford and invited anyone who wanted to take the train to get off at the next stop. This idea was briefly tempting but the thought of negotiating my way across town in rush hour with a huge rucksack to squeeze onto an overcrowded train was somehow not appealing. Not only that I figured that it would take almost as long as taking the bus. Nevertheless most of the inhabitants of the bus chose to depart – nutters. I was OK, I had a book, some sandwiches and, well, everything. My entire house, my world was on a shelf behind the driver so what did I have to rush off for? It was a hugely liberating experience as I reclined all the seats on the back of the coach and made sure I was truly comfortable.

It was decided that as there was no one left on board for the next stop, which would take hours to get too according to the driver’s radio, then we should go on a “mystery tour” and try to get back to Oxford by other means. The driver seemed rather excited to be going off the beaten track and kept us updated and entertained with various jokes and pearls of wisdom. Some one knew an alternative route and went to direct the driver. One point of particular interest on the Mystery Tour was the Chiswick Sofa Workshop, which apparently was what we had diverted for it was by all accounts the greatest Sofa Workshop in the area. It was with some disappointment that the driver eventually announced that we were back on the M40, though this bitter pill was sweetened by the news that entertainments were being provided by a couple of students downstairs.

The intrepid nature of my journey thus far had caught hold of me and I decided to go for something new. Travellers of the Oxford Tube will know the stop at Lewknor well, but what is there? Seemingly in the middle of nowhere the bus pulls of the motorway into the wilderness and an unlikely amount of commuters get on or off depending on the direction of travel. There is nothing to be seen there, no houses just fields, woods and a great big hill. Just the thing for a sunny summer evening. I got off the bus to be greeted by the heady smell of elderflower in the breeze, and red poppies splashed across the countryside. The great big hill turned out to be part of the Ridgeway and also a nature reserve inhabited, according to the sign, by Red Kite (very rare bird of prey) and no end of wild flowers. I made it to the top of the hill in time to watch the sunset with the aid of a cup of tea. Lying in the long grass watching the day turn into night and the nearly full moon pass across the sky was far more entertaining than watching Eastenders. I slept were I lay and woke in the morning as the sun rose, as my eyes were adjusting to the light I noticed a fawn of about a foot and a half tall stood watching me from about 6 foot from me. Quite unperturbed by my presence it walked past me and disappeared into the long grass. There was no sign that I could see of it’s mother. Cows from the next field gathered curiously at the fence and watched as I got ready for the day.

Strolling back down the hill was relaxing in the sunlight and was a most excellent way to start the day. Got on the bus, grabbed a newspaper and Danish and went about the business of preparing myself for the world of work by promptly falling asleep in my seat.

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