One of the serious clichés of Oxford, as well as Cambridge, is to spend an afternoon punting. I could not really deprive my friends from such activity when they came to visit, could I?
Megan joined Alix, me and Juliette on the Sunday (of that other week-end that’s already long ago… I’m not very consistent with the regularity of my posts but exams and revision period will excuse me); that’s when the sun still honoured us with its beams (another sign that this week-end was long ago as I’m back in my waxed coat and wellies x__x). We had not been reunited, the 4 of us, since our hippie camping at Megan’s, which was two years ago, so it was a very special moment.
We had a lovely brunch at the Organic Deli, a very nice café in a little hidden alley perpendicular to St Giles, and where they make the BEST eggs florentine! They’re not so good with the smoothies though so I would suggest you save that extra 5£ for something else if you ever go.
We then walked down to Magdalen bridge where I told them all about May Day – which will maybe deserve a post next year – and we headed to the punting boat house.
It was so hot and sunny Juliette actually had to buy a hat as she was traveling the next day back to Canada, then heading to Peru. I know, I also wish my life was as exciting. But hey! I have punting in Oxford ;)
We got a non chauffeured boat for 20£, one chauffeur quickly “taught” me how to handle the pole as I had never had that responsibility before and let our boat slide on the water. They say you physically cannot capsize the boat. Megan was not so sure about it…
But to be fair, we were all very scared… I was not very good at punting.
I managed to get us under a tree on the bank of the river while three men in their individual canoes, at rest on the other bank, were watching us get in that situation, laughing out loud.
I really struggled… Look at that face.
Alix had to take over… after 10 minutes.
Megan was paddling in the front to help with direction and prevent the boat from bumping.
The river was quite busy…
We passed by St Hilda’s college which has the perks of having its own punting boats, available for students anytime.
It was really the perfect day to punt… After a while we were just drifting with the draught; I was laying embracing the warmth of this first day (and apparently last) of summer. I really felt peaceful for the first time in a really long time; probably because I had decided to ditch work and was so happy to be with my best girls… I had missed this feeling and cannot wait to get those exams over with. Even though that means going back to busy and hectic London… which I am not sure will be anything like an hour on the water in the sun. But anyway…
The rest of the hour went quite smoothly. Juliette had a try at punting before the end of our hour and we brought the boat back under the Magdalen bridge.
The girls soon had to go back to London so we walked back to North Oxford, stopping by my favourite shops on their way so they could spend more than they had already spent. And we all went to the train station to say goodbye. We then realised we had not taken a photo with the 4 of us all day; a selfie was in order.
As well as asking a very weird and awkward stranger to take a photo of us with my iPhone which I swear must have been the devil’s tool in her hands. But at least we got some photos! ^^
I don’t think we’ll be all reunited again for a while… But it made this day all the more wonderful as it felt like we had never been apart: no matter where you end up, whether it’s Toronto, Montreal, London, Oxford, no matter what you study, Biology, Maths, Vet medicine, French lit, drifting apart is not the inevitable. And I’m happy to know that my best friends from high school are still there for me, and I can still be there for me, no matter how different our lives may have become. :)
[Also, I must thank Juliette for letting me some of the beautiful photos snapped with her camera. You can so tell the difference with the poor iPhone photos next to them. ]