A tale of two villages

Hell has frozen over! Yes, I’ve actually gone on holiday. But don’t worry, it’s only for a couple of days and it involves a half-marathon so I’m not going to go dizzy or implode with excitement.

I’m staying in a lovely hotel, in the middle of nowhere. Next to a one-stop express.

They do have electricity here, but mobile reception is something they’ve overlooked. Which potentially makes contacting a bit tricky, at least it would do if I stayed in the hotel and didn’t go anywhere.

Although I lived in Oxford for 4 years, several decades ago, I’ve never visited this bit. I’m near a place called Steeple Aston (which is also near the one-stop) and today I visited a couple of local villages.

First stop was Bicester. I knew only a couple of things about this place before today.

  1. From friends who used to drink here and referred to it as pister (students etc!)
  2. From Mark who told me there was a retail outlet village

I must say I didn’t explore (1) – difficult as a non-drinker. But I did park up at the retail village. I would describe it as ‘my sort of hell’. Lots of clothes shops. Everything sold clothes, except Starbucks, and even with that I’m making an assumption as I didn’t go in. But we’re not talking your Primani brands here. Actually I was too scared to go into any of the shops in my oversized winter parka. They probably wouldn’t let me in anyway!

Still I scurried off into the main town which was a little more my scene. It had a nice church to photograph and some normal shops. In fact I started my Christmas shopping, got some cards and a few house-y bits as there were a couple of homeware stores. It reminded me a bit of Newbury but without the market place. Or the waterside.


Having exhausted Bicester, and not daring to re-enter the outlet village I returned to the car to find the whole car park full now. Clearly there are a lot of people who don’t work on a Thursday morning.

As someone was loitering with intent for my parking space I set off and decided to go next to Chipping Norton. Mostly because I’d heard of it. I knew it had the brewery which again isn’t much use to a non-drinker but ‘Old Hooky’ is a good brew from my memory back from when I did partake. But beyond that…….


Well it has a church (duly photographed but not entered – primarily due to a hearse outside) and some people driving excessively large vehicles (non-hearses). Badly. As if I’m surprised. These are the vehicles only bought by those that sincerely cannot (and probably should not) drive and who limber into the middle of the road from driveways or sideroads without any recognition that the front of their vehicle is halfway across the main road in the meantime. <Grumble>

I guess I didn’t know what to expect. I know people visit these places and gush about how lovely the tea rooms are – I had lunch at The Fox, and that was jolly nice. But other than some impressive buildings to look at  I soon returned to the car.

Back to the middle of nowhere (next to the One-Stop) and put my feet up.

This holiday lark is quite good actually. I should do it more often 🙂

Cometh the weekend and partaketh in Half-Marathon number 11 (of 2013).

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