(You can find the first half of this trip here.)
In the last 24 hours the weather has turned, and from the balmy summer days we have been enjoying, it’s now grey, overcast, and very, very wet out there. Which makes me savour the memory of this trip even more. Four friends, one punt, sunshine, lots of Pimm’s and beer and the perfect mini sausage rolls!
(I’ve been working on perfecting these, and was so glad they came out well. Super quick & easy to make. Chop a couple of red onions, throw them in a frying pan with some butter, a tablespoon of brown sugar, some balsamic vinegar, & some chopped rosemary, and leave to sweat over a moderate heat. Roll out some puff pastry, and divide lengthways into 3 or 4 strips. Spread onions down the middle, then top with a row of cocktail sausages, and cut the pastry after each sausage. Brush one side of the pastry with beaten egg, fold the other side over and press onto the eggy side. Brush the top with egg, stick in the oven for 20-25 mins at 180°C or until golden, and Bob’s your uncle!)
After a few hours battling the current and, in places, the debris, we finally reached Islip. It’s a beautiful, peaceful little village, full of gorgeous houses that I dream of one day owning. We didn’t want to hang around too long, so we stopped for a quick pub lunch, during which I had to fight off the wave of mid-afternoon drowsiness that hit me out of the blue. (This explains why I managed to not take any photos of the pub itself.)
I used to think I would hate to live in the countryside, but the more time I spend in its “half-forgotten nooks”, the more I am seduced by it. I know it’s not particularly realistic in terms of jobs, but there’s no harm in dreaming.
And then it was time to head back downstream.
By the time we were almost back at the Boathouse, the light was dimming and the evening coming on. We quietly trudged home through North Oxford, tired but content. A couple of friends are coming to stay with us in August, and if the weather’s good, the plan is to repeat the trip then. Fingers crossed!