Around the Cotswolds and Oxford

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October 10th 2013
Published: October 10th 2013
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Greetings from Ampney Crucis England. We are still having a fabulous time with the Willows. Yesterday were on bedtime duty for Bess and it was a bit of a shambles because Peter’s out of practice and I have no idea what to do. The three of us muddled through without too much trauma to Bess.

We never made it to Blenheim Palace on Monday. We had some very sad news, our good friend Chris O’Brien died in Beijing where has been living for the past several years. The fact that his widow couldn’t speak much English and that we are overseas made things quite complicated. We were asked to track down Chris’ children neither of whom were in Australia. By the miracle of Facebook and Skype we all got in touch eventually.

We had extra special help tracking down Chris’ son. He works for Qld Gas and they couldn’t have been more helpful. We rang some poor lady in Chinchilla at 9:30 pm Australian time and she swung into action. They were absolutely amazing. The issue of fracking aside, Qld Gas deserves a medal for going above and beyond the call of duty to help out two total strangers

and yes, there was that much traffic.
looking for one of their employees who were on leave.

We are very sad about Chris, particularly that we can’t attend his funeral in Bejing because it’s happening while we are on our cruise which starts on Sunday. We’re having our own celebration of his life on the back veranda when we get home.

Yesterday we went to Oxford and the students have just started or returned from a break. They are like browns cows wandering around looking a bit stunned. It’s a bit like beginning of semester at QUT but with woolly jumpers and jackets. There’s a debate going on at the moment about how much Oxford University charges for an undergraduate degree. They university wants to raise the cost from 9000 pounds a year to a whopping 16000 pounds a year saying that “excellence in most walks of life does not come cheap”. I guess Oxford is for the elite but sadly it points to the old principle that you can only get the education you can afford rather than the one you deserve.

Whump..that’s the sound of me jumping off my soap box J

I made a curry last night and amazingly it turned out very well. We’re finding a few differences between products in England and those at home. For example, I bought some curry green curry paste that you could eat from the jar: not hot at all. And then there’s the cheese. Did I mention that before? It’s cheese heaven here. We’ve also found that eat is much more expensive than in Australia. Having said that though, we bought some meat from a guy in a butchers van and it was absolutely amazing.

I’ve included some photos of the places we’ve been visiting in the Cotswolds. It absolutely splendid.

Talk to you next from the cruise boat

Love pj and sandy xx

Additional photos below
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Sink at the Rusty BicyleSink at the Rusty Bicyle
Sink at the Rusty Bicyle

This sink in the ladies was the size of a large baby's bath and it's made of porcelain.

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