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Last week in London …

I thought I’d leave the baby picture up for a week or two – it proved so popular last week! ๐Ÿ™‚

Firstly, congratulations to Michael Sharpe and Kalvinder Singh of James Cook University in far north Queensland Australia for the most complete answers submitted to the puzzle thus far. While I did not ask for answers to be submitted, it is amusing to see the variations on a theme that crop up!

This week has been a long haul changing nappies and doing such other mundane things that fatherhood (for the new age man?!?) seems to demand. Babies are incredibly demanding creatures – give me a kitten any day! End result is that I have visited exactly 0 pubs this week! TRAGEDY. So I will tell you about one that I went to last week just before the baby was born. Didn’t write it up last week as I was a tad busy with the birth etc…

The Trout is in Oxfordshire. Actually it is really close to Oxford. If you want to find the place whatever you do don’t phone and ask for directions – one sure way to get lost. I tried this and concluded that the bar staff live on the premises from birth, and commute by canal boat! Basically you go round the Oxford ring road north towards the airport and go down past the Forte Moat House hotel at the second roundabout (assuming you’re coming from London). We went there on Good Friday for lunch. Idyllic surroundings on the Thames river bank, just below a weir. There is a lock off to the one side for the narrow boats that frequent this part of the Thames, and the weir is in place to maintain the relative flatness of the Thames for these boats.

The lunch was quite ordinary, but the scenery more than made up for it. It is great to get out of London on a weekend. Unfortunately most Londoners agree with this sentiment, with the result that traffic jams and tailbacks are inevitable. To give you an indication of the frustration of travelling in this part of the world I will describe my route to The Trout.

We started by joining the A40 at Holland Park, intending to simply head out to Oxford (the A40 goes directly to Oxford). Within 1 mile we were going about 5 miles per hour in a traffic jam. I spoke to a friend who we were meeting at the pub and I knew was ahead of us by mobile, and he told me that the traffic jam stretched past the M25(London’s outer ring road). This would make the next 5 miles take about 1 hour, so I ducked south through Hammersmith to the M4 (the road to Heathrow). This was relatively clear and we had a great run as far as Slough. The M4 runs sort of parrallel to the A40 to the south, and there is a fast link between the two at Henley which we intended to take. Things started to back up at the first off ramp to Slough, so we headed off the M4 on to the old A4 road. This was still quite quick for the next 4 miles. Then we reached a point where there was an off-ramp from the M4, and hit a massive tailback. At this stage we decided to chance the motorway again (on the basis that most of the cars seemed to have left at this junction). Sure enough, traffic was moving at about 50mph, so we were able to move fairly fast to the link road via Henley and Maidenhead. From here it was up to the M40, on to the A40, and on to Oxford. The excercise took 3 hours, compared to just over 1 1/2 hours returning.

Other than that, not much to report from the last week. Still quite cold and miserable at the moment, but maybe it will improve? It is supposed to be summer you know!

Until next week I bid you adieu.

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