What I Did On My Holidays – Oxford
I have a fair bit of thinking to do over the course of the next six months. I suspect that part of these considerations will take me away from Edinburgh for a bit.
Accordingly, my recent holiday was partly focussed on auditioning a few towns and cities as potential venues for an extended stay next year.
First up was Oxford, a place I’ve visited a number of times before and always rather enjoyed. This is not least because I have some lovely pals in the city, garnered from Miriam’s two tours of duty at the university.
On this visit I was staying with friends Kathryn and Rene who will be getting married next year. The wedding planner chat was kept to a very acceptable level across my three day stay.
Kathryn is one of the best home cooks I know so any time spent with her is usually focussed on home rather than restaurant meals.
Across my time there we had excellent pancakes with Helen Browning bacon from the farm we visited last year, and also with apple compote made with apples from the garden.
We had some damn fine brisket, too, with extremely tasty barbecue beans.
We popped out for a good hearty pie dinner on my final night at a pub in the Jericho district called The Victoria.
This was a really welcoming place and the food was well-priced and hearty. The steak pie was superb, the ham hock and pea very good, and the accompanying chips were outstanding.
We managed a few continental beers at a good place called the Lamb & Flag but otherwise the drinks scene remained largely unexplored other than a really enjoyable trip to the newly established distillery, The Spirit of Toad.
One of the chaps behind The Spirit of Toad not only studied in Edinburgh with the chaps behind Pilot but also used to sling cocktails at Bramble. Small world.
I managed a couple of coffee shop stops, too. The Missing Bean was impressive and I liked Jericho Coffee Traders.
I stumbled upon Oxford’s approximate equivalent of Social Bite in the shape of Yellow Submarine. It’s an excellent project looking to raise the profile and skills of people with learning disabilities. I liked the bagel I sampled.
And I had time for a sneaky char siu steamed bun from Rachel’s as I walked to the train station to continue my journey.
So overall, Oxford made a really strong case for itself as a place worthy of a longer stay and further investigation. It’s not a huge place so I could probably pull together a fairly definitive guide to the city and surrounding area in a couple of months. It’s a project I will consider.