September was exhausting (I appreciate it is now nearly November, but it’s taken me that long to recover!) Some of it was fun, some of it wasn’t. What wasn’t? Well,

  • Chasing my tail – mostly my fault for not being organised
  • Driving behind tractors – always a joy…
  • Being sleep-deprived by a kitten with the shits
  • Noticing my uncanny resemblance to a fat hamster (followers of my Facebook page will be well aware of this discovery!)

But let’s not dwell on that! Let’s talk about what was fun.

I spent a lovely day in Oxford with my friends, Carolyn of Freedom Yoga and Relaxation, and Chris of Chris Lewis Jewellery Design. I’m not going to dress it up in business-speak because it was a jolly. Pure and simple. 

Getting Lost

Chris is driving. She ‘uses’ a satnav but doesn’t listen to it. She also has no sense of direction. As a result, what should have been a straight drive down the A40 became a meander along straw-thin roads OFF the A40, dodging hedges and cyclists, and passing the same pub three times. The destination was one of the 5 park and rides around Oxford. Even with Chris driving, we figured we should manage to find one of them.

Park and Ride

After parking, we find the payment machines. There are 4 of them but what we don’t realise until too late is we’ve paid at the ‘family’ ticket machine: £6.80 for two adults and three children. In our defence, this was really badly explained (i.e not at all), by the completely wank signage. 

The bus driver did not buy into the argument that I took up fewer seats than 3 kids and therefore we had to pay a further £4.30 on the bus. A total of £11.10 for 3 adults to get on a bloody bus. They didn’t even serve drinks. 

As the bus drove off, Chris and I had this conversation:

Chris: we don’t have to worry about finding the car when we get back as I’ve taken a photo of it.

Me: you’ve taken a photo of the car?

Chris: yes!

Me: the car, and nothing else?

Chris: yes

I realise I have a whole day of this…

The Boat Trip

On arrival, we decide we want a trip down the river. Carolyn and Chris fancy taking a rowing boat. I refuse on the grounds that Chris has fallen off a chair in my presence, and torn a ligament walking along a flat, carpeted floor IN HER OWN HOUSE. I was not getting in a rowing boat with Chris Lewis. 

We go for a captained boat. We envisaged a gentle trip, on deck in the sun. The reality was somewhat different. The open-air seats on the boat were taken so we had to sit undercover in the back, with the engine, which was so loud, we couldn’t hear the Captain’s talk about our surroundings. ‘This is not what I had in mind’, shouted Chris as we chugged down the river. Carolyn, always a calming influence, is serene and enjoying the moment as only a true yogi can. 

Chris and I, tired of the noise, squeeze into the front of the boat – it’s not comfortable, but it is quiet (at least when Chris stops talking)

The Fish Restaurant

After the boat trip, we walked for 40 minutes to get to our restaurant of choice. On arrival, we were sat behind a large table of adults and children. They were drinking Moet and eating lobster. They also did a runner, leaving the waitress almost in tears. Bunch of arseholes. Clearly there was no intention to pay. They just thought they’d have lobster and champagne and then run off down a dark alley. And to think they had children – what an example to set. 

If I was a witch (which contrary to popular belief, I’m not), I’d’ve laid a curse on them. A curse in which they turned into lobsters and had to spend the rest of their lives being not particularly dextrous with their very large claws, and destined to sit on a pack of ice, half alive in a supermarket. 

I digress…


It was unanimously decided to seek out dessert. Chris had to have cheesecake. Carolyn suggested we went to the beautiful café we passed on the way to the restaurant. We got there. No cheesecake. 

We googled ‘best cheesecake in Oxford’. It came up with a place and (oh God), Chris set up the satnav on her phone. In twenty minutes, we find the place and walk in. ‘Got any cheesecake?’, says Chris. ‘No’, says the bored, monosyllabic guy behind a sea of pastries. 


However, there is a cocktail bar, very close by. ‘Happy Hour, 4-9pm’ it gleefully states on a chalkboard outside (surely that’s happy hourS?) Several cocktails later, basking in the warm glow of the effects of alcohol (well, Carolyn and I were as Chris was driving) and we are ready for more food. Chris fancies sushi. 


Sushi: In Rapid-Time

The restaurant can’t really fit us in but doesn’t want to turn us away. The waiter, as if welcoming Poundland customers to a Harrod’s private viewing tells us ‘ you need to be gone by 8pm’. That gave us 55 minutes. This worried me as I’m a slow eater. I chose poorly by going for a ramen, which whilst delicious, cannot be eaten quickly with a pair of chopsticks and a small ladle. 

The Pudding Place

At this point, the plan is to return to the very expensive bus but Carolyn spots a dessert place! The inside of the Pudding Place is totally pink, the walls emulsioned with Pepto Bismal. It’s like walking into a candy floss party at Barbie’s, held in a giant blancmange. But, there is CHEESECAKE!

Having waited six hours to get cheesecake, it is disappointingly bad. Chris prods it with her fork, and declares it ‘fucking awful’. To be fair, the cheesecake was terrible – it was still partly frozen for one thing. If you aren’t going to make your own cheesecake to sell, at least make sure it’s defrosted, otherwise, what is your speciality? On leaving the Pepto Palace, Chris goes up to the guy behind the counter and tells him the cheesecake was shit. The moral of this story? Don’t piss off a jeweller who has built up an appetite for cheesecake over the course of 6 hours.


We found the car because Chris had taken a photo of it…(we found the car because it was the only one left in the car park). Luckily, Carolyn takes on the role of navigator so we get home on a straight road, in one piece, only passing the pub once. 

A good day …

…except for the cheesecake.