Afternoon in Oxford

Cool in the morning, turned hot in the afternoon.

I set off for Oxford an hour later than I would have wished.

Why a bull outside Oxford Station, down the side of the Said Businesses Centre?

From Oxford Station, a pleasant walk along the Oxford Canal, past a lock that drops down to The Thames, or at last a waterway leading into the Thames, over a footbridge and into Jericho.

A choir singing outside a pub. No idea why.

I back tracked, a zigzag and opposite end of Juxon Street, 101 Coffee. It could not be easier to find, only not at first obvious as a different name displayed. It looked interesting, I stuck my head in, to learn it was 101 Coffee.

i little exploration of Jericho, one place had excellent lloking cakes on dpsialy.

Excelelnt cappuccino. A chopice of cappuccino, V60 or Aeropress. Alo batch brew.

Upsatirs abarer shop.

It was then back down the Oxford Canal. I could have carried on down the road an dit would have brought me out where I wished to be but I dediced Oxford Canal would the more leeant walk tan along a roda. |

Lunch at the Oxford streey food market. What I had Persian was nota ll that good. A stall I saw earleir, when I returned was already packing up.

It was tehn too Sociarty Cafe. I wish they woudl revise their decison no cash, but I was running late. I picked up Society issue 1 and 2 and scoupel of editions of Caffiene. Society far superior to Caffeien. Anythinfg supertio to Caffeien.

I noticed tehy had Cereal. Did anyoen know where to obrtain it from? No.

Chatted with their head nbarsta outside.

A guy had lined bottleds up on a wall. Was he seting uo a bar I asekd. He laughred and said no. told mehe was homless and offered me one. I said no but I would pay hi, We agreed ona price of £2w. I had no change. A fiver? OK, I will give you tow. I sai dno, one was ok. What I do dnot at firs undersnand was he was offering me tow bottels as he had no change. I took tow.

He opened one for m,e.

We sat chatting. He told me he had mobed recently from Reading, had got a hostel in reading. He did not like it, but it was one step up the ladder from being homles and would lead to better accomdation.

He laiked to buy a few buys, spend the day in the park.

It wa snot carft beer. He agreed, not as good as craft beer.

I darnk half and asked wiould eg like the rset.

Wakiling down the street I wa spelased I had stayed and cahtted with him over a beer. Homeless peopel are rtared as theough they are invisble, or worse. Thsoi living on the street get atatcked, their belongings stolen.

It was then tio Oxford Covered Market. It was gone five. Every where clsoed. I foudm Columbia Coffee Roasters. They to were clsoed but the basrta beckeobeed me in to join him. Waht did I want. Was tgheir machne still on. OK, a capuccino. No, a V60. A special treate, Wush Wushma very rate coffee,w hat the Columbian chamion barsta had used.

It wa satrneg. I coudl not make my mind up if I liekd it or not. He agreed.

They have bean-to-bar schocilate, but not in stock and no idea when.

Bags of chocialte. One small chips, the other chocolae buttons. They are actaually for deinking chocolate. I tried. Excelelnt as chocialte. I bought a bag. For quality cocolate, cheap for what woudl pay fora bar.

The amrket had long clsoed. Eveety locked. I was told a way tio get out.

Securty man was very surpsied when I wlaked out. Where ahve you been? I told him I was good at hiding.

A wander aroudn Radcliffe Square.

I thought leaving Oxford at 7-30 I would catch the same time train as I did a couple of weeks ago leaving at 6-30. Either I was too late or no CrossCountry train, which I had assumed runs hourly. Wait until 2006 and catch train for Paddington which stops at Reading.

Train ran slow. I just missed a train from Reading.

Next train at 2235, no trains for two hours for what is a service two trains an hour.

What of trains to Gatwick, planes to catch, what alternative transport has been arranged. Nothing, no information, no announcements.

I was told to find a Duty Manager.

A train to Basingstoke,leaving at 2107. I could go a very long way round. Guard and driver see me not looking very happy. Asked what’s up, I told them. I asked could I catch the Basingstoke train. They said yes.

At Basingstoke just missed a train. Have to cross to a central platform to see display for trains, then cross back again. A girl came in late from Salisbury, next rain to Reading cancelled.

She asked did the train I was waiting for go to Woking. I said yes, then told her she had just missed a Woking train.

On reflection I realised if she wanted Reading, she wanted Wokingham not Woking.

I caught the train to Woking, then bus. Arrived home 2220, 15 minuted before the train would have left Reading had I waited two hours.

Nightmare. Go out anywhere, never know if will get back home. Last week stranded at Alton, no trains, all trains cancelled, no information.

Situation is not helped by stations not manned, or at large stations like Reading, no staff to be, no announcements, no apology. And no one cares, at least the train companies do not care. The staff are almost begging for the trains to be taken into public ownership as they a see on a daily basis how bad the service has become.

— to be continued —

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