On a dark and muddy walk last night, I found out that Port Meadow was flooded. That’s not so unusual, but I thought I’d come back and take some pictures this morning anyway. They’re over the fold. Local interest only.
A first view of Lake Oxford…
Port Meadow is one of the finest parts of Oxford.
I mention it in Marxism tutorials from time to time with my students — it’s the biggest nearby piece of common land, and the expropriation of the mediaeval commons is a rather important part of Marx’s historical narrative at the end of the first volume of Capital. If the puzzled looks I get are representative of a wider population, then it’s safe to say that a large majority of the students who live here for three or four years never set foot on it, or even know that it exists.
This is curious, given that it’s quite large (forty acres), and only a short walk from the town centre. And I wonder whether that’s a consequence of the fact that more and more Colleges are providing more and more housing for students in the centre of Oxford, and so student life here is even more focused on the OX1 postal district than ever used to be the case. Whatever the reason, it’s their loss.
At the entrance to the meadow, I learn that I have just missed a talk on how to be a mammal detective. I don’t even know what a mammal detective is, but that may just show how cut off I am from the popular culture of a younger generation: the talk is for 8-13 year olds.
Looking north from the southern tip of Port Meadow.
This is a good view of just how high the Thames is right now — the bridge only just clears the water.
In some places it’s difficult to tell where the river ends and the meadow begins.
Looking towards the Perch at Binsey. I’ve been told it’s under new management, but I haven’t been to see if anything has changed there yet under the new regime.
Yes, alright, we’ve had a shot a bit like this one already.
More aquatic bipeds pose for a group portrait.
About here, the river is beginning to resemble a river again.
Looking towards the entrance (exit?) of Godstow Lock.
Godstow nunnery, currently nunless.
Looking upriver from Godstow, at the northern end of the Western Bypass…
I think that everyone disobeys the first part of this notice. (They seem to like eating crisps.) I don’t know about the second.
I had both kinds of animal life on this walk — some bipeds earlier (scroll up) and now, above and below, some quadrupeds.
This quadruped is making a fashion statement.
Wolvercote is basically a fine place, but some local activities are pretty disturbing. (I wonder how strong the correlation is between areas that have morris dancing and areas that vote Lib Dem.)
The Thames has only managed a medium-sized incursion onto Wolvercote Common, which is what the northernmost bit of Port Meadow seems to be called.
And I thought Goose Green was part of the Falkland Islands.
Aquatic bipeds on what’s basically a large puddle on the Common.
Given that it’s usually hard in more normal circumstances to walk the length of the meadow without getting your feet wet, I thought I’d head round and return home along the canal.
The Plough at Wolvercote, where I used to go drinking with Ewen, before he died.
Looking up the canal, towards Wolvercote Lock. You’ll notice that the more restrained Oxford Canal is better at maintaining itself within its banks than its unrulier cousin, the Thames (or Isis).
This is pretty high-tech, as far as I’m concerned.
Bernard and Shirley? Surely not. ‘Benevolence’, though, is a good name for a boat.
And a sign that we’re heading back towards Jericho, where the walk ends…