G'day from Oxford. Kylie has posted a few words about farming so I thought I'd include a picture of a real crop.
Yesterday I left Brighton while Maki looked on in disbelief at the amount of stuff i fitted onto the bike. I set off with the GPS set for Winchester. Set on 'avoid motorways' it still sets the most direct course on the next biggest roads, so i enjoyed a fairly direct journey to Winchester, passing through Midhurst, where the 'On the Run' service station is. I thought seeing as i was this close i would have a look at the building I'd heard a song about for as long as I can remember. The Cathedral is pretty impressive and I enjoyed my visit, but I think now I've been to Westminster Abbey all the other churches pale inot insignificance.
Winchester is another fairly relaxed town with the usual array of cafes & bars full of people, makes me wonder if anyone is still working, but i suppose i shouldn't comment!
Out of Winchester i set off for Oxford, that several people had said was worth a look. i was riding along the A34 when a driver in a Volvo started pointing out the window at something high on the right side of the road. as he did so he slowed down, so i thought it was a speed camera and did likewise. We passed the object side by side (me on his right) and he kept on pointing at my bike. he was saying something i thought was 'light' but not knowing to what he was referring i thought the best course of action was to pull over and check the machine. That's when i found the wheat crop - down a side road. the bike looked fine to me - I think many people are concerned by the way only one of the headlights works on low beam, which is always on.
The road looked much more interesting than the A34, so i turned off the GPS for only the second time since I started riding in this counrty, and followed my map through some small villages. These usually consist of not much more than a group of houses gathered around a pub and that's exactly what Peasemore is like. I walked into the 'Fox & Hound' and asked the publican if there was a camping ground nearby. He looked bemused and said I should camp in the cricket ground across the road. So, after a good English pub meal, that's what I did.
Last night i experienced the first lot of rain on the tent and yes, it does leak. I have bought a can of waterproofer though so will fix it today if the sun stays out for an hour or so.
The wet tent meant I got up and underway much earlier than usual (7.00am) and not much was open. breakfast was fruit from the markets setting up in Wantage. Oxford was pleaseant when I arrived, the rain still falling lightly. It has lost its charm now though as hordes of tourists (yes I know that's what I am, but there's only one of me!) roam the streets. I completed the obligatory climb of the Carfax Towert though, and met a Welshman up there (he took the photo) who told me of a couple of places to see in Wales, so I might go there next.
I walked around Oxford carrying far too much gear (can't really leave it on the bike) and managed to avoid being arrested (so far) when the heat retention qualities of the motorcycle riding clothing I was wearing got too much for me and I dropped my dacks behind a shed at Christ Church to remove the thermal lining. Much cooler now though!
I'm off now, will write again soon.