For the weekend we cruised to Abingdon where yet another bridge of medieval origins spans the Thames. On Sunday we had another birthday on board, mine this time. For once the sun shone and we sat out on the bank and celebrated in the usual style with a cake, a glass or two and a jazz band playing in the pub garden across the river.
We wanted to see Oxford, but, being unsure of the moorings there, decided to bus in on Tuesday. After popping in somewhere for a coffee we set to, exploring some of the sights and admiring the historic architecture of the University buildings.
In Broad St. there is a cross set in the cobbles of the roadway. This marks the spot where Archbishop Cranmer along with Latimer and Ridley were executed on the orders of Queen Mary, daughter of Henry VIII. Cranmer had been one of the chief architects of the churches break with Rome and all three were burnt at the stake for heresy. They are now considered martyrs and a gothic style memorial to them stands just round the corner.
In the same road is an old pub, the Eagle and Child, dating from 1650 in which a celebrated literary group used to meet. Thier members included JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis who always refered to the pub as the 'bird and baby'. The Captain is a great Tolkien fan so we just had to go in for a pint. As he said, "it's the nearest I can get to rubbing shoulders with the great man"