What I wrote at Lib Dem Voice

April 10, 2007

Scenes from a Bank Holiday week-end

Very traditional, very British… Sunday afternoon was spent picnicking in Christ Church meadow (albeit eating tortilla and jamon, which is perhaps a little more recherch√©).

Half a century ago, this idyllic setting was the subject of a bitter planning wrangle, following the proposal by Thomas Sharp, in his 1948 report, Oxford Replanned, that an ‘inner relief road’ be built across the meadow.

The debate raged for a full two decades, before being finally squashed by, inter alia, the then Minister of Housing and Local Government, Dick Crossman, who was my predecessor (by several generations) as a councillor for Headington ward on the City Council.


Part of the fun is reclining by the meadow, and watching the tourists who’ve hired their punts at Magdalen Bridge struggle to control their craft.

Some take to it, like… erm… ducks to water. Others thrash and flail, slaloming from one side of the Cherwell bank to the other - pure sporting schadenfreude.

Such pleasures - together with the gleaming, dreaming spires - even allow you to forget the downsides of picnics: bugs, needing the toilet, and the fact that bright April sunshine isn’t all that warm.

4 comments:

Jonny Wright said...

Do you ever go punting, Stephen? And are you any good at it?

Rob said...

That picnic photo has a distinct ring of Focus photo about it - there's something about the fact you're crouching down. You definitely look like you should be pointing at a potato salad in the road and looking serious!

Chris A said...

well if you will punt from the wrong end!

Stephen Tall said...

Jonny - I certainly /remember/ being very good at it. But my memory's now what it... what were you asking?

Rob - I'd need to be wearing a chicory rosette too.

Chris - some of the tourists compromised and punted from the middle.