Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Friday Returns

Packing up to go home is always a fraught, sole-destroying experience.  The clock is ticking knowing we have to leave by a certain time, and the internal clock is counting down the dreaded minutes till we get home to Birmingham.  It's not that we don't like Brum, we would love to be somewhere else, and this somewhere else with it's remoteness, picturesqueness, and easy access to lots of places was a sad place to be leaving.  But pack we did.

It was, fortunately, easier and faster than normal as without the usual roof-box we take with us we were limited to the amount of, erm, stuff that we could take with us.  Packed and off, we left a pretty and sunny Ham Island behind us.

Our wont is to always stop somewhere on our trips home, to break up the journey and squeeze a little extra in to our break.  We decided on Oxford as it's on the route home and is a nice place to stop and explore (me) and shop (the others).  Parked up, we wandered through Westgate and out in to the sunshine of this pretty city.

Little one, gradually declining, decided that by the time we had reached Boots that enough was enough and brought up her lunch which also brought an end to our stay.  We knew that home and bed was calling for her so off we went.  May be.

The traffic on the ring-road decided that our journey would not be prompt, and despite our efforts to avoid the blockages easily, we were not to succeed.  This is when the strangest bit of the holiday occurred.

In programming the sat nav to avoid the ring road, it asked if we wanted to avoid the toll road.  Toll road? There's no toll roads round here, we thought to ourselves.

Swinford Toll Bridge near Eynesham is, apparently, it's own little tax haven and the owner does not have to pay any tax on the revenue from motorists crossing the Thames via it's Grade II listed stone structure.  We were amazed as we approached the bridge, not believing that a toll bridge could be here.  We were flabbergasted at the price they wanted to charge us for passage.  I simply could not believe the man in the booth would have the cheek to stand there and hold out his hand for the princely sum of five pence from each passing car.  Yes, 5p.  We were amazed and laughed as we rummaged through our wallet and purses to find the right change.  How very, very strange.

Once found, the clear motorway ensured the passage home was swift and we trudged up the steps to the house and in we went.  Another breakcomplete.

We'd have no hesitation returning to Ham Island, a simply lovely place in the right location.  We didn't even touch the surface of London and have plenty more to see there, to show the kids there, and to explore ourselves.  We will, I hope, be back there soon.  I do love London so.


  1. You know there's a similar toll bridge to that here in Lincolnshire, although I doubt it's listed in anything but an army-surplus catalogue. I believe it's more like a pontoon, though I've never crossed it. Far too expensive - twice the price (at least) of yours!

  2. There's a similar toll bridge just outside Bath - although I seem to remember ridiculously expensive (20p I think, but last time I used it was years go). Funny how these little hangovers from days gone by still exist. Glad you had a great time.

  3. You guys are so extravagant - paying 10p and more to cross a toll bridge (and a pontoon one at that Mr Dotterel). At least Swinford was a proper arch stone bridge (how bridges should be, in my world).

    Nice to know these quirky things still exist to bring a smile to our faces.