25.3.06

France comes to Oxford

A rare visit to Oxford yesterday...it's not the Oxford it used to be, though admittedly if you are in need of sustenance you are well served, since as soon as any shop closes (usually due to the high rents the council demands) it is replaced by some form of nosh-shop. In fact, in George street, it is hard to find any outlet which is not some kind of eaterie chain. But I digress...this journey, taken by our rural bus service, takes a whole day. Living where we do, with only a couple of basic shops, a Trip to Town demands that you fit in all the errands you've been saving up for months. Starting with the 9.35am bus, (in my best corudory trousers) and changing at Witney, getting off at PC world for essential computer repair stuff, waiting half an hour in the wind for the next Oxford bus, and finally reaching journeys end at lunchtime, where I discovered Broad Street had been taken over by a visiting French market. The bustling air was saturated with savoury whiffs of cured meats. Tempting...



But first things first. An appointment at Bravissimo, where I spent nearly two hours being 'fitted'. Ladies, if you live in the UK, and your front bit feels like you're carrying a small rucksack, I cannot recommend Bravissimo enough. Never mind going to M & S, where you will be severely measured with a cold tape, and sent forth after five minutes - this is An Experience. I knew other people who had been through this initiation, and their accounts have been evangelical...they were right. I have had an epiphany. No tapes, just a cubicle and a nice young lady who surveys you with expertise, and then utters the magical words 'you have a tiny back'. Much later, I emerged a different bust size, with the same shining light in my eyes and a completely new set of 'over-the-shoulder-boulder-holders'. And went forth to inspect the French market. By now my pocket money had run out, so I restrained myself to one wild boar salami. But it was an orgy of deliciousness, and a welcome change from the dour catchpenny atmosphere of the regular Oxford market.















































































After this, a cursory browse round the city center - I always feel I have to make the effort, but get overwhelmed by the cacophony and visual noise. I was also terribly sad to see the closure of yet another old Oxford bookstore closing, no doubt to be replaced by a ubiquitous sandwich bar.

As usual, I fled back to the bus stop, and made a stop-over over in Witney - more errands - before catching the connecting bus back to the peace of the village and arriving home at 6.30pm, wrung out and with a rare headache. Jobs done, and relief at it being over for another few months.

14 comments:

Nasir said...

Nice ,informative post....



~jeelani

Stuntmother said...

Some day I like to think we will wander a market together -- in Oxford or somewhere in Devon, and buy sausage and go and cook something wonderful. It may simply be escapism but all this recent hoopla over our bright but eccentric child has made me so desperately long to return to England where eccentricity is more welcome, at least more welcome than here.

In any case, it is a nice thought. And I'm so off to that brassiere shop.

PG said...

SM, I'm sure one day we will...there are plenty of nice farmer's markets in Devon and Cornwall just waiting to be browsed. They'll still be here if you make the leap. :)

Maya said...

i've been drooling over those pictures...when I visited france I couldn't get enough of the food there... :) And those soaps... look inviting..."sniff-sniff"
Bravissimo sounds like fun... ;)nothing like that around here unfortunately...

Emm@ said...

I too have had The Bravissimo Experience! They are so wonderful, especially when they tell you nice things like "you have lovely high bosoms"!! I discovered I am a 34F, and I practically live in my Bravissimo special. I must go and get another!

Anyway, that is some French market. All the ones that visit down my way tend to fob you off with a crepe stall and a bit of baguette. Beautiful.

Roz said...

Oh thanks so much for posting these pics of Oxford. My uncle lives there and it has been a few years since I've been over the "pond" to visit.
What a shame about the changes - bookstores etc.

tlc illustration said...

Why is it that sandwiches have a larger draw than books? I can't figure out why eating out has basically become a 'sport', while non-food shops struggle and dwindle...

Donna said...

Mmmm delicious photos Gretel.

Joanna said...

The french market looks totally delicious. I saw one in a large village near here but did not have time to stop. Good fitting bra's are so important but expensive and I seem to put on wieght and loose it all the time so never know my size.

What a grand adventure you had sounds like a wonderful but tiring day.

CAS said...

I particularly like that photo with all the garlic bulbs - lovely abstract pattern, quite apart from the subject matter!

Cathy xxx

ULLA said...

What wonderful mouthwatering photos! And a fitting too? what a wonderful girlie thing to do...

Donna said...

Gretel My blog URL has changed to www.thefabricofmylife.blogspot.com
Hope you are well
D xxx

muddy red shoes said...

The market looks good, also wanted to say that I LOVE the Numptys, is there a little music running through your mind when you draw these, like Philip Glass played on an old music box? :-)

PG said...

Old music boxes are definitely definitly resident in my head, in fact, I am thinking of a story which involves a broken music box and the toys who try to mend it...:)