Although the weather has been very cold it has been beautiful here - a bit like Narnia with frost staying on the trees and plants all day. On Sunday the sun came out for a while and we went for a drive to Banbury. All the way up on the Banbury Road I was going 'Wow!' - the countryside is breathtaking in Oxfordshire. I hadn't realised how beautiful this county is. And still very unspoilt (long may that continue). On the way back we decided to go to a little village called Tackley, as we'd heard it was nice. It was like going back in time about 100 years - a proper old-fashioned village with a few children playing on the pretty village green, a Christmas tree with lights waiting for a switching on ceremony that night. It was like a Midsomer Murders village without the murders! We went into the village's only pub, The Gardiner Arms and as we walked through the door we could hear the gentle bubble of conversation - no music or sport noise going on in the background. And to top it all the people in there were so nice and friendly. We whiled away an enjoyable couple of hours there and will definitely be returning!
We decided to take a winter mooring quite on impulse. We only became continuous cruisers this August and had planned to carry on moving around the canals, stopping for two weeks at a time, throughout the winter. The biggest worry about the decision to move to Oxford was whether I'd be able to work. My Vodafone dongle works fine in most locations on the Thames, but I had heard the Oxford canal was not the best place for a good signal. However we now know we made the right choice. It's quite a novelty having a new area to explore - we enjoy driving around Oxfordshire - there are some beautiful villages. My dongle decided to co-operate, I have a signal with one bar, but it works fine and I haven't had a problem so far. We miss friends and mail is a bit of a problem - we have to go back to Teddington to pick it up. But we aren't too far away and have been back to see people. We're so glad that we decided to stay put for the winter - especially with the weather as it is now. We've got all the facilities we need nearby and two good pubs to boot!
Although we haven't had much snow here in Oxford, the weather is icy cold and the canal is frozen over. However so far we've managed to keep toasty warm on the boat with our coal fire and paraffin heater. We've learnt a new trick - if we leave the kettle on top of the fire during the day it almost boils and so I can have multiple cups of tea without using too much gas!
My name is Angie Wood and I live on a narrowboat on the beautiful Oxford canal.
A long time ago in the eighties I studied Art and Design at Goldsmiths College and went on to be a paste up artist and then a graphic designer. I’ve never stopped painting and drawing though – I painted pet and animal portraits for a while and over the past two years have begun creating small oil paintings of vintage objects, textiles and flowers. I collect items from fleamarkets to paint and my little narrowboat is getting fuller all the time! I’m particularly delighted by colourful patterns on textiles and ceramics and I also love painting reflective surfaces. I’m usually attracted to items from the early part of the twentieth century, which bring back memories of my great aunts’ and grandmother’s cosy houses. My artistic aim is to pay homage to the things I paint by observing them as closely as I can, and to create something beautiful that will hopefully make people as happy as I was when I was making it!