Monday I had my first Parish Council Meeting for a couple of months. We weren't able to meet in June because we couldn't get enough councillors to meet at the same time due to various holidays. But before that I decided to watch the live coverage of the Olympic Torch going through Oxfordshire. I suspect I made completely the right decision to watch the live streaming as I got to see far more of it than I ever would have if I'd gone to one of the local towns. But believe me I did try and fit in a trip to see it. It actually started in Oxford only a few miles from where I live. However, there is no parking in that area so I ruled out trying to attend there. Then someone told me on Facebook 10 minutes before it was due, that their husband had taken their girls to see it at the start and was parking at a local sports club that had opened up their parking facilities for spectators. Was it publicised? No of course not, it was word of mouth! I'm not sure what it was like in your area, but I really felt in Oxfordshire they discouraged people from going to see the torch unless it was going outside their house and then people were encouraged to go and view. The route in Oxford city took in the less attractive parts, the BMW plant (the benefits of sponsorship!) and the Iffley road running track where Roger Banister ran the first ever sub four minute mile. That venue was ticket only.
I had even taken the day off yesterday with the intention of driving to watch it at Abingdon when it went through the town. It was due through at just before quarter to eight in the morning. I had great plans of getting up early and driving to the outskirts of the town where there is ample parking, having breakfast after the torch came through with a friend who works in the town and then having a shop and doing some photography in the town. In the end, after lots of research I decided against it. They were closing car parks at 7am and roads up to an hour before it went through for a sponsors parade. It was beginning to look like I'd have to get up at 5.30am to get me out of the house and parked in time! I am not great in mornings so I took my Mum and I off to Bicester Village instead.
Spoils from Bicester Village.
In case you don't know Bicester Village is a Chic Outlet Shopping Village. They have locations all over the world. Bicester Village is hugely popular and successful. They have extended it and rumour has it they want to expand onto the site of the nearby Tesco. I have mixed feelings about Bicester Village. I am always excited when I decided to go and then I get there and I end up feeling slightly deflated and wonder what all the fuss was about. Whilst they do have high street stores like Fat Face, Hobbs, Jigsaw and Clarks Shoes, the majority of the shops are Designer: DKNY, Versace, Vivienne Westwood, Missoni, Mulberry, Burberry, Ralph Lauren. If you've never been you may be forgiven for thinking outlet means bargain. That would all depend on your view of a bargain. The items at the stores are the previous seasons and whilst there are some huge discounts I doubt too many of us would still want to pay, say, £395 for a dress that started off at £900. I came back with more than I often do. The Cath Kidston store has moved since I last went there. I think it may have taken over the old Clarks shop and it's really rather big. CK fans would probably think they've died and gone to heaven. I did a bit of early Christmas shopping and also bought myself a fun little oil cloth bag which I'm using already.
After lunch at nearby Bicester Avenue I did something that may shock a few of you. I came back on the motorway - just one junction to Oxford Services. Health problems in my late teens have left me borderline phobic in certain situations with regards to driving and even long journeys as a passenger on public transport if I'm alone. One of my big issues has been motorway driving and I've never before driven on a motorway without another driver as a passenger. I don't talk about this issue very often because people tend to want to help by offering advice and it's not always helpful, as if it was just as easy as doing what's suggested, a million phobics across the world wouldn't have a problem would they?!
If that wasn't enough excitement for yesterday, in the evening I had my first book group meeting. A few of us in the village are getting together to read a nominated book and discuss it at 6 weekly meet ups. Our first book was Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brookes and well worth the read.
Hopefully when I next post it'll be sewing related and there is that birthday give away coming up soon!