Oxford is such a lovely city

I will do my best to avoid another blog this week where I say that something broke on the boat and we got it fixed. I will just mention that our electrics are now working really well, but our heating boiler isn’t. Narrowboat life hey!

This week we have been travelling around in North Oxfordshire. The Oxford canal has been closed all winter as it goes down into Oxford, but we discovered that it was about to be reopened, and were one of the first boats to go through. We have spent a couple of days moored here and what a truly lovely city it is.

St Peter’s College, Oxford

The buildings are simply awesome. I wandered around, peeking through gates into the famous colleges. I visited the Ashmolean museum, completely free to see antiquities from ancient empires. I took advantage of being in a town to get some drugs for Mandy’s ongoing cold. I discovered that the famous Martyrs’ monument isn’t actually where the Catholic priests Latimer, Cranwell and Ridley were burnt to death – that was on a nearby street near Balliol college.

And best of all, I got to look around St. Peter’s College. My grandfather was one of the founders of this college in the early 20th Century. Although we visited my grandparents in Oxford regularly, I can’t remember seeing the college. It is a fine set of quads, surrounded by a mixture of old and new buildings. One of these used to be the head office for the Oxford Canal Company, which is a nice link for me.

I would not have discovered any of this if we had not been on the boat. What a lovely city.

Is lockdown damaging your mental health?

A couple of things have made me reflect on my mental health this week. I read an excellent blog from someone managing depression. I won’t share it here because it is personal but it reflected on how difficult it is to balance taking ownership for solving mental health issues yourself, with the need to ask for help. The author is in the final year of university, with the stress of coursework and exams reinforced by demoralising rejections for job applications. That would be the same in any year, but layer on a lockdown when the opportunity to get out, get away and get support is more difficult, and depression looms all too easily.

The second thing is much more positive for me. For some reason this week I have had quite a few friends reaching out to check in. It is amazing how much difference it makes to receive a message asking how you are. I have certainly found this lockdown the hardest. I am not sure if that is because now I am retired, I do not have work to distract me; or if it is because vaccines make the end seem so close and so far at the same time. But the small contacts with friends have certainly helped. A lesson for me that I should make more effort to stay in touch. Not a strength for me!

My wife and I have been talking about what we do with our plans for this year. We were meant to be staying on Orkney for six weeks and then travelling the English canals in our narrowboat. Realistically the Scottish government seems to be saying it will be summer before we are allowed to travel. Perhaps we should see more of Scotland and postpone moving the boat. Or move it at the end of the season. We are just looking forward to the time we can make decisions without restrictions.

Has the lockdown affected your mental health too? If so, how are you managing it? I’d love a comment to hear from you.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑