Not another adventure?


In as much as the two ‘adventures’ I’ve told you about lately have involved things not going quite to plan, this definitely counts as an adventure.

As I said in my previous post, I recently spent a week at the Carmelite priory at Boars Hill, Oxford.

The train journey was going fine, we were on time, and I had a taxi booked to take me on to the Priory which is only about three or four miles on foot but rather further by road.

I had walked from the station some years ago when going for the weekend with only a small suitcase, but dragging a suitcase across a field had been a bit of a struggle, and going for a week I had a bigger case, so I felt it was best to take a taxi.

You are advised to phone ahead and book a taxi with this one company as the Priory has negotiated a special price for the journey.

The problems started just outside Oxford. The train stopped! and waited, and waited. I got a text from the taxi driver and I explained how it was.  Eventually I arrived, found the taxi, only five to ten minutes later than booked. The traffic was very bad and the journey was slow. It became obvious that the taxi driver didn’t know what a priory was and why I might be going so far out into the countryside. I tried a few words of explanation but the only word he understood was ‘religious’. I had told him that the priory was near the scout centre and pointed out the road signs to the scout centre when they appeared but no! he was following his satnav.

We turned down a very narrow road and I began to wonder if this was the right way. I knew the road got narrower near the priory but I didn’t it remember it being this much.

Very soon we reached a dead end, the taxi driver saw a man walking a dog and asked him where the priory was. The man said that he knew you could get there by following the footpath up the hill but he didn’t know how to get there by road. I said that I had a map in my suitcase. I was sure now that we had turned off too soon.

The taxi driver then turned nasty and said that if he looked at my map he would have to charge me more, showed me his satnav – mostly white with a big down pointy thing in the middle and said that the satnav showed that we had arrived!

I was angry but didn’t feel up to a fight so I got out, paid what he asked (£3 more than the priory agreed price, I later learnt) and looked at my map.

Luckily I was wearing my walking boots, had a trolley suitcase and A MAP.

These photographs you can understand were taken on another day but this is what I saw.


I wished that I had thought to bring my compass but I am pretty good at map reading, so I soon felt assured that this was the way to go.


By the time I got into the wood things got a bit trickier.

There was mud!


and a narrow rough uphill path.


At the top it flattened out and became more of a track.


Was this doing my suitcase wheels any good? I wondered.

At last I saw something I recognised.


Soon I reached the road and had about another five or ten minutes walk to get to the main entrance


and down the drive to the entrance to the retreat centre.


I felt shattered!

But if you have followed me this far maybe I should reward you with some happier pictures.

My room had a skylight window through which I could see trees


and later I realised that one of the gaps (on the right above) was heart shaped.


A happy sign.

The grounds have lots of…………….can you guess?




and beautiful views over towards Oxford.


Maybe you are glad you weren’t with me on this adventure but I hope you liked the destination.

Have you been having any adventures lately?



13 thoughts on “Not another adventure?

  1. I wish you had telephoned us. Any one of us would have happily brought a car for you. Oh sure we would have still got lost, but would have been far less hostile whilst using your map. Anyway, glad the end result was a pleasant retreat.


  2. I had an adventure in Oslo when I was 21 involving my friends leaving my at a club, walking the streets at 4 am (in the summer, so it was still light out), phoning my friend who gave me his address, finding a stranger who got me a taxi and gave the driver the address (which I couldn’t pronounce). After discovering that my friend gave the wrong street number, the driver let me use his phone (not without some grumbling). We finally made it, and I (over)paid him. But he took off before giving me my change. All in all, overpaying was better than not making it to a safe place. All involved agree never to mention it to any of our mothers. 🙂


  3. I hope you told the Priory about your experience as they should tell the taxi firm’s manager, or at least complain on your behalf. Imagine if it had been a dark winter afternoon and a first time visitor?
    Glad the stay turned out to be better than the journey.


    1. Yes I did complain for precisely that reason. The receptionist did phone the manager and I was promised a £3 reduction on the cost of my journey back to the station at the end of the week but in the end I shared a taxi with two others and the taxi driver said the charge would be on the meter as there were three of us. (Again a grumpy aggressive attitude.) I thus paid less than if on my own but I really don’t trust the taxi drivers to keep to any agreement so next time will try and take a bus and walk.


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