Once clear of the perils of Oxford, however, one gets into the open country, usually one seems to get onto the Henley road. Of course half Oxford has done the 23 miles to Henley in half-an-hour, but then one suspects that the clock in Henley is kept conveniently slow. At any rate it is a nice road ; Dorchester is most attractive with its enormous church, and Benson would also be charming if it was not so intimately connected with the death feuds at the far end. Thence by Huntercombe Golf Club of Morris fame to Henley, where one either sinks into a punt to rest after one’s labours, or goes on to Maidenhead and London.
Then there is the Headington Road, which either takes one to London by a road which is all” up “, but which looks like being magnificent soon, or to Thame, and at any rate gives one a hill-climb to start off with. At Thame there is the Spread Eagle where one dines, as the French say, or else there are some A.A. notices for those who still feel energetic, which take one round about five sides of a square and -finally land one on the Aylesbury road. After Aylesbury one can turn homewards again and come back to Bicester of hunting fame ; and thence to Oxford by road which was obviously specially designed for those who wish to practice taking rightangle corners, with blind hedges to give them a spice of excitement. The Banbury Road is perhaps the dullest out of Oxford
and has few attractions except a few straight stretches where one could get up quite a good speed if it was not that there is always a strong head wind blowing in both directions. The Woodstock road is much better, for Woodstock itself is charming, and from it one can go on to Stratford-on-Avon a swing away to the left and the Cotswolds. On a fine summer afternoon there is no more attractive district than the latter, and if the villages were not so nice, one would still like them for their names. The most extravagant inventions of the Puddlecombe-in-the-Slush order are all really there, and if one is not mad enough to visit them in the slush season, they are as good as their names. Finally one gets to Witney and so back to Oxford by Eynsham, where one has to be careful not to crash the toll-bridge.
There are two more main roads out of Oxford, by Abingdon and Cumnor Hill, and each of them lead more or less to the Vale of the White Horse, the great rolling chalk hills with their curious stone monuments of prehistoric times and absurd villages forgotten by the world. The Vale vies with the Cotswolds as the most attractive point towards which to set one’s trusty (or fickle) motor.
At all events, North, South, East or West there are places worth going to ; and as distance lends enchantment and all that, Oxford is all the pleasanter when one returns to it, and all the more welcome if the time happens to be 11.59 p.m.
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