Hitchhiking journals: Oxford to Worcester and Aberystwyth, 1979

June 16, 2011 in Hitchhiking journals | Comments (0)

 

March 30, 1979

Left Oxford this morning with £ 31- 60 in my pocket. Caught a bus from the Queen’s Lane stop to Woodstock (left my gloves on it) and walked a little way to start hitching. First lift was in a big van, heading towards the north, Manchester and Birmingham. Took me as far as the junction of the A44, where it goes on to Chipping Norton. Waited there about 15 min and got a lift from a young man – a computer analyst who’d studied at Birmingham. Said he’d returned from a holiday in India about three weeks ago. Talked about India, politics in England etc. He was staunchly Labour and left-wing and wanted England to get out of Ireland. We drove through beautiful Cotswold country and lovely villages – esp Broadway. Dropped me at a village called Pershore.

Middle-aged, ruddy faced teacher in an old jalopy picked me up next (without my even putting out a thumb), and took me to Worcester.

 

 

Spent a long time looking around the Cathedral.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The caretaker came up and showed me all over, without my asking.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Took many pictures.

Nave, Worcester Cathedral

 

Had trouble getting out of Worcester. Finally took a bus a little way out of town. Picked up by a lady with a forceful manner. Said she had a son at Lancaster Univ. and another who works as a village policeman. Said about India: ‘We get to hear so much about the very poorest Indians, we never realize that there is a middle range too’. This was accompanied by a meaningful look. Didn’t take me far though and I had to wait a long while until an elderly chartered accountant picked me up and took me to Bromyard. There I was given a lift by a battered old lorry. Driver Welsh, with wonderful accent. Very friendly; home and family in Knighton. Dropped me outside Leominster and was picked up by another truck – driver in his 40s, pleasant but reserved. Drove through beautiful half-timbered villages – crooked little houses on crooked little streets – unbelievably picturesque. Dropped me at Crossgates and was picked up there by a sports car, driven by a distinguished-looking man with white hair. Said he was a radiologist and had been taught by Chris Simon’s father. We stopped for a drink at a pub and he offered to put me up for the night at his cottage (he was on his way there when he stopped for me). I’m at the cottage now – it’s a long way off the main road and has a wonderful view. Can see the sea.

 

 

He’s won an M.C. [Military Cross]; sails a lot; is obviously prosperous. Has two children – a son in Birmingham U. studying medicine; daughter in Cardiff, studying optics. Cottage charming – 14 miles from Aberystwyth. Will drive me out to the main road tomorrow.

He won the MC in Suez, rescuing trapped soldiers. Objects to war, was doing this for medical reasons. Very nice man; told stories about the Indian doctors in his area and how Indian they are.

Weather dull and grey in the morning, but no rain. Almost bright in the evening.

 

[Left with: £28 – 86 ½ : 1.50 on film; 40 p. on Cathedral booklet; 52 p. on bus tickets]

 

Aberystwyth, Wales

[to be continued…]

 

 


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