Stuff And Stuff, Stuffed Everywhere! 20th November

Jericho Wharf to Aristotle Bridge

Time to move on.

We’ve not got our winter clothes out from under the bed yet, this morning we wished we had. Blimey it was chilly, lined trouser weather!

Breath in!

Squeezing our way past College Cruisers, with all the boats in it’s a tight fit. They seem to be doing weekend breaks, but come next week the distance you’ll be able to travel will be much shorter as Dukes Lock is closing for three weeks. This means that hirers will only be able to cruise up and down through Oxford, or go out onto the Thames for a couple of locks to do a ring. We’re planning on being through Dukes Lock in the next couple of days.

Muddy bikes

We only cruised on to Aristotle Bridge, passing a stack of bikes that had been pulled out from the cut at one of the bridges. Very glad we’d not got stuck on top of them! These moorings are not that popular. You are asked to keep the running of engines to a minimum and it is only 2 days mooring, All Year. This means you can’t pull up for two weeks in the winter, but it will serve us just fine, the moorings all to ourselves. Well apart from a Fountains team who were cutting back the hedges along the towpath. One chap had laid his long reach trimmer on the towpath, turned round to help clear what he’d just trimmed. As he did this his trimmer rolled into the cut, two of them had to fish it out with a long stick, suspect it’s petrol engine needed a dry out before it would start again.

Once we’d settled and warmed up we decided to head out to visit some museums. Our friend Bridget had suggested we should visit the Pitt Rivers Museum, so that is where we headed off to.

Natural History MuseumPitt Rivers Museum

The Natural History Museum stands proud set back from the road and the Pitt Rivers Museum clings on behind. In 1884 General Pitt Rivers, an influential figure in the development of archaeology and evolutionary anthropology, gave his collection to the University of Oxford. The building was designed to hold the collection of some 26,000 objects from around the world. The museum opened it’s doors to the public in 1887 to show part of the collection. Since then more items have been added reaching over half a million in number.

The structure of the Natural History MuseumInteresting detail from the natural worldWalking through the rather chilly Natural History Museum I rather wished we’d done a torch lit tour last week. Built between 1855-60 it is a fine (if chilly today) neo-gothic building. A glass roof supported on cast iron pillars covers a square court divided into three aisles.

Clever toesKeeping an eye on thingsCloistered arcades run around the court, each column made from a different British stone. Each pillar and column are decorated with differing natural forms such as leaves and branches mixing Pre-Raphaelite styles with that of science. What a building, filled with skeletons of various animals including dinosaurs. We had a quick look round, but decided to return at a later date to give it more time as we’d been warned of the quantity of stuff in the Pitt Rivers Museum.

Cabinet after cabinetStuffThrough an archway we descended into the museum, much warmer, maybe to help keep the stuff at a better ambient temperature, bones not needing much warmth in comparison.

LaceGreenland celebration dressCurveySkulls of enemiesFish helmetShieldsKeysHobnail bootsYes, well!Display cabinets filled the floor surrounded by two balconies running round the full building. In most ethnographic and archaeological museums items are arranged according to their country but here they are grouped by type. Musical instruments, masks, boats, lamps, guns, spears, baskets, the list goes on and on and on.

LampsEgyptian figureAladin's boatWe took our time walking round the display cabinets, the odd item jumping out from the masses. Egypt had followed me here too, a sarcophagus, oil lamps, amulets, a boat similar to that I’d based Aladdin’s canoe on. Models of houses and boats filled cabinets, shrunken heads and skulls others. The amount of stuff was quite overwhelming. Below the cabinets were drawers filled with stuff, perched high above cabinets were more filled with stuff, slotted in between roof joists was even more stuff. So much stuff! I’m surprised that they haven’t started to add galleries crossing from balcony to balcony, but maybe the foundations wouldn’t be able to cope with the extra weight.


Various masks caught my eye and the way spears were displayed was quite an art form in itself. Each item is labelled with its details. A fantastic place for research.

Skeletons in the Natural History Museum

After a good walk round we had had our fill of stuff. So headed to the Natural History Museums cafe for a bite to eat and a rest. Sadly with only one GF choice (a nice looking cake) we decided to return to Oleanna for lunch instead. The afternoon was spent winding up my receipts for Chipping Norton and keeping warm whilst Tilly explored the surrounding park, until the noisy kids headed home from school!

0 locks, 0.63 miles, 1 chilly morning, 2 museums, 519,897 pieces of stuff, 1 museum stuffed to the brim, 1 cake, £20 forgotten about, 27 reciepts, 4 stars, 3 rows off finishing a sock.