On a beautiful sunny afternoon last week, residents and staff piled into the Cumnor Hill House minibus and set off for Abingdon, where we all boarded one of Oxford’s well-known Salter’s Steamers; Salter’s Steamers is a family-run business providing a variety of water trips and cruises and have been putting on these special trips on the Thames for over 150 years.

With idyllic scenery, lovely refreshments and a healthy dose of chatter, everyone was having a lovely time, then as we headed under Abingdon Bridge, we were accompanied by a gaggle of geese swimming down the river. This was our first sight of many types of wildlife on our journey, which included grey heron, brown hare running along the river, dragonflies, butterflies, ducks and swans.

A guide announced places as we passed historical buildings and places of interest – a vintage boathouse brought much interest to the residents as well as the very quaint and pretty Iffley Lock, along with stories of the King’s Arms public house with a garden overlooking the river. People waved while observing the many boats that passed.

We all had a good giggle at one of the locks, when we saw a sign saying: ‘The cooking of roast dinners, bacon, egg or sausage sandwiches is prohibited whilst in the lock. Please pass all such items to lockstaff for safe disposal.’

John, our wonderful maintenance man, met us in Oxford in the minibus, and he took us back to Cumnor Hill House just in time for refreshments and home-made cake. It was a really great, relaxing afternoon, complimented by residents, staff and other passengers – if you’ve never been on a Salter’s Steamer, we’d highly recommend it!