The Whirr of Wheels on the Open Road…(Day One)August 28, 2009 at 7:10 pm | Posted in Anne, Cycling, Dick, Eating and Drinking, Travel | Leave a comment
After a brief pause at the very friendly Oxford cycle shop BikeZone (for necessities such as spare inner tubes, bungee cords and a cycling helmet for me), the first challenge came with the long slow hill leading up to the village of Cunmor, home of (Blyton detractor) Phillip Pullman. Luckily we were well fortified, having had slow energy-release porridge for breakfast. We soon reached Appleton, a proper FF-style village with quaint cottages and post office. Unfortunately it was far too soon to stop for ginger beer or ices so we pressed on through Longworth, Pusey and then Buckland, where we had a unfriendly reception from a pub landlady who objected to us sitting outside and munching on our sandwiches alongside her crisps and ginger-beer-without-the-ginger. Despite a massive storm brewing up, she sent us forlornly trundling out into the rain, very much like poor Anne and Dick in Five on a Hike Together.
Cycling past the grand Palladian frontage of Buckland Hall, we were then treated to a long downhill stretch that took us down to and across the Thames, through Bampton and then to Canfield where, needing to avoid ‘the bonk’ (yes, this became a frequently used term over the course of the three days), we stopped to share a lovely cream tea with miniature scones and a large pot of English Breakfast.
From Canfield it was a mere 3 ½ miles to Kelmscott and Manor House Farm. Emma gave us a warm welcome and showed us the barn where we could leave our bikes.
Having unpacked and showered, our thoughts naturally turned to the village pub. Unfortunately, The Plough was closed so we had to re-mount our trusty steeds and head over to The Bell in Langford, about 3 miles away. It was well worth the journey. We had a hearty dinner of homemade Arbroath smokie fishcake and salad (for me) and rich beef pie with chips (for James) and a couple of glasses of wine before a coffee-fueled exhilarating (and mildly terrifying) moonlight cycle ride back to Kelmscott.