Days Two and Three

September 1, 2009 at 8:31 pm | Posted in Cycle Rides, Cycling, Eating and Drinking, Fun and Games, Learning Stuff | Leave a comment
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Day Two of the holiday coincided with the remnants of Hurricane Bill passing over the UK. Manor Farm hens It started well though, as for breakfast we were presented with bacon from a local farm (Manor Farm is beef and arable) and eggs laid by Emma’s hens (pictured), as well as lashings of toast made from homemade bread, served with little dishes of Emma’s own marmalade and lemon marmalade.

After a morning trip to Kelmscott Manor (beautiful house and gardens – Aunt Fanny would surely approve of the planting if not the sexual morals of its Pre-Raphaelite/Arts and Crafts inhabitants) the rain really set in. Kelmscott vegetablesKelmscott grapesWe didn’t have sou’ westers and galoshes but instead donned our handy modern waterproofs and steeled ourselves for a walk along the Thames Path to Lechlade. This was partly due to hardy holiday spirit and partly to the fact that the Kelmscott pub still stubbornly refused to open and on a wet day there was nothing else to do in the village. Actually, the closure of The Plough was somewhat suspicious … My amateur sleuthing (aka gossip with the farmer’s wife) revealled that, after a 2-year period of closure, the pub had re-opened the week before but then the people running it had then been seen leaving late at night with a vanful of black bin bags. A moonlight flit! Tres mysterious!

Unfortunately we didn’t have time to investigate further as we were due to cycle back to Oxford the following day (it was a short holiday). We spent most of Wednesday afternoon playing cards in The Crown, a CAMRA-endorsed pub with its own microbrewery (I can recommend the ‘Thames Tickler’), and the next day we managed to find an extremely nice return route. Going via the quaintly named Charney Bassett, Kingston Bagpuize and Tubney (the ultimate in English chocolate box villages), this route took in more country lanes plus some absolutely killer hills (never, ever, cycle up Boar’s Hill nr Oxford unless you have 50 gears and thigh muscles like prize-winning hams). And after carrying our little pots of Ambrosia rice pudding across two counties we finally ate these upon our return, in the meadow outside James’ house.

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