We often discuss the lack of ‘us’ time and ‘out’ time we get due to Neil’s obligations with work. The company is based in San Francisco and that makes for outrageously long days for him. He has no need to go into the London office anymore since his duties have shifted away from what that team does. This means he’s here at his desk every day for twelve hours or more (mostly more). It’s crazy and starting to wear on us both. We popped into town for a coffee (and work from the Costa Coffee free wifi) earlier this week and made a quick stop into Waterstone’s. I chatted to someone I know and he found the local walks books and maps. He picked two and we promised ourselves that even if the weather wasn’t ideal (and goodness knows the English weather has been anything but ideal this summer) we’d head out for a ramble. You see, even on weekends we’re at our computers with writing projects, so this promise was a big one.
Promise kept. We picked a loop around Horspath- a respectable little 3.5 mile hike through some muddy, uphill, woodsy trails that got our blood moving, our sweat beading, and our appetites building. The weather held and the mostly cloudy skies parted for the odd photo opportunity. We’ve sworn to get out like this more often – perhaps even next Saturday – as we used to enjoy rambling quite a bit a couple of years ago. I’m even a little braver these days when it comes to the outdoors: I don’t scream and run nearly as much when I see a bee/wasp/bumble AND (Mom, you’ll not believe it) I ate blackberries from the vine. This probably doesn’t mean anything to most of you, but let me put it into context: I’VE NEVER HAD A BLACKBERRY BEFORE. Ever. And like hell I’d normally eat something that I couldn’t wash first. But these were perfect, untouched, unsprayed, wild blackberries by the thousands. At first, I resisted as Neil ate his way down a path. Then I inexplicably decided to be a big girl and try them. And what do ya know- THEY’RE DELICIOUS!
As I said, the day was mostly cloudy, so I didn’t take a lot of photos, but there are a few on my flickr page. Including this one of the cows we met at the start of the path.
Cows near Westhill Farm, Horspath, Oxfordshire.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the amazing place we had lunch after the ramble. It’s on the outskirts of Henley on Thames and is called The Old White Horse. They do this thing where you pick the sausages of your choice (we had vegetarian), the mashed potatoes of your choice, and the gravy of your choice for an absolutely astounding plate of quality food. They even make the gravies veggie-friendly if you’re having the vegetarian sausages. Awesome stuff. Each item has up to fifteen varieties! It’s a very classy place and they also serve a fine espresso. An instant favourite. Their website is under construction, but the post code is RG9 2JN.