It’s amazing when you are going to be living somewhere for six months how much “stuff” you need. Despite careful planning and two giant suitcases and a well equipped cottage, we had accumulated quite a shopping list. When you live in a village of 400, with no shops, no gas stations, no nothing, shopping means going out. But the Cotswold’s are tourist country, so even the bigger “towns” offer little more than souvenirs and a mid-sized grocery store. What we quickly found by talking to locals is that “shopping” is only available in a few, widely spread locales. By shopping I mean drug stores, computer stores, sporting goods stores and the like. So we headed off to Witney, about 20 miles (one hour on the narrow and wet B roads). Witney is an ancient market town and has a lively city center shopping district. We managed to mark off about half our list. Seems today that the rural citizens of England rely on Amazon and the like even more than we do!
After a lot of walking around and hearing, “we don’t carry that but can order it for you”, we moved on to nearby Burford, a village we had passed through on our way from the airport.
A pretty downtown with a few good pubs, though the parking lot was half under water due to morning rains. The typical High Street below.
After a drop off at home, I searched Google Maps for nearby pubs. We have become well known at our “local”, the Kings Head, and a bit tired of the menu (and smokey fire and the crowded bar), and so decided to venture 5 miles down the road to Oddington, and the Fox Inn. What a find.
Lovely old building with lots of room and a much more inviting menu. Even had a Pinot Noir by the glass! The pix below were clearly shot in the summer, but even now the place is attractive.
I had a nice pork loin, but Cindi hit the jackpot with the chicken livers and grapes over toast with mushroom sauce. Amazing. British food, especially pub food, has been much maligned. We have found that the Brits have really raised their game (and their prices) when it comes to food at pubs and inns.
We finished it off with a fresh baked chocolate brownie covered in salted caramel sauce and topped with a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream. It’s back to the gym tomorrow morning for me!
While chatting up the help (a specialty of mine), I inquired about the two HUGE manor houses across the road. I was told they were owned by the Daylesford’s (of organic food fame mentioned in an earlier post). The “little house”, which I estimated at about 10,000 square feet of yellow sandstone and slate roofing, is owned by Alice Bamford (daughter of the Daylesfords), “but she lives in LA now”. Interesting. Googled her. Seems Alice is carrying on the family tradition, SoCal style, and is a bit of a Malibu health and beauty guru. Google her name and “Vogue” for an interesting article. So far, and yet so close. It’s a small world.
All the best from here.