Monday, 1 August 2011
Et in Arcadia Ego
On the Oxfordshire-Warwickshire border - within walking distance of Traitor's Ford, (still a ford and named during the Civil War, though by which side I can't remember), and Hook Norton, home of the famous beer, and Cherington, where so many delicious English days were passed in what now feels a sort of Bridesheady youth, and, of course, not that far from Adlestrop itself - an idyllic weekend. Leaving London on Saturday, sans children, buying damsons and Evesham plums and English prosciutto, eaten with sweet bread from Ronnie's bagel bakery in West Hampstead, snoozing post-prandially in the sunshine, reading a superior thriller, before a little romance, showers and then out, to walk the half mile to the neighbouring village, there to eat barbecued lamb and grilled courgettes sliced thinly, and to drink well around a restoked barbecue in the company of old and good friends. Waking the following morning with the sky blue before us, breakfasting on local eggs, and heading off to a nearby yard sale, where we buy a Burmese oven and a pretty garden bench decorated with fruit. There follows a walk, a good hour above the two villages and through the woodlands, down through meadows fluffy with poppies and cornflower and purple thistle and daisies and meadowsweet and I don't know what, to the pub; two pints of the local brew and half a pint of prawns, and then returning again to the friend's garden, which is half meadow itself, light as summer, where we sit for a while before returning with a dawdle to our own cottage. A siesta, a watering of the plants, and a clear up before we pile into the car with bench and oven and dog and return to London... meanwhile, at Trent Bridge, Broad and Bell are making cricket important again. Summer in England.