Sunday, 15 May 2011

Being British

Over the May bank holiday my best friend (who also happens to be my ex-boyfriend and ex-housemate and a lovely Welshman) came back from spending six months living and working in New York. Unfortunately for those of us who like spending time with him he was only staying for 10 days before returning to NYC for the foreseeable future. That said, guess where the majority of my holidays will be being spent from now on! (More on my recent holiday there another time.)

Anyway, back to the point. Ina was visiting Oxford and I for four whole days and, having become a little concerned he was becoming a little too Americanised, I planned a truly Bristish experience. The first day he arrived I booked a table at The Trout, a lovely little pub in Wolvercote on the bank of the Thames for a traditional Sunday lunch. I had Lemon and Thyme Roast Chicken with Apricot Stuffing whilst Ina went for Pork with Crackling. It was rather nice to find a Sunday lunch menu that served the full variety of typical meats. The menu offered a choice of roast chicken, pork, lamb, beef or salmon. We celebrated the beautiful weather of the bank holiday weekend with a jug of Pimms. You really can't get more British than that! The food was lovely and the afternoon was made all the more British by an afternoon constitutional afterwards down the Thames Path, which was great until we finished our walk a good 2 miles from where we had parked the car and had a less pleasant walk going to retrieve it!

The next day we hired a rowing boat from the little hire place behind The Head of the River and went for an hour rowing on the Thames through the grounds of Christ Church College and past the University boat houses.

This hard work was rewarded with a lovely cider in the garden of The Head of the River. And yes I even like my cider pink!

This was all followed by a picnic in the grounds of Christ Church where we lay in the sun on my new shiny picnic blanket and indulged on a variety of exciting foods and cloudy lemonade in plastic cups.
You really can't beat lying in a meadow, even if it is in the middle of Oxford City Centre.

Day three was spent in Burford, a little town in the Cotswold just north of Oxford. Burford (and indeed the rest of the Cotswolds) is famous for cream teas and this was the main purpose of our visit. However it seemed a waste to not enjoy some of the countryside whilst we were there so we went walking down bridle paths and across fields before returning to the town for our treat.

For our afternoon tea we visited Huffkins Tea Rooms on the main street. One of the first things that struck me was they had a whole menu devoted to Afternoon Teas and Ice Cream Sundaes. This really was my kind of place.

Having chosen a cream tea for two we were soon tucking into scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam accompanied by their special blend tea, served in a teapot with a hot water jug, milk jug and sugar cubes. This may not seem much to the average Brit but for Ina who lives in New York where you can't get even a decent cup of tea made with a teabag this must have been bliss.

I've got to say I enjoyed being truly British for the weekend and appreciating what Oxford and the surround countryside has to offer. I plan to do much more of it this summer.

I love being British.