Sunday, August 17, 2008
On being English
Day 19, Abingdon
Having tied up last night next to an empty field, we were slightly perturbed this morning to hear whinnying and tannoy announcements, and watched over the course of the morning as the field filled up with horse boxes of varying vintage, horses, ponies, and small children in uncomfortable looking clothes - some sort of equestrian event was, it seems, taking place in the adjoining field.
We were unsure whether to stay here all day or make our way onwards, but Bones and Maffi said that if we stayed, we could all have a barbecue, which rather tipped the balance in favour of staying. We had a wander around Abingdon - quite nice; I think I'd be happy to stay here for a few weeks, but not forever. We found a Waitrose, which was a rare cornucopia of delights (even at home we only shop in Somerfield). We wandered around in a daze, bemused by the riches of choice on offer. Buying exciting high quality expensive stuff made such a nice change from buying boring rubbish expensive stuff. In particulr, we secured the toffee pecan meringue roulade that had been recommended for dessert.
After lunch we sat and watched the world go by, saw small children returning to their horse boxes with rosettes or glum expressions, and the field empty again, and then it was time for the barbecue. Maffi and Bones set out a table and benches and laid out a splendid spread, with three sorts of gin and lashings of ginger beer, and the barbecue was lit. And then it started to rain. Were we downhearted? Of course not; how we embraced the challenge. Were we going to let a bit of precipitation drive us under cover? What, when they'd gone to all the trouble to set it out? Indeed not; we are English, and if sitting in the pouring rain eating Waitrose burgers and celeriac coleslaw while wearing a sou'wester is what it takes to prove it, then we were a match for the task. The crisps got a bit soggy though.