Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Fair Game

This weekend was meant to include a trip to Hastings, X-men 3 and some time to catch up on work-related admin. Then it was going to be Hastings and a quick booze cruise to France. Then it was going to be a trip to the New Forest, and catching up with a dear friend from NZ who is spending a few weeks in Blighty. Then it turned out that said friend couldn't meet up with us over the weekend, but by that time our hotel in that part of the country was booked. Then it turned out that the web site we booked it on didn't have up to date information, and so we didn't really have a booking at all.

So, after all that, we called my friend DJ who lives in Sutton Courtenay (near Didcot / Abingdon) to see if he wanted to meet up with us, spend some time over the weekend, and visit a neolithic monument or two. And then it all worked out beautifully.

We met up with DJ outside his house. He has some major renovations - or perhaps earthworks might be a better description - going on at the moment, and will not let people past the front door. He took us around the village, pointing out the house now owned by Helena Bonham-Carter (left) and her husband Tim Burton (right).


Well, okay, that's really Ken Dodd, but I don't know many people who can tell the difference.

We meandered over muddy paths to see a weir on the Thames, and then back to see the grave of Eric Arthur Blair, and the house where the cabinet decided to ask the monarch of the day to declare the first world war.

After a small refreshment in a local hostelry (and I was driving, so mine was a surprisingly unshit alcohol-free lager), we headed off to the depths of West Berkshire to find our accommodation for the evening. We got a bit lost, but made it in time to grab a bottle of wine before the bar closed, and then spent a pleasant half-hour chatting with the owners and one of their regulars. I did a bit of magic, too, as it my wont.

Next day was very much the "very old things" day. We picked DJ up, and headed to Avebury, where we wandered around inside the various stone circles, and tried to get a feeling of something "other". That didn't really work. So, we stopped by Ye Olde Nu Age Shoppe, and I bought a book about witchcraft, more out of interest than any desire to become a practising Wiccan.

We then went to the Uffington White Horse and wandered there for a bit. Sadly, vertigo got the better of my Lovely Husband™, and he had to forgo walking on the horse, and then strolling down to the place where St. George killed the dragon. Still, we made up for that by a long and lovely walk to Wayland's Smithy before heading back to the car and back to Sutton Courtenay. We sorted out a B&B for the night, and stopped in there to drop off our bags before heading to dinner in Sutton Courtenay.

After a terrific night's sleep in a very comfortable bed, we went to Highclere Castle in the morning. It turned out they were having a "Game Fair", so the grounds were covered in 4x4s as all the yahoos and hoorays turned up to talk guns and grouse. We headed for the castle, bumping into the lord of the manor on the way, and decided that a stroll around the gardens would be enough. So, after a whistlestop tour of Oxford that included lunch in a pub more than 800 years old, we headed back home.

It's great when the unplanned plans pan out.

14 comments:

frobisher said...

You must be exhausted. Glad you went to Avebury, much better than stonehenge imo. You're obviously not v. responsive to ley lines!

Da Nator said...

My goodness - that sounds like a lot more fun than seeing X3! Then again, we don't have any neolithic standing stones in Brooklyn, that I'm aware of.

Do you do magic everywhere you do?

Inexplicable DeVice said...

St. George didn't slay the dragon. That's an old wives tale. The dragon utterly destroyed St. George and then ate his bones, tragically choking on his radius before exploding after not being able to burp it out satisfactorily.

The ensuing fireball could be seen for miles around and the nearby villages dined on (the rather tough) dragon meat for the next couple of days.

How do I know this? I was there...

And, no, I didn't eat any of the meat - I knew better. All that did died of food poisoning. Ha!

The Lady Muck said...

It is indeed.

Why did I not do any of these lovely country jaunts when I lived in Oxford... Oh yes, that's right, I'm a lazy cow.

Still, nice to know some people use their free time wisely :D

Qenny said...

frobisher: I wish I were more responsive to ley lines. I'm sure part of the reason I became a magician was because it looked like I was never going to be able to do real magic - but it's never stopped me wanting to, or trying to. Stonehenge was on the agenda when the agenda was based in the New Forest. I'd still like to visit, but the fact that you only get to view from a distance these days makes it a bit less appealing.

da nator: Possibly, but I still want to see X3 as well! I do tend do magic wherever I go, as opposed to have music wherever I go as a result of the rings on my fingers and bells on my toes. (Incidentally, I only mentioned that because we passed a sign for Banbury over the weekend, and "Ride a cock horse" has been stuck in my head ever since.) It's very easy to take a deck of cards with me, and that offers so many possibilities; so I usually do. It also gives me an easy social "in", making up for my general lack of social graces. If there are no cards around, or to supplement the card thing, I make use of whatever I find around the place - dominoes, cigarettes, matches, napkins, coins. Need to expand and develop that repetoire.

inexplicable device: I had a feeling you would be the one to enlighten me about that. I take it the crescent of whiteness where nothing ever grows is the explosion site? Was the dragon meat tough because they didn't cook it for long enough? I usually stew mine for at least three days in a crock pot.

m'lady: I am spurred on in this regard by my Lovely Husband™, who is determined to make the best possible use of his time in this country to see everything. To my shame, I had previously lived in London for almost ten years, and he visited the British Museum before I did.

Mike said...

Thanx for the comment on our blog. I didn't mean to make you cry.

shiftclick said...

Q, you have such an admirable interesting life. I hope, as you continue to post and I continue to read, that some of it will rub off on me.

jungle jane said...

I wish i was all cultured and refined rather than being shallow and hedonistic...

Qenny said...

mike: Hey, no worries, it was nice tears. The "oh, that's so sweet" kind. I like them.

shiftclick: Why thank you. I do make the most of the time I have, because I don't want to end up old and regretting what I didn't do.

jane: I dunno - visiting castles to say "ooh" isn't that cultured, is it? Besides, you're shallow and hedonistic in an adorable way, and I'm sure none of us would change that for the world.

Gentleman-hobbs said...

I do miss Oxfordshire

jungle jane said...

wooooooohoooooo Qenny gave me license to be a slut. I love you Qenny.

Reluctant Nomad said...

I wish I made more use of my time like you two do. I miss out on so much by being a lazy, alcoholic bugger!

Saddle Up said...

I'm the same as Mr Nomad... I spend far too much time drinking alcohol and coffee to go out exploring.

It's a shame as exploring is one of my favourite things to do.

Qenny said...

hobbs: You should improve your aim.
jane: And you've waited all this time until I did, too, didn't you?
nomad: I wouldn't knock being a lazy alcoholic bugger. I especially wouldn't knock the buggery bit.
saddle up: The constant battle between favourite thing to drink and favourite thing to do. It's a tough one. Perhaps a hip flask would be a wise investment - then you could do both at once.