Thursday, 24 November 2011

Rambles in England 2 - Surprises and Gifts Along the Way

The little (and big) surprises one encounters along the way in a ramble enrich the experience and memories. Sometimes the small wonders are the ones with lasting impact. Encountered on our recent foray into the Capital Ring and London Loop:


Mushrooms in an Arthurian beech wood.

Mossy tree toes!          

...and fauna:

Friendly donkeys along the way....

....and the surprising (and disturbing) large flocks of wild green rose-ringed parakeets descended from escaped pets! Unfortunately, they are really becoming a problem, having no natural predators in the UK and taking over habitats from native species.

Finding the very small and almost hidden gravestone of Roald Dahl and Patricia Neal's young daughter Olivia who died tragically of measles encephalitis at age seven....
            a small, out-of-the-way graveyard in a small village. There was also a medieval-inspired statue dedicated to her in the nearby church. Very peaceful, very moving...there were miniature yellow roses blooming next to the stone. Next door, small children played in the yard of a day care....

Finding the quintessentially perfect British country pub - the Fox.
British real ale finishes its fermentation in the cask, and so has rich flavour, but not as high alcohol content as American microbrews. Sorry, but I'm going to get on my soapbox for a minute the US, microbrews can have an alcohol content of up to 10%, and are rarely below 6%. In the UK, they average from 3.5% to about 5% and are just as tasty.  Drinking a few half-pints of the latter spaced out throughout the day leave you content and not a bit tipsy. One pint of high-alc American brew and you're shlurring your shpeech! Why does it have to be so potent?
                                                                             ...end of rant.

Other pleasures -  the kindness of friends;
the beautiful weather (cool, usually clear, a bit of mist sometimes); abundant and delicious vegan food readily available; the Ashmolean museum in Oxford; great bookstores;  friends; Camden Market, etc., etc.

NEXT: Details of the Walks

Photos courtesy Mike Ethier.

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