To take advantage of our newly acquired car, we headed off for a day in the Cotswolds.
Our goal was to do a walk at Guiting Power (picked pretty much at random from a book Fifty Walks in the Cotswolds). But we had a bit of confusion with the roundabouts and intersections on the ring road, and then we stopped in Witney. Here we bought a better road atlas, had brunch in the Huffkins Bakery Cafe, and browsed the Harfords homewares store. (Camilla was quite taken by Witney. Which is ok, so long as she doesn't start voting Tory!)
We eventually got to Guiting Power and started our walk after 2pm. The ten kilometre loop we did goes northeast, then south to Naunton, where we admired an old dovecot and had drinks in the Black Horse, then back west along the Windrush way to Guiting Power, passing an attractive little church.
Walking through wheat fields on the last leg, we disturbed birds which scuttled away as we got too close. Eventually the entire flock of birds flew off. For some reason we thought they might have been corn crakes, but that's clearly not right and I think they may just have been chickens. [Looking at the book, definitely pheasants.]
We came home via Chipping Norton and Woodstock, where we had dinner in the Star Inn (£8 for a roast and £9 for a crab and prawn linguine, which were both excellent).
Chickens are domesticated birds and can't fly away; they are capable of only short bursts of flight to escape a predator or get up onto a roost. They also all have combs and look like chickens, even the wild guinea fowl they were bred from.
Some form of wildfowl, maybe a partridge or female pheasant?
Yes, looking at the bird book - or rather the iTouch "British Birds" app - they were definitely pheasants.
Ah, so six years of compulsory agriculture in high school had some use after all -- the ability to identify what isn't a chicken.
8 quid and 9 quid ( no pound symbol on our keyboard) for a main, that is quite reasonable. I was led to believe restaurant meals are exceedingly expensive in the UK and Europe in particular. Some menu do not show prices to catch the unwary. How diabolical!
A workmate of mine took his wife to a Michelin 3 hats restaurant in Switzerland for a meal. With wine and tipping, the bill came to $1.2k (or was it $1.4k). he was well prepared for the shock because he simply wanted to try it once. Another workmate and his wife stopped at a roadside cafe in rural France, had a coffee and a piece of pastry each and the bill came close to $60. He nearly choked on the food. Do expect to pay upwards of $20 or more for a hamburger in Norway. How do the locals live? They can't all be millionaires.
Going to Europe?...hmmm. Must think long and hard.
Eating out in Switzerland is very expensive, though we didn't make it to the three hat level! (More about this when I finish my Switzerland travelogue.) France is much more reasonable, though - your workmate may have been ripped off by someone not averse to overcharging tourists.
The UK is not cheap, but (at least at current exchange rates) isn't so bad if you hunt around a bit. I'm off to get the £3 pasta from my local (the Magic Cafe); another favourite is Cafe Coco's £5 full breakfast.