The children and I went on a road trip yesterday.
I won an etching earlier in the week, from a lovely seller who lives near Burnham Beeches. I blogged about going to pick up some things from him earlier in the month. I only had one thing to pick up this time, and he could have posted it, but I chose to go and pick it up, because I had promised the children that we would go back to Burnham Beeches one day and have a picnic. Yesterday was the day.
I have confessed before that I am not overly enamoured of picnics, but the weather was glorious yesterday, so I was much less grumpy than I would normally have been about the prospect.
We drove down, picked up the etching and then went and found a parking spot, overlooking a large grassy area on the edge of the woods. People were out in droves, walking their dogs and enjoying the sunshine.
We have learned from past picnics that it is no fun dragging your supplies around looking for somewhere to sit, and then hefting everything around with you until you go home. Instead we opened all the car doors, and sat in comfort, throwing hummus over the steering wheel and watching the world and his dog go by. Car picnics are very British, so I felt I was giving something back to my heritage. I was only sad that there wasn’t a pile of loose gravel chippings nearby.
When we had eaten we abandoned the car and went for a walk.
Burnham Beeches is massive it transpires. You could walk for hours and still find new things to see. We took a leisurely amble, exploring the wetlands area, finding a fantastic lake full of tadpoles and turtles and baby ducks, and following the sensory sculpture trail for a while until we got bored and went off piste. After a bit, I sat on a bench in the sun with my book and the children scuttled off to climb trees and play at being Percy Jackson closing the doors of death. This mostly involved running around with large branches as far as I could see, but it made them very happy.
When they were weary, we headed back to the parking area, and stumbled over a tea room where we had a drink before setting off for home.
It was lovely.
On the way back I took many and various detours and bored the children rigid showing them some of my old stomping grounds round Marlowe and Henley and coming back through Oxford and Woodstock. We drifted about in the late afternoon sunshine, poking down side roads, taking detours to places with interesting names, and eventually coming home on the Fosse Way, stopping in a charming village where a woman on a horse was waiting outside the chip shop for her order.
We were very taken with this, and decided it was probably an omen signifying excellent chips. If a horse likes your chips, you are onto a winner.
We pulled into a lay-by and went and bought a fearsomely hot portion of chips which we ate in the car, with the remains of the picnic whilst admiring the horse.
We got home at about nine o’clock, weary and happy and full of plans for more days like this in the summer holidays. We are starting a list.