I have a friend that runs a walking club. Every few weeks she picks a walk from her special ‘Ramblers book’ and off we go. There’s fantastic scenery, we’re getting fit and breathing fresh country air. Sometimes there are cows and ponies and baby lambs (the lambs are confusing, we see them and they make us go “Awwww, cuuuute!” while simultaneously making us feel hungry for a roast). We always stop at a pub in the middle for a boozy lunch. I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t one of my favourite parts of the walk.
The other week we walked from Kintbury to Great Bedwyn. I was wearing my sneakers, but it was so muddy that I was wading through it up to my ankles. I also slipped on a very steep hill and slid for about a metre on my ass before I was able to right myself. I was fortunate that I was only being watched by a few disinterested sheep, and the only thing that was hurt was my pride.
I was very ready when we finally stopped for lunch. We went to the Swan Inn at Lower Inkpen where I was immediately disappointed to see that they had run out of pies. I really wanted a pie. They also only had one steak and kidney pudding, leading to a discussion on who was the most pudding worthy (I wasn’t in the running, the idea if eating kidneys make me squirm). It was finally decided that the rule was first in best dressed, and the one lone pudding was promptly allocated an owner.
Deciding what to get was troublesome, still struggling with the ‘lack of pie’ disappointment. Then I realised that the sausages with mash were beef. Beef and leek sausages! I was sold.
It didn’t really matter I guess, since we were all happily chatting and having a laugh… But if we were waiting for our lunch in an elevator, it would have been playing ‘Girl from Ipanema’ and someone would have pressed the buttons of every floor from 1 – 46. So, yeah, they were a bit slow, it came eventually. At least it came all at once.
My sausages landed, and there they were. I almost felt like they were looking at me, and they looked to me, for all accounts, like three perfectly formed little turds lounging on a pillow. Not the most appealing presentation I’ve ever seen. I hoed in anyway of course. The flavour was nice enough, quite ‘leeky’ though. A bit too much for my liking, but I enjoyed the little burnt caramelized bits around the edges. It came with a side of vegetables. I don’t know what they had done to the cabbage, it was delicious. The carrots and beans were… well, carrots and beans. One of my fellow ramblers discovered that ordering a double burger, literally means, getting a double burger.
I was lucky I’d had a warm hearty meal and a nice big glass of red. It helped prepare me for what was to come. Only half an hour or so later I was ankle deep in mud and trying not to fall over again, while bitey hail flew into my face. It was great.
Gotta love english weather!