|Path up to Minster Mill reception.|
Now, where was I? I was interrupted in my story of what we got up to at half term by my giddy trip on the Thames and the exploits of my salad-loving son.
The last you read, we had reached the Old Swan and Minster Mill hotel, near Witney, via lunch in Tesco car park and a slightly spooky stop-off at the Rollright Stones.
Our first evening meal in the hotel restaurant was, as they say in food reviews, a triumph! A pint of local Hobgoblin beer for Dougie, a Bombay Sapphire Gin and Tonic pour moi and a lemonade plus a few slurps of beer for Rory. The food was fabulous too. The boys had fish and chips, served in a replica chip shop wire basket with a small layer of newspaper (The Times, I think), a little pot of mushy peas and half a lemon, wrapped in muslin, all served on a very chic slab of slate. I had salmon in a cajun sauce and, as I was the only one with room afterwards, a big dollop of Eton Mess.
We slept very well.
Breakfast was even better. We had to walk outside from the Minster Mill part of the hotel to the Old Swan inn. What better way to start the day than to sit by a log fire with a bacon, sausage and egg bap made to order. Morning papers, cup of tea…lovely.
I was tempted to stay all day but we had shopping plans. Armed with an extra 10% off any purchases at Bicester Shopping Village we were all set for a good old spend. How wrong we were. Whereas the year before Dougie and I had bought plenty of designer bargains; this year, with a teenager in tow, it all went belly-up. My focus was no longer on my own needs (ok..wants) but on my boy, trying to find him new jeans and some winter clothes. Unfortunately it was very busy; the shops were heaving, the muzak unbearable and my son had turned into his father. Diesel jeans I suggested? “No, Mum, look at the price! Too expensive even when reduced. I’ll stick to the ones I’ve got” (Dougie punched the air. That’s my boy!)
Even the cafes and restaurants were a nightmare; queues out of the door. So we boxed clever. Walked around the corner, out through a gap in the bushes, and found a Tesco. Costa Coffee franchise just inside the door. That’ll do nicely. Our second lunch from Tesco in as many days.
Boys refused to go back through the bushes to continue our shopping so we returned to the hotel, changed into boots and went for a walk. Rory slightly dubious about such an activity; he wasn’t sure what was involved, but he soon got the idea. The grounds of the hotel were gorgeous; the River Windrush gently flowing through the middle. After exhausting the meadows, we found a path through the fields and came across an English Heritage site, Minster Lovell Hall, which, in the late afternoon sunshine, was quite captivating. Best of all; it didn’t cost a penny.
Cheap day all round…
|St Kenelm’s Church, Minster Lovell|
|The ruins of Minster Lovell Hall|
|Santa’s come early…|