13 March 2006

Family Outings: Avebury and Henley

Rube_7Ellie, David and I have all become bored with spending Sundays in the house (or even in Oxford at large). So the past two weekends we've made forays into the English countryside to see what the world has to offer. Last week we went to Avebury, site of the largest stone circle in the world. After getting slightly lost in the hideous town of Swindon, Interestingly, the modern village of Avebury sits entirely within the outer ring or henge of stones. Here I am, pictured at left standing next to one of the stones.

Ditch_and_bermA deep ditch and berm surround the site, which has been carbon dated to be something on the order of 4500 years old. Within the circumference of this ditch is the outer ring of stones, a sufficient number of which still exist to allow you to follow them around the outside of the village. Evidently there were two inner rings which have now largely been destroyed.

After wandering around among the stones (and getting our feet muddy) we stepped into one of the village pubs, which like 90% of pubs in England has one of only a few names, in this case The Red Lion. I'd give the Avebury Red Lion a B-. It was quaint and had a nice atmosphere inside, but the food looked pretty nasty (we didn't eat there) and it didn't feel quite as old as it should've, given the surroundings.

This past Sunday we decided to go to Henley, a picturesque village on the Thames. I brought my camera, but there wasn't anything very scenic to photograph. The river walk was nice, but the day was grey (and cold!) so nothing jumped out as being interesting enough to take a picture (which is saying a lot since I got fired up enough at Avebury to photograph some rocks). Supposedly it's nice to go to Henley in the Summer and take a boat downriver to see some of the big houses on the shore. We checked out the locks and salmon ladder and then headed back into the town.

We ducked into the Angel (another common pub name) which gets a C- on the pub scale. It was tended by incompetent Hungarian chicks instead of the standard grim Englishmen. They couldn't operate the credit card rig, kept talking to their Hungarian friends at the bar instead of serving anyone and overcharged me. Plus they closed at 5PM that day, for no obvious reason (they just turned the lights out). They did have a Jenga game that we played, though, which is the only thing keeping them above the Pass/Fail line.

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