We are in the process of walking through a herd of cows when Helen mentions Oxford’s etymological origins. Oxford means literally ox fjord or ox passage way. It makes sense in the current situation. She also says the cows won’t bother us if we don’t bother them. I just take a photo or two or three. I’ve never walked through a herd of cows before and it’s pretty smelly as you might imagine. We are again doing something very British and taking a walk through Oxford’s Port Meadow on our way to a proper British lunch at The Trout. We’ve already passed another cow gathering on the other side of the Thames, two women who seemed to be fine with being surrounded by a gaggle of geese and a man with a piece of grass in his mouth like an old Huck Finn. It is the most beautiful day of my stay in England by far and I’m overdressed. You just never know how to prepare for the weather, so you over prepare. I’m wearing a scarf, black long-sleeved shirt and and a thin black jacket during what appears to be a heat wave. I wore a scarf and a jean jacket yesterday and kept my umbrella half open to ward off intermittent rain showers.
After successfully walking through a herd of cows without incident, we continue along the Thames as Brits breeze by on bikes and paddle past in canoes on a gorgeous Sunday. When we reach The Trout, it’s an oasis of umbrellas with mellow happy Brits under them. I look forward to joining them. We start with a refreshing Pimms on the patio overlooking the Thames. This time I get a picture of the fruit-filled beverage. Helen and I just take in the lovely day and when we get to our table we order traditional British dishes, fish and chips for Helen and beef rib roast with Yorkshire pudding, also known as pub roast, for me. There is a lively group of women sitting behind us. Their conversation ranges from eHarmony to a date with a DJ who was cute but as short as a midget. I am reminded of an episode of “Sex in the City.” As we wait for our dishes, a very bold duck visits the diners from time to time, eyeing each patron and table for tasty scraps. He even lingers at our table for a bit in a staring contest. Luckily, we’d finished our appetizer of bread, olives and vinegar and oil. When our main meal comes, it looks amazing. Helen’s fish is perfectly battered and golden brown. A fluffy puff pastry, which is also known as pudding, sits atop juicy slices of beef, covering roasted parsnips, carrots, cauliflower and broccoli with golden potatoes that taste like they’ve been roasted in apple juice. Gold star for The Trout.