The Forest of Dean / Pints and Fish / Perfect

So, we’re finishing up this afternoon, and one of the Daves I’m dealing with (Yeah, of the 6 or 7 guys I deal with over here, four of them are named “Dave”) mentions that he’s running this evening. Having spent the last four days studiously trying HARD to avoid being the “Ugly American”, I decided that it was time to play the “Rude” card. So, I asked if he minded that I tag along?


“Well, it’s a bit out of the way…” No, I insisted, I had nothing to do but get a good night’s sleep before heading into London in the morning for the flight back home. “Ok, then – we usually run for an hour or so in The forest of Dean.” I got directions to his house, and headed out.

Driving on the left – I think I’m getting the hang of it (I’m pounding on the table in the hotel bar as I type this – it’s big and wooden, and hopefully I won’t wreck on the way to Heathrow in the morning). So, the drive out was wonderful – the Severn in England beats the snot out of the one in Maryland. We headed out into the forest, and – well, man, we RAN. Instead of the usual constant effort that I run for, the folks I was running with were big fans of picking a path – pushing HARD to the end of the path, waiting for the rest of the group, and picking another trail.

The run was great. I apologize that I left my camera at the car – the picture above is about 200 yards from where we parked – I snapped it after we got done. The views from “The big chair” were spectacular, and I wished I had a chance to do the 10 mile (or so) loop around the valley the chair overlooked.

The run was a quality trail run – the biggest difference between it and my stomping grounds in Arcadia was that, somehow, unexplained to me – there are NO freakin’ Mosquitoes over here in the Cotswalds. Seriously – NONE. They try to explain it away as being too cold – but crimminey – I’ve lived through many New England winters at this point, and if that doesn’t kill mosquitoes, how can our summers bring them out in droves? I swear – if the weather had been anywhere as consistently nice as it’s been while I’ve been across the pond, I’d get eaten alive at home.

I thanked my hosts prolifically, and headed back to the hotel. Got back, showered, and headed down the street in search of cask ale and fish ‘n’ chips. THe folks at the hotel desk recommended a carryout place a couple of blocks away – unfortunately, I was looking to eat about 2100 on a Tuesday, so pretty much everywhere respectable in the city center was pretty much booked.

On the way down, I found the Bayshill Inn, and stopped in to see what was on tap. Yeah, real ale! I sat down outside, and was enjoying a spectacular sunset, a pleasant evening, and the afterglow of a great 5+ miles. I asked the barmaid if they were serving food still, and she said the kitchen was closed.

So, I hied me ho on down the road to the carryout place, ordered ups some fish’n’chips, and headed back down to the Bayshill. I made sure I set the package on the bar when I ordered another beer, and carried it back out to the beer garden. A couple of guys I’d been chatting with before I headed out to find food flagged me down, so I sat with them (One of whom I believe was Sir Toby Belch, and the other was “Lady Val”). Great discussion, great company, and an absolutely fitting end to my time in the UK.

I’m blogging this from the hotel bar – there’s Curtis Mayfield on the stereo, and a decent glass of red on the table (as opposed to the good belgian beer I’ve had the other evenings). What an absolutely great experience. I think I could get used to life in the UK….