“The Black Boy?” Another red kite sailed overhead.
“Sounds good to me.”
I turned into the little lane through Oving and pulled up in the car-park. The village had once been known as Ulfingas. It sounds rather Tolkienesque and the name Ulfin figures in many of the retellings of Arthurian myth.
The sun had come out for my guest’s arrival and driving was thirsty work. Behind the pub, is the Horsel pond, hidden away down a green lane. Local tradition tells that Oliver Cromwell watered his horse at the spring, during the Civil War, when the pub itself would have been a relatively new building and before it took its present name.
There are traces of history everywhere in this tiny village, including Roman and Saxon occupation. Much of it is hidden below the fields, but the thatched cottages and gracious buildings make it a pretty place to visit.
The Black Boy is a favourite haunt on a sunny afternoon. Built around 1524 and renamed in honour of Charles II, its garden overlooks the Vale and there are fossil ammonites built into its walls. There was also a fox on the slopes of the ancient hillfort that rises behind the church as we walked out with our drinks. He turned and looked straight back at us as I raised the camera.
What with the fox and the kites, the sunshine and the buzzard overhead, we had every confidence that we could look forward to a wonderful trip to Wales for the Whispers in the West weekend. But first, we had to work, rest… and play.