Try The Weighbridge, Michinhampton, near Stroud in Gloucestershire. I thought the Beef and Guiness Pie at The Black Horse in Cranham was GOOD ... But .... Not this good.
The 2in1 pie doesn't come cheap, Carol recommended the smaller version at £11.45 as being more than sufficient - and it was. And believe me, it's worth every penny.
The pie is eloquently described on the pub's website. I have checked, and I couldn't do better justice to it: I had the Beef Bourgignon/Cauliflower Cheese version, and it was OUT OF THIS WORLD.
However, I wasn't intending to do the work of a pie publicity agent - I just couldn't help myself. My intention is to recount my one and only foray onto a river in a punt.
Teaching at Coney Hill Infants School was a tough call. I so wearied of shouting at Secretaries of State for Education, 'Go THERE, you IDIOT, then come back and tell me how to do my job...' that I stopped listening to British radio and began tuning into Seattle. THAT tough.
Anyway, one summer, the entire staff, bar the imbecilic Head Teacher, took off for a weekend at The Randolph Hotel in Oxford. Emma's mother worked for the hotel chain and got us a discount.
We ate and drank, shared our amazing stories of life amongst the underclass, visited the
Ashmolean Museum and the Botonical Gardens, took the bus tour, and punted on the Isis.
('Do you remember when we went to David K's Spanish Class?' Carol nodded. ''Well,' I said, '
I switched the commentary on the bus to Spanish, and although the only words I recognised were a la derecha and a la izquierda -'right' and 'left'-everyone thought I was fluent because I turned my head in the right direction!'. Carol rolled her eyes. She's known me a long time.)
I rowed for Gloucester. I have written earlier of my exploits on the Gloucester to Sharpness Canal, and won't repeat them here. Why I should believe that rowing prepared me in any way to volunteer to punt, I will never know. But I did, and my colleagues, foolish and trusting, clambered in the strangely appointed vessel.
I won't say it's HARD to punt, exactly, it's not. It's just impossible to steer.
To the amusement of a collection of sightseers in the Botanical Gardens, I pushed the flat bottomed boat, at speed, from one side of the river to the other in an erratic zig-zag.
I don't know if you have ever punted: it's important for the punch line of this story to know that passengers have their backs to the front, and consequently can't see where we're headed. Which happened to be straight into the verdant tangle of a clump of waterside hawthorns.
The punch line? Duck! SERIOUSLY... Duck!!!!