But I not attempting to catch a glimpse of Harry and Meghan on a royal visit, admiring the neo gothic architecture of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, or waiting for a table for afternoon tea at the elegant Claridge Hotel in Mayfair. In fact, I standing in line to enter an enormous branch of the designer store Prada located in Bicester Village a luxury goods and clothing outlet in Oxfordshire, a county in central southern England that precisely 46 minutes by train from London Marylebone station. The Village, which boasts more than 160 stores, known there as is the second most visited destination in England by Chinese tourists, second only to Buckingham Palace..
Indeed, unlike other herding breeds who were asked to drive flocks of sheep away from the shepherd, borders instead were had to circle them and gather them back to the handler. Great stamina, drive and high energy were qualities that made these dogs up for the task. These dogs were far from being couch potatoes; indeed, most likely the only time they got to rest was after a long day of work, possibly enjoying the evening with their masters in front of a crackling fire..
Here, the legal owner of a triangle of land on Kitnocks Hill has planning permission to build on it, even though this plot (known as the Triangle) delineated by Lockhams Road, Chapel Lane and the A334 between Botley and Wickham is also believed to be the burial place of the legendary figure of Kitty Nocks. She emerges as a veritable genius loci herself, in that the Triangle really seems to be the seat of her power and manifestations. Her surname may be a variant of Noakes, which means the oaks an apt title for the presiding spirit of this special place, which I remember being woodland when I used to walk or cycle past in the 1970s, struck by its ambience though not knowing the area magical associations at the time.
Seven restaurants and bars offer plenty of choice (though not all are open year round). Flavours’ sumptuous buffet including a children’s area covers all bases from sushi to roast meats. Casual AgliOlio, with its bay side terrace, serves pizzas, pastas and grilled meat, while fine dining Essence specialises in fresh fish.
The factory tour was fascinating, if not complimentary to all things Tabasco. “It excites the appetite, promotes digestion and is pronounced, by connoisseurs, to be the finest condiment in the world.” But make no mistake, you of bland palates, Tabasco “is not a luxury” though it has a place on every dinner table: “A bottle lasts a long time. It is not intended to bepoured onlike ketchup neither is salt to be used like sugar.”.