California dreaming after spending over two weeks in the US, we needed a pick me up and decided to embrace the new autumnal climate. Wrapped up to the ears in parkas and sheep skin collars (dog too), we headed out in search of a multi coloured leaf walk and somewhere to blow away the cobwebs.
Petworth Park was first choice, being somewhere we have been meaning to go to for a while. Parking up, we rummaged for the £3 change needed. Once Winston had relieved himself, this being the dog, not my husband Perry, we could admire the sun drenched, grassy rolling hills and the glistening lake. Trundling slowly down the sloping hill we hear the sound of hundreds of tiny footsteps leaping and bounding our way. Quickly leashing Winston, we stop dead in our tracks as the elegant stags and baby dear, stampede in a line across our path. Although I could appreciate having these magnificent beasts in such close proximity, the anxious part of me couldn’t help but envisage Winston being kicked or pounded to smithereens on the floor or one of us speared on the end of an antler like a lamb kofta! Please don’t let my highly irrational fears deter you from taking this winter’s stroll by the way.
Cobwebs sufficiently blown from an hours walk across the hills, thoughts turn to something to warm the cockles. Thoughtfully, Perry remembered me adoringly gawping at a quaint pub we had past once in Chiddingfold being only a 15 minute drive away. Unfortunately, dogs were only allowed in the pub area which was filled to the gills with thirsty walkers. We therefore decided to try our luck at the Swan Inn, which was just a short walk around the corner. And oh were we in luck!
Winston was greeted with open arms and biscuits, Christmas ornaments lined the entrance and a roaring fire, with copper surround, was filling the room with much needed heat. The bar was made from a warm coloured wood with ornate carvings, sombre lighting was introduced in the way of grey side lamps that matched the light grey tweed like fabric of the seating and books adorned the shelving.
First course were thick rings of calamari, for both of us, coated in a panko crumb and served with a saffron mayonnaise. For main I opted for an English classic of Lamb shank with a Moroccan twist of apricots that added a welcome sweetness to the gravy. The lamb was served with a smooth mash, light kale and sweet carrots. Somehow my husband had not yet fulfilled his quota of burgers for the month after our California trip and decided to go for the classic burger with bacon and fries.
After mains we notice the sofas directly next to the fireplace had been vacated and we instantly launched at them with Winston dragging behind. Getting comfortable and with Winston dozing away and curled up in a ball at my side, we order teas and coffees and played a game of drafts getting rosy cheeked by the heat of the fire. Although I was thrashed at drafts, our autumnal day of walks and grub made it all not that bad to be back in Blighty.