So we did Watlington Walk no. 3, one of several kindly provided by the good folk of Watlington to help you enjoy the Chilterns. A fraction of the length of the Sarsen Walk, but a perfectly acceptable substitute. We missed out on crossing the highest point in Wiltshire, but on the other hand we got to walk up Watlington Hill and get really quite astonishing views across Oxfordshire instead. And we must have seen upwards of fifty red kites, soaring and hovering with their six foot wing span sometimes only 20 or 30 feet above the ground. They're carrion eaters, but so gorgeous to look at that you really can't complain. It did dawn on me that my hat is made of sheep leather and they were maybe trying to work out if the circular dead sheep ambling through the countryside below them was worth a nibble. None of them chanced it.
By the famous White Mark of Watlington (why is it famous? Because Watlington says so; don't argue) we saw two deer with such an appalling sense of self-preservation I can only assume they were teenagers. They didn't even hear us approach, and we weren't trying to hide. The thought processes of the nearest deer must have gone something like:
Nom nom nom nom nom [holds head up; totally fails to see us] nom nom nom nom nom [holds head up again] OMG humans! What do I do now? Hmm. Yes. Good one. Let's see. They don't look that dangerous. They're not pointing long thin things at me. Should I go back to nom nom nom? Maybe not. I'll ... um ... I know, I'll lift up one of my front legs as if I was about to make a bolt for it. (But who am I kidding? This Chiltern grass is just so nomsome.) No, they're still not making a move. I'll ... I'll make a run just in case ... [scarpers for about ten feet, barely making the cover of the trees, stops and looks back] They're still just standing there. Aw, they look so cute. I know, I'll go and tell my friend about them, even though it means exposing my full flank to them for about ten seconds while I wander over to him. Hey, Frank, look what I found!And we may do another tomorrow.
Frank: OMG humans!
Yes, that's what I was thinking. What shall we do?
Frank: ooh, hang on, I read about just this situation in a book once. All things considered, we should probably run.
[Together they make a half hearted dash for the trees. Stop and look back again. We take a step forward]
Eek! [Exeunt as if pursued by Ben]