Not for the first time, we hired a car and drove out to The Cotswolds; a very quaint area about two hours north-west of London. Knowing full well that it would be an indulgent weekend of eating and relaxing, Julian and Shelley joined us for the ride!
Saturday was fairly ordinary in weather terms – rather gray, rainy, and windy – which made for interesting driving on the motorways. But we thankfully arrived safely in Stow on the Wold around the right time for morning tea. Being the first day after the summer solstice, we were “fortunate” enough to witness a pagan celebration ceremony, in which people danced strangely, and dressed even more strangely (including some men wearing pink dresses). It was really quite disturbing; it’s no wonder they’re pagans.
After a fairly uneventful (but tasty!) lunch in Broadway, we headed to Burton on the Water – probably my favourite of the towns in The Costwolds. Not only is it the most scenic, but it also has the most things to do! We kicked off by accompanying Julian and Shelley through the Golden Dragonfly Maze in record time – about 18 minutes!
Burton on the Water also features a model version of itself, built out of the same stone and tiles as was used to build the town. It was a £3.25 (I think) admission fee, but it was well worth it to feel like a giant for a while.
For some reason, it then became fashionable to pose our fingers out the front of each of the buildings, as if they were little yellow pages people in a village of their own. I mean, everyone was doing it…
We were staying at The White Hart Inn in Cheltenham, so we high-tailed it up there (after the mandatory serving of scones with clotted cream, of course). After checking in, we did what we normally do when spending a weekend with Team Lewis – found a large green space, and went to play frisbee!
As you may (or may not) be able to tell from the photo, we’ve recently acquired a new frisbee! Technically, it’s an Aerobie Pro Flying Ring, and holy cow does it fly! It holds the Guinness world record for the farthest throw at over 400 metres, and once you give it a whirl, it’s not hard to believe. It really is amazing!
Unfortunately, it flies so well, that any slight miscalculation in your throw amplifies your error by about a hundred metres. So, just when you think a throw is set up for that perfect catch, it flies straight over your head and keeps right on going. And with so many huge trees around our field, it was inevitable that it would eventually get stuck up one of them. We tried (to no avail) to try and knock it down with a stick, but it clearly wasn’t going to work – so up the tree I went! It was like being a kid again!
Now even though my sitting there so nonchalantly may not suggest it, that tree was rather difficult to climb! Well, at least it was hard to start climbing – the lowest branch was about two metres off the ground, so I had to kind-of grab onto it with my legs, and shimmy up in a reverse caterpillar type of fashion. Yes, hard to describe, and I’m sure it wasn’t really inspiring to watch either – but the mission was successful, and Shelley even proclaimed me a “hero” for my efforts (though I suspect it was driven mainly by the guilt of her throw putting it there. Shelley doesn’t appreciate just how strong she is, sometimes…).
We decided to eat locally for dinner – in fact, very locally; we ate in the pub on the ground floor of the hotel. Dinner was preceded with the most generous free wine tasting I’ve ever been to – our host served us from about 14 different bottles! I guess it worked though; we ended up buying one of the bottles and then enjoying it with our dinner. It was nice to have something recommended to us.
There was something very strange about that hotel though – for some reason, there were a lot of people who insisted on staring at us! The first bunch were the weirdos sitting at the table next to us at dinner, and who seemed unreasonably interested in our game of Boggle. They’d watch us for a while, then whisper something between themselves, and then go back to watching us. I’m not sure what’s so fascinating about watching a group of people writing down words on paper.
Anyway – this continued the next morning at breakfast, with an entire family of starers, who were inconveniently (for us) sat right next to the buffet table. They seemed to be judging us based on what we selected, in which case I really hope we all made the right decision. Still, I was majorly perturbed, so we hit the road again as soon as we possibly could.
In our travels, we came across many a hand-made retaining wall, often enclosing fields of sheep, or cows, or unicorns. When we came across one that looked particularly English, and also had a little ledge to assist climbing on, we couldn’t resist pulling over and testing it’s jumpability.
Turns out it was quite jumpy indeed! We were all rather pleased that we had bother to check.
Our final town destination (though only because the town of “Little London” – despite being marked on the map – didn’t seem to exist) was Stratford upon Avon, birthplace of some guy named “Shakespeare”. The town itself was a bit of a non – it was rather clear what the main drawcard was, given how heavily Shakespearenly themed everything was. Still, we ate at a decent pub called The Red Lion, and then headed back to the car along the main drag, straight past old Shakeo’s birthplace.
Yep, it’s pretty much just a house that I’m sure I could have paid some unreasonable fee to look inside of. We all chose to waive that privilege.