Friday 16 May 2014
We got out of Bath by 10am this morning, grateful for a little extra rest after a midnight cessation of activities.
After much ado about the popularity of touring the picturesque villages of the Cotswolds of Gloucestershire, we found that the native tourists were out in force, occupying tea rooms and gaily enjoying their paradise, but I have to confess that it was all a bit over-rated. My favorite part of the day was experienced as we down between hill and hollow in the downs between Cirencester and Stow. Along narrowing tracks, we passed through gleaming fields of mustard and green, into deep hollows, through new forests of distinct trees planted too dense, and around little hamlets with few homes. These were the kinds of places to walk and ride, but it all passes too quickly in a car, and although lost for a while, we eventually found our way back to the A429 heading towards Stow. Stow-on-the-Wold passed in a blink of an eye when we failed to turn into the maze of the City Center.
But we did park and explore Moreton-in-Marsh, poking our heads into knick-knackery shops, stopping for ice cream at the Sweet Shop, and exploring a delightful toy shop where Rachel found a prize. A pass by Boureton and passing through and back in Chipping Campden completed our Cotswolds tour, making more of the elegant thatched roofs and other quaint architecture that my quest for adventure craves. Indeed, the road, with its challenges to navigation, was fulfillment enough. Also, the passage was enhanced when the road was viewed through the rose colored spectacles of a new mystical fantasy about stone mages (Kelli Swofford Nielsen’s Journey to the Fringe) that played on our imaginations on CD. This story, as Rachel was so correct in proclaiming, would be something that Daniel would love, due to its claim to magical powers enhanced by gem talismans.
But the day was warm and clear which made for a jolly good time in what could have been dismal and damp. At 1:00pm, we turned our boat out of the Vale of Evesham onto A44 towards Oxford, circumvented that great destination without time to explore its enchantments, and pursued our course onto the M40, A40, and all the traffic headed into the center of London. It was with some trepidation that we just followed our nose because our navigational Mapquest aids were wholly incorrect until we reached the end of the road at Marylebone and followed that road into dense traffic onto Euston, confirming at last that we had overshot our mark. Returning whence we came, we found Seymour Place and after a few trips around the Harrowby block, found street parking on Bryanston off Shouldham where I left the girls and endeavored on foot to find Richbourne Court, encountering Miles pushing a new wheelchair purchased for Ralph.
And thus ended the 1,500 miles 5 day countryside tour of rural southern England.