Thursday, and quite a stunning change in the weather. Heavy rain throughout the night had washed away the snow, the sun was out too and it was significantly warmer.
Heading south again, first up was Bibury, almost impossibly quaint and whose main attraction is Arlington Row – thought to be the most photographed street in Britain. Have a look at the pictures below and you’ll see why. We’d ignored the satnav and ended up on a few very narrow and muddy country lanes as a result on the way, but it was certainly worth it.
Burford was next and another stunningly beautiful place, helped too by the sun showing it’s presence. A great high street littered with local shops and, yes a number of inviting looking pubs too. Another great place to come and stay but I’m not sure my liver would agree.
Third cab off the rank was for Minster Lovell, as we moved east in to Oxfordshire. Much smaller than Burford and with it’s own charm but a firm favourite on the tourist trail, not least for the ruins of Lovell Hall, almost hidden by the village church at the far end of a country lane.
Last stop of the day was in Whitney, first for a late lunch and then a stroll around the town before heading back remarking again, how different the landscaped looked only a couple of days ago.
Right, let me digress for a moment. Our hitch cover – procured prior to our trip around the British Isles last year, was torn, discoloured and clearly needed replacing. It looked what it was – cheap and now nasty. Before Christmas I had tried to make one out of some old rubber sheeting (don’t ask) but eventually gave up and chucked it. More recently we’d found someone on eBay who could supply a personalised one and thought that would be a great way to promote my blog whilst on site. The company however were clearly not interested in my business as the couldn’t be arsed to respond to any of my emails.
There is a point to all this, please stick with it! A couple of days ago I’d put an announcement out on Twitter cheekily asking for a new hitch cover, offering a link on my blog by return. Well, we were sat having a cuppa when Carl’s Mobile Caravan Servicing appeared outside with a new hitch cover! We had another cuppa and a good chinwag about caravanning. A big thanks to Carl for his generosity.
In fact that’s not the only freebie we’ve acquired since joining the world of Twitter. Sticker Bucket sent us some new decals for Patsy a couple of weeks ago, and very smart they look too. Just wondering now if I can get someone to sponsor me a new long leather coat!
Dinner was burgers – not perhaps the most romantic of foods given that it was Valentines Day. However, the burgers, purchased at a butchers in Burford earlier – and cooked on the BBQ by yours truly – were without doubt the best we’ve ever tasted. And there’s been a few I can tell you!
Right, here we go again. Another days sightseeing to tell you about – well, to show you pictures of anyway.
Wednesday, and with the snow still lingering we headed south in to the heart of the Cotswolds and stopped first in Stow – on- the Wold. Just off a main road it is easier of access than some of the tourist spots around here and one can only imagine the coach loads of tourists descending on the market square in the summer. It is a pretty place – though that’s not unusual around here – with the usual attractive buildings and little alleyways. There were a significant number of local hostelries and plenty of independent businesses catering not only for the tourists but the locals too of course.
A little further south is Bourton –on – the water and another gorgeous place with, as the name suggests a river playing a starring role. It is just so pretty and perfect – you could be forgiven for thinking you landed in some American theme parks depiction of a typical English village. We paused for tea and butties to escape the flurries of snow that seemed determined to muscle in on the action.
With tannin and cholesterol levels restored we returned to the car and headed west, to Cheltenham and with the snow slowly turning to rain our plan - to go to the cinema - appeared to be a wise one. We had hoped to be at the cinema by about 1pm but the towns traffic planners put the tin hat on that idea. The whole area was traffic choked and with a baffling array of ‘No Entry’ signs to contend with it was significantly later when we finally got parked up. With two of the films on our list already having started we ended up watching ‘Warm Bodies’. The draw here clearly was Anthony Hoult of ‘Skin's’ fame as the audience was almost entirely young teenage girls – at least until we walked in. For the record, the film was ok, not great but Mr Hoult is quite pretty, if’s that’s your thing.
The rain had eased when we came out, replaced by a damp icy wind that seem to penetrate every corner of your body. I was looking forward to seeing Cheltenham for it’s own sake. Our Lonely Planet promised elegant tree line terraces and we did glimpse, whilst chasing around trying to beat the traffic, a couple of smart Regency squares akin to those that can be found back home in Brighton. Our memories though will be of a non-descript town centre that thanks to the weather was certainly not looking it’s best.
We did however buy a new toy to play with. We’d talked for ages about getting a tablet pc for our travels and finally purchased one before returning, through the fading light, via the pretty Winchcombe to a nice snug Patsy.
Another night in, though not an alcohol free one. Trev continued with the Chardonnay, playing with his new toy, whilst I, having drained the last of the Cab Sauv, moved on to the Shiraz. With the radio on quietly in the background I Idly surfed for a bit of porn on the netbook, disturbed occasionally by the odd expletive from the other side of the ‘van as Trev got to grips with the his new gadget.
Look out for part 5 coming very soon – more stunningly beautiful places, a welcome change in the weather and a visit from a man in a van….