Our tour of the West Country is coming to an end. We’re less than ten days from boarding the plane to New York (Covid fit-to-fly test permitting). Excitement is building. Final pre-trip hugs have been shared with our surviving parents. We’re at the business end of all this now!
But before we could really turn our mind to that adventure, we had some serious walking-through-fields and enjoying-pub-meals with friends, not to mention a Beer Festival, to soldier through.
We had a lovely couple of nights in Cirencester seeing my nephew and his girlfriend and then walking through the Bathurst Estate amongst the bluebells. From there we had a short journey to Minchinhampton with some marvellous walks around the common above Stroud, and the area around Gatcombe Park (home to the Princess Royal). After that, it was time to see our nephew and his family (and his lovely new house). It was very kind of him to buy a home with enough parking for us to stay on the drive!
Whilst there, after a swiftly-arranged and unplanned trip to Berkshire to see my Mum after she had a coming-together with an HGV while driving (thankfully she is unhurt, but very shaken) we enjoyed an afternoon at Keynsham Cricket Club’s Beer and Cider Festival. Having organised at least ten Beer festivals back in Cholsey, it was nice to attend purely as a “punter” and to actually sample the beers. Whilst a very different event to the one in Cholsey, we liked their token system (those in the know will appreciate the importance of such an issue!)
A journey down the A38, via Bev’s Dad in Burnham, has brought us to Cheddar, our last stop on the tour before returning to Bev’s sister and starting to pack for the USA (and for putting the motorhome into storage). An amazing pub meal at the Bath Arms with good friends who live in the village (and read this blog!) capped a day where we had walked up the ridge of hills which are the backdrop to Cheddar (and through which the Gorge passes). Atop the ridge you can see Wales in one direction and Glastonbury Tor in the other. The misty murk we enjoyed didn’t lend itself to photos, but it added a certain atmosphere. We did get to peer into a truly huge quarry, where the Mendips are gradually being hollowed out to mend our roads and build our homes. Our host, Lindsay, was mortified that this might be the only impression blog readers get of her home village so I have also included below a shot of the meadows below the hills, but I actually think the quarry is a triumph because it is VERY deep, and from most vantage points you wouldn’t know it was there.
Anyway, as we prepare to leave Cheddar and head for Dorset, our mind is obviously turning to the impending USA trip. Delayed by 12 months because of Covid, and planned for at least six years, it has given birth to the mother-of-all-spreadsheets; much ribbing from those friends who mock our meticulous planning; many, many hours of enjoyment in conjuring up the route, finding the things to do and campsites to stay in; and some eye-watering credit card bills. The time for planning and talking is almost over. Indeed, my next post might well be from the departure lounge.
Now, I just need to avoid catching Covid for ten more days…