Wednesday, 16 May 2012

A Walk in the Cotswolds

Pam was cross!

In fact Pam was cross several times today!

Not because of the scores of beautiful cowslips that we came across. Or the wonderful scenery all around us. I'll tell you why in a second or two but first let me set the scene:

We're on our first camp of the year (I did an earlier short stay when walking in the Peak District a few weeks ago but this was our first of 2012) and after a day walking around the delightful Bourton-on-the Water and Broadway, dropping in to various independent shops, tea rooms and pubs, today was to be a walk of around 7 miles from our wonderfully quiet and peaceful campsite just south of Bourton-on-the-Water.

It started well as we walked through a large field of flowering Oil-seed Rape, a crop grown widely in England for its vegetable oil which, once harvested and processed is available everywhere - it's our Virgin Oil and many would say far superior. Anyway, I digress!

It wasn't long before the mood darkened as we found ouselves up to our ankles in squelchy mud. A lot of rain had descended over the past few days turning what is probably a very pleasant walk in dry conditions into a quagmire. Being well booted and wearing shorts this bothers me not one iota but Pam - well Pam doesn't like getting her boots or trousers dirty at all. Her first 'cross' of the day. But the views were great as we emerged from the sticky soil.

And then I lost my compass!

I'd last used it a couple of miles back but as we settled for lunch I realised I know longer had it. The tuna and cucumber sandwiches Pam had so lovingly prepared were excellent but I couldn't rest my mind over my lost compass especially as it was an expensive Silva which Pam had kindly bought for me as a Christmas present. So I retraced my steps for almost a mile whilst Pam waited. Despondent I returned.

We walked on resolving myself to the fact that I'd have to buy another. Pam didn't show it bless her, but I knew she was cross for the second time today!

The wild flowers lifted our spirits somewhat, especially the Red Campion and Forget-Me-Knot.

It was an odd day for weather. There were minutes of brilliant sunshine forcing us to remove our waterproofs, top layers and mid layers reducing us to t-shirts and shorts. Then, a few minutes later, a dark cloud would cover the sun and the temperature would drop rapidly. All clothes went back on along with the waterproofs as rain descended. This was to be the course of the whole day until we arrived at the charming village of Bourton-on-the Water, where it became even colder as we were treated to a hailstorm with hail the size of peas! Don't you just love England for its ever changing weather front?!
Its what makes this green and pleasant land so green and pleasant.

 Bourton-on-the Water is a famous tourist attraction, but put aside the hordes of people milling around, it is quintessentially English with its river running through and pubs and shops either side. We stopped for a pint of Hobgoblin at the Kingsbridge Arms.

And you have to agree a well-maintained flower garden in Spring is a feast for the eyes and a delight on the senses:- 

On our way back to camp Pam got cross again. Although only a short distance most of it was uphill and I'm afraid Pam doesn't tackle hills with the fervour that I do. I relish them. Pam hates them, especially at the end of a walk.

Pam got cross and crabby.

I was still upset about the loss of my compass.

All-in-all it wasn't the most pleasant of walk-ends. The sight of our camp-site, however, greeted us with a welcoming smile. A lovely quiet spot with few other campers around (it's still a tad early for most folk). We had tucked ourselves into a corner of the large field scattered with newly planted trees and large swathes of Elephant Grass.

I then decided I'd go for a walk! I wanted one more chance to find my compass, so I headed off in the car to a point along a lane which we had crossed earlier and was the last spot I'd used the compass to check on the direction of a path which wasn't well-defined.

I walked for over a mile to a point close to where I'd retraced my steps earlier and had resigned myself to the fact that I'd never see it again when I remembered we had climbed over a low electric fence and I wondered if it had slipped out of my pocket at that point and then...

there it was!

Oh bliss!

What joy!

I phoned Pam immediately and shouted down the phone 'I've found it! I've found it!'

Such simple pleasures!

I promise here and now, in front of all our dear readers, to treasure this simple but essential little device even more than I ever did before!

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