09.05.2015 - 10.05.2015
The challenge is on, can we drive from point A to point B and avoid using anything called a lane or a road without a number! It has become a mission to save Rob's nerves! On route to Cheltenham, with careful observation, we managed to stay clear of anything that gave a hint of narrow, muddy or visibility impaired passages. I only misread the map enough for us to turn around, or back, two or three times as I juggled between the ipad, gps and road signs....Rob gave up, pulled over and put them all onto the correct screen, or facing the right direction and then felt safe we were heading in the right direction.
Leaving Winchester our first stop was the Uffington White Horse. We parked in a lay bye and took a steepish walk to the top of Dragon Hill. The view was even more breathtaking than the wind, that came close to transferring our back to our front and vice versa. A taste of things to come I suspect.
We took a short stroll around Cheltenham town and accidentally found ourselves at the top of an old staircase, in the most inviting tea rooms named The Terrace at 50. Wow! the decor was a well appointed collection of bookshelf image wallpaper, a grand piano, enormous flower arrangements with one situated below the central chandellier and beautiful lighting.
The remainder of the walk around town was fairly brief so we could arrive at Jenny and Kieron's for 2pm. We were welcomed with open arms to their new home. We sat at their dining table with a clear view of the sky through the glass ceiling and chatted over teas and coffees before heading off to The Langton Country Pub, with its high ceilings, ornate cornices and architraves and winding staircase. It looked anything but a pub. Tasty food and long chats were followed with a walk around Cheltenham before dark.
Falling into bed we recharged the batteries for Sunday.
I skyped with Mum, Ally, Dad and Gav this morning our time, for Mothers day. It was heartwarming to still be able to ' see ' them all from so far away and chat as if we were in the same room. Ally and I will skype again on the 13th for her birthday. Dad was reluctant to venture into the IT zone but gave in and joined in the conversation on screen.
At 10am we left Armstrong Rd in search of antique and second hand stores in Tewkesbury. Pathways through gardens, with peeling bells from The Abbey and narrow streets lined with Tudor style buildings, ended as we stood on a bridge overlooking a couple travelling by long boat down the Avon River / Severn River with a white lab/retriever on the bow.
Both rivers flooded in 2007 back as far as The Abbey causing major damage to buildings and lifestyles. Despite that, new homes are being build with river views, just meters from the edge.
Cream tea for four in the garden setting of the Abbey Tea Rooms preceded viewing the inside of the Abbey. The garden setting was a showcase of old tools, signs and garden features. The pitch fork being used as a stake for a cluster of freshly sprouting Sweatpeas was food for thought for our gardens.
The Abbey boasts glorious stained glass windows, decorated vaults and ornate pillars which set it apart from other cathedrals. Several patrons of The Abbey have their tombs in the ambulatory showing the intricate work of the masons.
There are 4 clock bells that strike every quarter hour. Thirteen bells are hung for ringing, with two sessions on Sundays. The Milton organ constructed in the reign of James, is considered a National Treasure. There is a second Victorian organ.
Smoke from the morning service incense filled the air and created a haze to walk through.
It really was a remarbable place to visit.
Having little luck with open Antique stores we returned ' home ' to prepare for the Perks family visit. I had not seen Richard or Sally for 41 years until today. It was a very warm happy get together where laughs were raised as Richard egged Archie to throw the soft toy bat at Aunty Jenny to give her a scare. Archie delegated the task to Sally who happily obliged causing Jenny to express great shock and horror...captured in pictures. True family cooperation and team effort to produce a desired screamless look of horror. Melody entertained some with a dance in the front sitting room, other moments of merriment were had by all over the dinner time family get together. We polished off 'fizz' as Jenny calls it (bubbles in perth terminology). Conversations flowed to catch up with Sally and Richard who were in Yr 1 and Yr 3 last time I saw them. What have you done, what's next in your life. It used to be playtime to hometime now its 30 yrs nursing, relocating to Cyprus for a job, children of our own, schools unis and aging parents who I still remember driving around Duncraig in a green mini.
Quite sit in the front room with a coffee and talk about English politics, following the UK election last week on tv and relaxing into bedtime sleepiness.