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25 August - Monday

UNITED KINGDOM | Tuesday, 26 August 2008 | Views [488]

Today was a Public Holiday and so we decided to take Sam and Stacey to the Cotswolds for the day.

Obviously, we hit a snag! About 15 minutes into our journey it was dead slow and stop – with the traffic ahead of us at a standstill. We assumed most of them were headed for Stratford-upon-Avon which is not far from Sam’s place. Anyway, Ron overrode the Tom Tom, made a quick left turn, and found a nice, quiet route into Stow-on-the-Wold. We had been before, but Sam and Stacey hadn’t – it’s a really lovely old town and the girls had great fun wandering around the shops. We finished up with a cup of coffee at the place which claimed to be able to make flat whites – and they can.

We then headed off for Bourton-on-the-Water, our favourite place in the Cotswolds. About a mile from there we again hit traffic and had to snail our way along. We knew from previous experience that most people bypass the first car park, hoping for a better spot in the centre of town, so Ron did a sneaky right turn and lo and behold! found a spot right away. We smugly walked into town and, oh my goodness, how many people were there! It has always been a very popular tourist spot but today there were literally thousands of people milling around (see photo), although this just seemed to add to the place. As it was 12.30pm, we decided to have lunch before everywhere became too crowded and so went to the Duke of Wellington inn, where we had a good feed.

Off then to explore – there was a market on the banks of the river (which runs through the middle of the town) and there was a lovely, happy atmosphere.

There were a lot of people sitting on the banks of the river and various activities such as skittles, were taking place. There was also a duck race (with little yellow, plastic ducks) and, at 4pm we stopped to watch a hilarious game of river soccer. The game consisted of two teams of 6 players each; there was a goalpost at each end (carried in by the players and secured to the river bed with stones – the river itself is only about 30cm deep). The game was really full on, with plenty of kicking the water – we were on a bridge so escaped, but the people sitting on the banks of the river ended up being soaked. It was great fun and we’re not sure who won in the end.

We then decided to head home before the crowds built up on the roads and anyway, Ron and I were heading off to Jean and Chris’s that evening.

After having a quick look at Stacey’s photos, taken on the recent holiday she had had in Greece with her friends, we left Sam’s around 6.30pm and set out for Crowthorne – naturally, being us, it wasn’t an uneventful journey. After about 45 minutes, we came to a roundabout from which Tom told us to take the third exit; however, there seems to have been a fourth exit added since Tom was born (he’s three years old) and so the third exit was not the right one (then again, I could have made a mistake in counting the exits), we discovered after we’d been on the wrong motorway for quite a while! Once again we came up against a brick wall in the form of a traffic jam, whilst Tom was frantically telling us to “Turn around when possible” – actually impossible to do on a motorway. Thankfully he re-calculated and decided to let us stay on the road. We eventually found out what was causing the traffic jam – there was a woman standing at the roadside, with a pile of possessions, some police officers and what was obviously her car – completely burnt out. Happily, she seemed unhurt.

We finally arrived in Crowthorne to a lovely welcome and then ended up chatting until 1.30am!

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