Sunday, 20 June 2010

Notes from milepost 76 and three quarters

    A long walk in the countryside followed by a well-earned pint is a cure for multiple ills, but not it would seem gender issues. Note to self: next time don't go to that small town when they're holding a music festival, it'll be full of radiant hippy girls with flowers in their hair(no, really, I didn't realise they did that any more!). Sigh.
     We jumped on a train yesterday, alighting in the middle of the Cotswold Hills. Now if that sounds exciting don't hold your breath, there are amazingly beautiful bits of the Cotswolds but mostly they are unremarkable English countryside that happens to be at a slightly higher elevation or slightly more rolling than the norm. The towns and villages that used to be unpretentious hardworking agricultural communities when I was much younger are now twee dormitory and second home enclaves for rich Londoners, the locals having been long ago deported to council estates in nearby towns. And this we are told by the Sunday colour supplements makes it somewhere very desirable.
     A circuit was planned for the afternoon somewhere in the ten miles ballpark, perhaps I should have got technical with my phone so I could quote way points and distances to the millimetre or something but somehow I couldn't be bothered. Mostly it was on farm tracks and bridleways through developing fields of wheat and barley, alone save for the wind and the darting swifts. My wife wrapped up slightly because the wind held an unexpected chill, I was weighed down by a pack containing enough Gore-Tex to see off a monsoon. You can't be too unprepared for rain hereabouts.
    Still, it was very good to be together and in relatively pleasant surroundings, completely failing to identify some of the wild flowers and failing to get close enough to a juvenile robin to take a picture. And there is nothing more satisfying than quaffing a pint at the end of the afternoon in the knowledge that you've worked for it unlike the red-faced blobby guys by the bar discussing the World Cup.
    Opposite us on the train home was a bloke doing his best to dress like Pete Docherty.  Hat and all, ostentatiously reading the Guardian. For which I'm rather thankful, in my frame of mind he was infinitely preferable to the girls headed for the festival we'd had before us on our way out.


  1. I do love visiting the cotswolds. There are some lovely villages there. I know they are a little touristy but theu are so romantic for a weekend break.

  2. Its a bummer isn't it? Gender annoyance creeping up on you when you least expect it...

  3. @Lisa, it's true, it is a very nice part of the world. I'm particularly partial to bimbling through the minor Cotswold roads on my motorcycle in no particular hurry, just drifting past the scenery. You probably saw a trace of my sadness at the social change as a near-local.

    @Jess: Sometimes I wonder whether it's the other way round, a lull in the gender annoyance creeping up on me when I least expect it! :)