Posted by: Jenny | Tuesday, 18 August 2009

A weekend in the Cotswolds

With two and a half kilos to lose after the Bahá’í Academy for the Arts (three solid meals a day), the opportunity to ‘borrow’ a friend’s dog for the week seemed nothing short of ideal.

Bess is a two year old black Labrador, with a delightful temperament and very good manners. She arrived on Friday morning, and soon made herself at home in our house and garden. On Friday evening our good friend Mansur and his lovely daughter, Sara, joined us.

The forecast was for a warm and dry weekend, and each of our three guests seemed ready to explore the countryside round here. On Saturday we followed a well-marked footpath to a site of ancient spiritual significance, the Belas Knap long barrow. This spot is special to our family; we brought each of our children here as infants. Starting from the attractive old town of Winchcombe, the path climbed, at times gently and at other times more steeply, opening out to wide views over the Cotswold ridge and across the Severn Vale to the Malvern Hills in the distance. Dog and humans were quite ready to rest when we got home from our five-mile hike.

Sunday was a day for exploring villages as well as countryside. We took a more level route for three and a half miles, through the pretty villages of Laverton and Buckland and back to Stanton for a quiet picnic. In contrast, nearby Broadway was packed with Sunday afternoon visitors, responding to the magnetism of inviting tourist shops and tea rooms. I can recommend Foxy Brown’s café (through the arcade).

Each of these walks starts within ten miles of our home. Cycling distance, in fact. And yet it takes a visit from our friends to encourage us to undertake such an excursion.

Where are the photos? Still on my mobile phone; an upgrade to Microsoft XP service pack 3 seems to have messed with the Bluetooth settings on my laptop. I’m confident this can be resolved – photos to follow, I hope!

In case you’re wondering: I’ve already lost the 2.5kg!

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