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Welcome, friends old and new, to my blog. This is the place where I can share my scribblings and thoughts on loving life. I hope you enjoy them, make suggestions and come back to read more.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

One Girl and Two Dogs on the Bummel: landmarks, Lush and lasagne.

Missed the beginning? The bummel begins here

Weston-on-Avon. I awoke to sunshine and a stiff breeze- perfect for drying out my tent, yesterday's clothes and the sacrificial towel. It took a while to get myself organised, as I'd forgotten how many times I'd have to boil the kettle in order to function... once to make tea, once to wash up, and again to wash. I brushed my teeth, feeling very naughty and slightly bohemian to be spitting out toothpaste into the hedgerow.

Today I was off into Stratford-upon-Avon to see if it was all it was cracked up to be. I loaded the dogs into the car and off we went, not bothering to ask Gladys for her help as we only had four miles to travel.

One (small) detour later, we arrived at Anne Hathaway's cottage, although "cottage" doesn't do it justice. It's huge! I supposed I'd pictured it sitting right on the Avon itself, but I guess that was too much to ask. It was, however, beautiful- all thatch and trellis, surrounded by an artfully shambolic English Country Garden. Not that I got to look inside- not with two terriers who may be uncouth enough to wee on the borders and scratch up the lawn, given half the chance. I had to settle for seeing as much of the place, and the rest of Shakespeare's hometown, as could be viewed from the outside!

A lovely walk past chocolate-box houses and through lush parkland got me to the centre of town in about twenty leisurely minutes. Gaggles of Japanese tourists crowded the narrow pavements at even this early-ish hour on a Sunday, and I was bemused to see that they either cooed over Harvey and Alfie or backed away, squealing. Most bizarre.

We strolled along the high street, admiring all the famous landmarks that could be viewed from the outside, resting for a while on a bench near a busker who, in the great tradition of street performers, had more enthusiasm than talent, and more of both than she had coins in her guitar case. When Alfie began to howl along with her, we quickly dodged into Lush to buy some shampoo, and the staff there were very welcoming to myself and my hairy- and slightly smelly- travelling companions (thank you to them).

After a quick drink in a suitably olde worlde pub (where I met a very kind gentleman who made a huge fuss of the  boys and fetched them some cool water to drink) it was time to take the scenic route back to the car before my parking ticket ran out.

Back at the site, we took advantage of the sunshine to have a little snooze, which was very refreshing although I did wake up a little pink! The boys wanted a walk, so I decided it was time to explore and find some locals. I started with the site owner (at least, I think he was) who apologised for the lack of toilet facilities and asked, delicately, how I was "managing". I assured him that I was completely self-sufficient in that respect and, the awkward business dealt with, we moved on to potted life histories. He was amazed I'd travelled "so far" and that, considering the vast majority of my family live in the area, that I'd never visited this way before. He recommended a lovely walk along the Avon, which I took him up on, and it was indeed beautiful- if a little scratchy on my flip-flopped feet.


 Walkies completed, we were now on the hunt for some food (having worked up an appetite with all our exertions). We went in search of a pub serving food on a Sunday night. We struck lucky just down the road, and sat in the prettiest beer garden I'd ever seen. If I imagined Capability Brown turning his hand and branching out into beer gardens, this is what he would have come up with. There was a water feature, multiple examples of topiary and fragrant flowers in pots climbing trellis circling little grottos of tables and chairs.

Enchanted, I ordered a drink and what turned out to be the most tasteless lasagne I've ever eaten (and that's considering that I can't even make it myself!). The service and smiles were impeccable, however. The chap who took my order enquired whether I was comfortable enough sitting outside, then blushed when I indicated towards the boys: Harvey sat on a chair in order to be closer to the lasagne when it came and Alfie in his usual position, on my lap and tarting for tummy-tickles. "Righto," he said, before pointing to Harvey. "Will he be needing a knife and fork?"

The bummel continues tomorrow...

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