18 January 2009


Dan was feeling slightly better than the day before, which was good because today we were driving to Cheltenham to catch up with I & J, who were coming over from Bristol to see us. The drive to Cheltenham took us through a magical winter wonderland, with frost clinging to everything – the trees all looked as though they had been sprayed with white powder. J spent most of the drive with his mouth hanging open in awe, not quite believing the beauty of the landscape.

The frost thinned out and disappeared completely as we entered tropical Cheltenham, and we headed to the appointed meeting place. We found I & J, and then all bundled back into the car, and left Cheltenham to return to the white world surrounding it.

We headed through some marvellously named little towns and villages (Birdslip?), parked the car in Brimpsfield and set off on a little wander around the area.

In the centre of the village, we came across some adorable ginger spotted pigs, complete with rings in the ends of their noses!

Are spider webs ever as beautiful as when they are covered in frost?

We clambered over a style and headed down a path into a little valley. It was stunningly beautiful and wonderfully silent. We were even treated to the sight of a deer leaping agilely across our path! The path got dangerously icy in places, which just made it more fun, and we saw many spent shotgun cartridges strewn in little piles periodically along the path – this was huntin’ country.

We began the ascent out of the valley, and decided that the quickest way back to the car would be to take the road, which provided us with more exciting scenery.

Earlier in the walk, we had been passed by a large convoy of Range Rovers, all, we presumed, off for a shoot. We were proved correct, as we now passed a solitary flagger, standing bored and trying to keep warm, waiting for the action to begin. Slightly further up the road, a car, full of young hippy types, pulled up next to us and asked us if we had seen a hunt nearby. We pointed it out to them and cheered the protestors (we presumed they were protestors) as they drove off to fight the good fight.

We returned to the car, and drove to an isolated country pub, the Green Dragon Inn, for lunch. After lunch, we dropped I & J back in Cheltenham, said our goodbyes, and then headed back to Burford for an uneventful and relaxing afternoon.

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