To the South for a Family Meet-Up and a Change of Scenery

On Tuesday we fetched Lesley’s Mum from Garstang in preparation for a trip to Olney to see Rosemary “Forbes” (a cousin, I think, of Mother-in-Law, who despite having been married twice is always referred to intra-family by her maiden name)

Bright and early Wednesday (well, not very bright – filthy wet morning, and not very early, in truth) we set off down the M6. Absolutely disgusting conditions for driving much of the way, but traffic not excessively heavy. Arrived at R&M’s soon-to-be-ex house just before eleven.

After a brief pause for coffee and comfort breaks, we headed for Olney in two cars. Made good time in spite of the continuing rain and were having tea and biscuits with R.F. by midday.

Very pleasant lunch at The Courtyard Brasserie – we all had salads, which I remembered from our last visit as being excellent; the Smoked Salmon was most popular, but I chose the Nicoise, which did not disappoint. Then on to visit R.F.’s daughter Katie and her two offspring.

All-in-all an enjoyable little get-together. Mother-in-Law will have been well-pleased, I’m sure.

We parted company on leaving Katie’s, with Mother-in-Law returning to R&M’s for the night. Lesley and I headed West to spend the night in Bourton-on-the-Water, where I had booked a room at the Mousetrap Inn.

After skirting Northampton, we took the A43 past Towcester and Brackley towards Bicester; then B430 to Middleton Stoney and B4030 across to Enstone, picking up the A44 through Chipping Norton; branched off on the A436 to Stow-on-the-Wold (passing Adlestrop — “Yes, I remember Adlestrop …” – funny how poetry sticks with you, 50 years on); and finally south to Bourton. Pleasant cross-country drive; so many interesting/curious place names in the Cotswolds.

Enjoyed a couple of pints of good ale and a nice meal at the pub, before a somewhat fitful night’s sleep, punctuated by bleeping church bells every quarter hour.

Yesterday we made our way home “by the scenic route” – cross-country from Stow to Tewkesbury (quick once-around the abbey), then on through Ledbury to Hereford and up via Leominster to Ludlow, where we dropped in unannounced on Val Warren for a cup of tea. Pleased to find her in (when we eventually did find her, not having address or phone number, but sure we would know the house when we saw it!) and she pleased to see us too.

So finally up the A49, round Shrewsbury to Whitchurch and thence home.

Total of just under 500 miles for the three days, and really very nice (apart from the wet motorway bits on Tuesday). We really do have some great countryside, when you can take the time to look; and a number of places we could have stopped to look at, and might one day go back to.

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