Or Bunny Lamping, Tewkesbury Chips and Winter Hidcote….
It’s a clear, cold night in December and we drive down to Winchcombe after work. An easy drive down to the Winchcombe Camping and Caravanning Club site which I hope will become a default weekend getaway site. We take bets as to how many other mad fools will be there – 8 it turns out. That’s 7 more than I expected!
It is pitch dark and the grass is alive with rabbits, we learn later they spend all night setting the security lights off.
A very cheery welcome from Sue who seems very cheery about everything actually. She shows us to a large pitch by the lake which has great views of the hills apparently. It is really quite cold and dark and Darrell decides that after dinner we must drop the roof as high winds are forecast overnight. At the moment it is very still and starry so we decide a walk round the lake, bunny lamping is the thing to do. However instead of hundreds of rabbits dazzled into stillness we see nothing more than a few bemused ducks….
We sleep very well, warm, dark and silent. In fact we don’t emerge until after ten! We peer out of the curtains at grey misty hills. We can hear the sound of steam trains somewhere quite close.
We have brunch as we have missed breakfast by quite some time and then feeling very relaxed wash the dishes outside. It is a result when you can wash your dishes outside in December… Should we thank global warming perhaps?
Finally we get going and drive to Tewkesbury and park in a car park by the abbey. Darrell hands me a “bag of shrapnel” and sends me to get a ticket. The machine refuses to work after I feed in £1.50’s worth of 5ps and in a fit of pique throws them all back at me. I am despatched on a fridge magnet/change mission where I meet a lady nonchalantly walking a white cat in a red harness who walks better to heel than many dogs do….
Tewkesbury Abbey on a grey, blowy December Saturday afternoon is truly amazing, historic and glorious. Virtually deserted it is full of intimate chantries, evocative graves, awe inspiring windows and the most amazingly colourful ceilings. We both love it….
Each corner reveals new wonders but I am not sure the magic would survive the crowds that must surely come in the summer.
We walk into the town, past “knicky, knacky, krappy” shops that seem to be owned by wizened old men and women or maybe they are dwarves, it is really quite hard to tell.
We stop for lunch in a small chip shop run by three young and very pleasant lads. Decadent and wonderful. That’s the chips not the lads!
We walk back along the river passing abandoned flour mills and spotting the grey bulk of the Malverns in the distance. We meet a small dog with a very large stick…
We cross the river by the Abbey weir and meander back through empty winter gardens.
We head to Winchcombe, ancient Saxon capital of the Cotswolds. “Were you born in Winchcombe?” is a local saying directed at anyone leaving a door open and it seems particularly apt today as a stiff breeze is blowing.
We walk down the main street in a rising wind and deepening darkness. There are lots of beautiful honey coloured houses with beautifully appointed front rooms enticing passersby to peer in. They are so picture perfect that I can’t help a sneaking suspicion that their owners leave the curtains open so we mere mortals can be in awe of their picture perfect lives. This truly uncharitable thought does not stop me enjoying the show though and Darrell warns me that I will get a cricked neck from all the craning….
It must have rained a lot in the night as a whole gang of rather portly ducks are puddling about on the paths and looking very cheerful. It is very misty over the hills and the morning has an air of still dampness…
We take back roads through small Cotswold villages to Hidcote. We have never been here so late in the year and it is a very different place – all muted greys and browns with a strange, wistful sort of beauty which we rather like…