Today, May 22nd 2019, was a sunny 11 km walk through the charming villages of Guiting Power, Barton and Naunton. We followed the beautiful River Windrush for a while, and once again were serenaded by song birds. We followed trails along lush creek sides, and crossed many active farming fields. This is horse country, and we saw many fields full of beautiful horses. Today was a day that my camera was not put away. I walked. I stopped. I snapped photos. All day long. It was picture perfect the entire walk! At home you have to work a little harder to compose a photo, here, photos are handed to you on a silver platter!
After Guiting Power, we walked a long road alongside many active quarries. It was interesting to see a more industrial side of the Cotswolds. A dose of reality. I mean, it can’t all be pretty!! Besides this, the Green’s are all about sand and gravel pits and big machines. In Somerset, I learned that my 6x great grandfather worked with stone, and fixed pot holes in roads. I’m sure quarries were a big part of my relatives’ lives as well as the more recent family business, Delta Aggregates.
My dad has told me of the time he walked this very walk with his sister, my Auntie Liz. In Naunton they stopped at The Black Horse Pub for a ham sandwich with Branston Pickle. It was the best sandwich they’ve ever eaten. The day is very special to them both. So in Naunton today, I asked my dad if we could go get one of these ham sandwiches. When we got there we explained to the man behind the bar why we were here. He made sure to make the ham sandwich with Branston Pickle. Before we gobbled it down, we took a picture and sent it to Auntie Liz who was just waking up back at home.
Speaking of traditions, my dad had to visit his favourite resting bench in Naunton. A bench that he sits on and takes his picture on every year he visits. It is located in Naunton on a small patch of grass, under a large beech tree, next to the church. A perfect place to rest and hydrate. Before we got to there, my dad explained that inscribed on the side of the bench is a Tolkien quote. The inscription reads something like “Here he sits…. on and off again day after day.” I can’t tell you exactly what the quote says because when we got there, we found the bench in ruins! My dad was quite upset by this but he sat on what remained of his favourite bench. I insisted we take his picture because we must not give up on traditions! Later on my dad asked a local Naunton resident what happened to his bench. She laughed heartily and told us a drunk driver hit the bench on his way to church!
I’ve been admiring the bright yellow rapeseed fields since I arrived in England. These fields appear in all my pictures and videos. It has a distinct smell, a cross between a sweet honey, and an earthy animal pungency. Apparently a canola-type oil is made from this crop. The highlight for me today came at the end of the walk when we had to traverse through the middle of a large rapeseed field. The farmer had cut a narrow path right through it (according to my dad, all assigned footpaths that go through private land, have to be maintained by landowners such as the farmers. They are also responsible for maintaining the gates and/or stiles). The blossoms were well over our heads, and I felt like a kid in a corn maze. When we got back to the car, my hiking boots were dusted in bright yellow pollen.
Today was simply lovely. Another perfect day.