Has it really been two months? Apologies to everyone and thank you for waiting! But spring is here and today Marjorie and I took ourselves off for a shopping trip. First we stopped to get some eggs from a nearby honesty box. Then we began our trek to the butchers, out of the village and across the way, through winding lanes - can you see the tail of this one snaking away to the background?
This stretch is a long old grind uphill, never mind that there are pretty cottages to admire (which I could not afford the mortgage of if I sold every single on of my internal organs and then some).
There is about a mile of slog until we reach the war memorial and I dismount. A bit of gentle pushing is called for.
After a long, cold, winter, the Cotswolds are finally waking up.
Which way shall we go?
Down here? Lovely little tempting track which sadly leads nowhere in particular.
We must turn right and, oh dear, another long slope up. We walk to the summit - after all, it is a gorgeous day to be out and about.
Finally we cross a busy road and begin a mile long leisurely spin downhill all the way -
- to the pretty village where we will do our shopping.
Slatters Butchers, the best kept secret in West Oxfordshire; free range and local meat at affordable prices. For this I have cycled seven miles. Inside in the cool, I fan myself rapidly as I order a small free range chicken, home made pork sausages and some neck of lamb (thrifty), while chatting to the lovely butcher about running marathons (him) and half dying from exhaustion (me).
There is a little deli-cum-village-shop attached to it. It's a bit pricey and I have problems deciding if I do *need* anything, but it's vital to support local shops, so Marjorie's panniers end up filled with a bag of meat, the two cartons of eggs, two bottles of Hook Norton beer, Strawberry & Elderflower cordial, lemon crunch biscuits made in the village and a wodge of mature cheddar. Plus my big flask of water. My debit card is lighter though...
Laden down like a desert donkey, Marjorie and I wobble our way home.
What came down has to go up again - though mostly walking, up to the top road where the trees line the horizon.
Mercifully it's a lot easier coming back, a lot of free-wheeling downhill -
- back past the cottages.
Taking a different route back home, along a *real* road - with a warning sign. Sadly it didn't slow the cars whizzing by, though Marjorie eased up a little. Just in case.
Winding through the tiny neighbouring village.
And the last stretch home. Another hill. Did we walk or did we tackle it manfully? What do you think?