Monday, June 8
The sun was shining in Bourton-on-the-Water this morning! Today we had planned an outing on the bus and we set off for a morning stroll through the village to investigate the bus timetable. Well, the first thing I noticed was that Bourton-in-the-Water is a lovely little village when it has the opportunity to shine without the crowds of people. It was like it had shed a gaudy cloak and revealed its class and style, hidden underneath.
We strolled around the quiet early morning streets and found the bus stop and began to inspect the timetable. As we did, a gentleman strolled past and stopped.
“Are you alright? These can be very confusing. Can I help. Where are you off to?”
“We’re just looking at how to get to and from Cirencester.”
“Oh, you might need to go through Northleach, let’s have a look here…”
Then he proceeded to show us the various parts of the timetable and explain different times and stops. What a nice man! There it was, yet another example of an incredibly friendly, helpful and personable stranger who just took it upon himself to stop and see if we needed help. The people have been, and continue to be, absolute gems!
We had a little bit of time before the bus arrived, so we sat in the guest lounge at our little guest house to wait. While we were there, the utterly lovely man who I mentioned in the last post, the owner, walked through.
“How are you? Are you alright? Is everything OK?”
“Perfect,” I said.
“How are the legs feeling after all that cycling?”
“They’re enjoying their little rest!”
“It’s a lovely day.”
“Yes, we’ve just been out for a stroll and we’re about to catch the bus.”
“Oh, where are you off to?”
“We’re heading back to Cirencester.”
“Oh, you must go to the museum and the park. There’s a lovely old park with big iron gates and you can feel like you have it to yourself. Have a lovely day. Do enjoy your day.”
This information was, again, delivered with a bright, open, wide eyed face, with such pleasure in talking to us and suggesting places to visit in the town and said in such a rapid and jolly tone. He’s a gorgeous man!
We walked back into the village and hopped on our bus for the 40 minute ride into Cirencester. We sped along many of the roads we had pedalled along only a couple of days ago and the green fields sped by.
“That’s how we’d be seeing things if we were doing this trip in a car,” I commented to Steve.
“And I’d only have my eyes on the road,” he added.
It was an enjoyable bus trip, watching the scenery out the window, but it was a reminder of how much more we see travelling by bike, than we would if we were zipping along in a car. Yes, there are some days when I feel less than enthused at the prospect of getting on the bike. When the weather is awful or I’m tired from yet another night of four hours sleep (which is most nights these days) or the wind is blowing, I’ll admit that the thought of travelling in the warmth and comfort of a motorised vehicle is a little more appealing than the open-to-the-elements, self-powered mode of transport that is the bike. Nevertheless, given the choice overall of how to travel, the bike sure wins in terms of allowing us to go slow and see so much more and look around us and enjoy the scenes before us.
We arrived in Cirencester to find the sun was still ever so slightly visible, but it had been joined by a chill wind, so we stopped to add some extra layers of fleece and puffer jacket, then off we went to roam. We had only just started walking down the street, when I heard Steve laugh and call, “Hello there!” and wave his arm. Would you believe it, there in front of us, on the street, was Lorraine and Rob, the friends of Steve’s mum and dad who we had spent time with in Paris! They’d finished their cruise and we knew they were in England in this area, but what are the odds! We happen to get on a certain bus at a certain time and arrive in Cirencester at a certain place at a certain time and there they are! Amazing! Four members of “Team Tassie Tourist” reunited by sheer coincidence! We greeted each other with hugs and then strolled around the corner to a tea room, to have a cuppa, catch up and share stories from our respective tours since leaving Paris. It was lovely to see them and we had a nice chat and a catch up, before departing and wishing each other a happy onward journey. I think the timing and meeting them like that was just incredible!
Steve and I wandered into the information centre, found a map and then continued our roaming. We bought some lunch and headed towards the park that our nice guest house man had mentioned, so we could have a picnic. The park was absolutely stunning. “Wow,” was my first utterance as we saw the open expanse of grass and woodland stretching ahead of us. The park is actually the private estate of Earl Bathurst, who had made it available to the public as an open space for people to use. There were runners and people riding horses through it and others, like us, just sitting. We added yet another layer to thicken our personal barrier to the wind chill and then enjoyed our picnic under the trees, watching people doing their own running, riding and roaming. We then joined them and walked along the long path that seemed never ending, then turned to walk through the woods, before strolling back out to the open expanse of grass. It was just lovely.
We left the park, walked the quiet back streets, looking at the beautiful cottages of Cotswold stone and then strolled along the river walk. We walked back into the village and strolled around the streets and it was all thoroughly pleasant. It was just a nice, relaxed, quiet day in a lovely town.
It was soon time to catch the bus back to Bourton-on-the-Water and we enjoyed another return journey along the country roads, with endless green passing by our window.
What a lovely day!
- a quiet early morning stroll through our village
- encounters with more friendly and kind locals and strangers
- a scenic bus trip
- meeting up with our Tassie friends
- a pleasant and relaxing roam around parks and streets in lovely Cirencester
- a little bit of sun!
Capital P for Perfect!
The timing and length of our bus trip to Cirencester meant we didn’t have time to visit other villages, so we will take our time tomorrow as we ride North and pedal through the other places we had wanted to see. The Cotswolds continue to charm me each day with their beautiful scenes, lovely people, sedate pace of life and their quiet and unassuming character. This is my place. Here are places that I feel such a connection with. This is a place that radiates calm and says, “Slow down. There’s no rush. Enjoy life. Savour the moment. Look around. Feel the peace.” That’s what this place says. That’s what I need. The Cotswolds is medicine for the soul. No spoonful of sugar is necessary, this medicine goes down a treat. I’ll have a double dose thanks!