Well, if this were a tv programme, you would have no trouble discerning what is now and what is a flashback.
Flashback – glorious sunshine, ice creams and wine.
Now – driving rain and work.
This weekend just gone, I headed to The Cotswolds to meet up with my friend Charlotte, who lives up in Manchester.
We met there bright and early, and got straight down to fun at The Cotswold Falconry Centre.
Let me tell you now; my mother would have thoroughly enjoyed this weekend. Well, she might have balked at the amount of wine we consumed on Saturday evening, but overall this was middle aged as it comes. So judge away. Visit a (brilliant) falconry centre like this, and then tell me it’s not the best fun EVER – I dare you.
(Silly you thinking that was a sun hat I was wearing in the first photo. Oh no; that’s just for looking like a tit when I’m driving – I take it off when I’m in the sun).
This was my second time to this Falconry Centre and it was just fantastic. We saw buzzards and kites, owls and falcons.
This little owl came and hung out with us for a while.
Owls: great at hunting in woodland, poor at posing for photos.
I took about ten thousand photos, but I’m not sure “will run for birds” is a people pleaser.
But indulge me one video….
Interestingly, the birds all poo right before they take off – apparently to “lighten the load”. Good advice for runners there too.
Quite aside from the birds, check out the middle aged man camera action going on here.
Charlotte bought some own earrings from the gift shop, which I took to be a sign that she’s fully converted to the bird love.
I even wore some earrings that evening, which I never do (strangely).
We were staying in Chipping Campden, and went to The Chef’s Dozen, which was again tried and tested by me. It might be my very favourite restaurant. The food is amazing, it’s reasonably priced (compared to a Michelin starred restaurant – and seriously, the quality is comparable), the staff are informal and friendly, and the restaurant is cosy and comfortable.
I didn’t take photos there, because I am more refined than that (too busy shoveling food in). But here’s a photo of the menu outside.
You get four equally-sized courses, with three options per course (hence the chef’s dozen).
We of course had cheese too, and washed it all down with various breeds of wine (red, port, dessert). It rightly has rave reviews on Trip Advisor, and has been very positively reviewed by several national newspapers. It definitely needs an early booking (both small, and popular) but fortunately I had booked us in back in February. This is definitely not the last time I will go there.
Given that we were staying in a pub, it seemed like the natural thing to have another bottle of wine on the way to bed. I made loud declarations about not running on the Sunday, but my body had other plans and woke me up at 5.30am. I could have stood my ground, and lay sleeplessly staring at the ceiling until my alarm went off at 8am, but this seemed a bit pointless.
So I went for a run.
It was pretty quiet out there:
There was one old man out, and he said “slow down” to me as I ran past. I am pretty sure it was a joke (otherwise, he might want to consider speeding up) – but he made me miss the cut through I was looking for. I went the long way round, and OF COURSE ran past the same man again (he obviously found the sodding short cut) and he said “slow down” again.
I didn’t feel fantastic, but the fresh air really helped.
Since I was running on country lanes, which don’t have pavements, I wore my green t-shirt so I was totally camouflaged to oncoming traffic. Fail.
i ran to/through the most beautiful little village and out into the countryside.
It was definitely not my fastest run, but I didn’t feel anywhere near as terrible as I deserved to and it’s always the best way to start the day. I felt genuinely elated when I got back to the pub we were staying in.
After breakfast in our hotel, we decided to go for a walk to clear the cobwebs. First things first though – it was set to be a scorcher!
i’m not convinced Charlotte is the most avid walker – she did the whole thing carrying a handbag.
(Don’t be fooled by the footwear; they’re mine. She was planning on wearing a pair of leather boots with a 2″ heel).
The view from the top of the hill was fantastic.
I think we walked about 4-5 miles, but started out early so we had the whole afternoon at our disposal. The weather looked like this – bliss!
We decided to go to the Model Village at Bourton-on-the-Water.
(Don’t be jealous Mum; we can go another time).
It was so cool*! Built in the 1930’s, it claims to be 1/9th of the size of the actual town. The guide book explains how it was built by a posh couple with too much time and money on their hands (I paraphrase).
It was fun to see the real building and the model version. If you’re not interested in seeing photos of this, prepare to scroll.
*where cool means something different than YOU thought.
This bastard had a gate on his house, so we couldn’t see in….
There were some great details to the model church:
Model village in a model village. There’s even a model village in a model village in a model village. Dedication.
The town was so busy with people enjoying the sun. We got ice cream and hung out by the water.
With the weekend almost over, we ended it in true Sunday fashion with a large roast.
What a fun weekend!! I am glad we were both driving on the Sunday, as it kept us out of the pubs. There are so many, and they’re so picturesque – and Sunday really was beer garden weather.
Still, it made Monday a lot easier 🙂