Cleansing Rituals

Trip Start May 22, 2009
Trip End Feb 16, 2010

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Where I stayed
Mill Farm Campground

Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Sunday, August 23, 2009

Another scorcher today.  I have to continually remind myself what country I’m in.  It’s wonderful to feel summer finally!

The farmer came out to bid us goodbye, and we had another great talk and watched his sheep dog do amazing work.  What a blessing to have been able to stay here and to meet such interesting people.  He is just a treasure trove of information about the history of the area!  We exchanged emails and I think we genuinely made friends.  Does wonders for thinking about trusting strangers.  I think you always should.  It will be worth the risk.  This man is a shining example of that considering he’d had his whole tank of diesel fuel drained just the night before.  Most people would never consider letting strangers onto their property after that!

Had the pleasure of coasting into Banbury, just before church to hear the bells ringing.  Peals of unending sound with all notes playing one after another without stopping.  It actually sounded like worship in and of itself and brought tears to my eyes!

Today was intended to be a short day as we needed to recoup from our last 98, 88, and 106 km days.  Although the distances on the map looked short, I’m sure they didn’t consider the vertical aspect.  We’re in hilly territory again - part of what makes it all so beautiful.  Different from the Pennines, these are drastic ups and downs right after one another without much break to recover.  After just 30 km we were already getting tired. 

But we got to have a little break at the Rollright Standing Stones.  I found this a very impressive stone circle.  Very different from the ones we saw in Ireland as the stones were very vertical, and almost all were present in the circle.  But more interesting than the stones, we the people who went to view the stones.  I saw a man wandering the circle with delving rods.  Another woman dressed all in black with a dark purple cloak kept embracing the stones and singing to them.  Brian observed someone doing strange bodily gestations and incantations in the centre of the circle.  And I watched a lady try to get through without paying stating that she was a ‘regular’.   I wonder what they’re seeking?  What they're trying to accomplish.

Then it was off to find our camp ground for the next few days - hopefully!  And one with laundry as we’re getting quite desperate.  Not that we have a lot of clothes, but what we do have we need, and what we wear gets smelly quickly!  Haven’t had a camp ground with a laundry since SCOTLAND!!!!!  Going on 11 days ago now.  And it’s not like the villages have a laundromat - or ‘laundarette’ as they like to call them.  We are so looking forward to finding a site tonight and finally doing it properly. 

As usual, we couldn’t find the first campsite on our maps.  So we stopped in a tiny little village and asked 2 blokes who were digging in their vegetable garden (I just love how gardening is a masculine thing here).  We had a lovely conversation which lasted an hour and a half!  Even though neither of them really knew anything about a camp ground in the area.  Both of us keep getting a kick out of how every time we get off our bikes and talk to someone, there’s a marked difference in accents!  Only 40km down the road from this morning, these guys speak totally differently than the farmer did.  But they were great company, and we were invited to stay the night in a room at his B&B, or to pitch out in the field if we couldn’t find our site. 

But finding the site wasn’t really a problem.  It was down a country road and is just for tents.  Very quiet and cheap, but no showers and of course, no laundry.  I finally resigned myself to do some washing by hand.  If this is going to be the norm we need to do it much more regularly as there’s nowhere to hang so many clothes!  Despite the lack of facilities, this is going to make a perfect base for exploring the Cotswolds and perhaps getting into London.  And there's a pub just down the road...:)
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