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Cherry Trees

Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The brother and sister who checked me in to Lansdowne Villas Guest House were indeed at school this morning. Their parents had taken yesterday off to go racing at Windsor, where a friend had a horse running. They didn't say that it won so presumably it lost, but they seemed to have had a good time.

It was a very guest-housey guest house - flower patterned carpet, grotty pictures, lots of notices - but the breakfast was as good as any and the proprietor was very much on the ball. The walkers at the next table asked to have their water bottle filled with 'clean fresh tap water’. Quick as a flash he responded with "Isn’t that an oxymoron?", and it was barely 8.15. I hope they were as impressed as I was, and have no idea why they didn’t fill the bottle in their room.

Before leaving, I rang ahead and booked a B&B in Whichford. Just like that. Only one B&B listed in the guide, only one room and I’ve got it. That meant I couldn’t decide to call it a day in Long Compton, which is perhaps just as well as the shenanigans of yesterday had taken their toll and today was a bit of a struggle. The path was well marked but there were some tricky stiles that didn’t like rucksacks; a couple of low rails across a narrow gap, where stepping over the rails would have been easy without the rucksack. As it was, I had to climb onto the top rail and launch myself off, hoping to clear the top posts without getting strung up. An overweight person deciding to get slimmer by walking could have been seriously daunted.

As with Spanish old cities, I am getting ‘pretty village fatigue syndrome’. There are just so many of them, all with lovely houses, roses round the door, and beautifully maintained gardens. What recession? Craftsman builders are working flat out. Greens and verges are mown. But where do their cleaners live? Or do they all have live-in Philippinos? I stopped for lunch in Adelstrop, as pretty as any, deciding to eat before visiting the post office in case I was tempted to excess, but I needn’t have worried; closed on Tuesdays. I was hoping for a postcard with the poem on. Having learnt it by heart more than 50 years ago, I have spent the whole day not quite remembering it. Must look it up when I get home, which will be VERY SOON!

It’s fish and chip night in the pub tonight which I gather is a big thing, so I’m off to fight for food. I’m hoping they will also have wifi, because yet again I am in a signal-free area. If this appears on Tuesday, they’ve got it…
(They hadn't!)

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tomato on

Sorry about the struggle. You are so nearly at Banbury - you could pick up a white horse (but you'ld have no interest in the fine lady). Very relieved to see your entry just after noon today. You are so nearly home - NOTHING IS ALLOWED TO GO WRONG NOW!

Yes, I remember Adlestrop --
The name, because one afternoon
Of heat the express-train drew up there
Unwontedly. It was late June.

The steam hissed. Someone cleared his throat.
No one left and no one came
On the bare platform. What I saw
Was Adlestrop -- only the name

And willows, willow-herb, and grass,
And meadowsweet, and haycocks dry,
No whit less still and lonely fair
Than the high cloudlets in the sky.

And for that minute a blackbird sang
Close by, and round him, mistier,
Farther and farther, all the birds
Of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.

Hildebrand42 on

I was just about to comment "how did you manage to mention Adlestrop without mentioning the Edward Thomas poem when I saw thst tomato had obligingly quoted the whole thing . Well done tomato - -- I expect H would have mentioned it but thought it might make her sound posh. You are doing great H - just another county to get through

Hazel Gault on

Thanks for the poem Tomato. Could picture Hermione there among the grass and the wild life.

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