Saturday, 8 August 2009

The Cotswolds are very pretty

I crash around single track lanes over the Cotswolds, driving leftrightleftright.

I wish I'd taken the motorways. After an hour of leftrightleftright, the idea of sitting on a wide stretch of motorway tarmac for four hours seems a better deal than zigzagging across hills smiling with bared teeth and ferociously declaring how PRETTY everything is.

Incanting how PRETTY everything is while pointing at little crooked fifteenth century houses laced around with walls made from honey coloured stone will, I hope, ward off any ugly moods from the back seat. Incantation, and the disc set of Tunnels.

Unwisely, I chose Tunnels for this journey on the basis that it had something to do with archaeology, which we like. It does. But it also has lots of scary mad people and exclamations of Bloody Hell! and after fifteen minutes of listening while driving leftrightleftright, I wish I'd noticed this lot in the five seconds choosing it down the library.

Shark, Squirrel and Tiger of course prefer grimness, death and insanity acted out underground to mama repeating to infinitude how PRETTY everything is.

When I am not incanting and regretting, I am panicking and intermittently steering the car onto Cotswold grass verges, jumping out, and photographing road signs.

By this means, I reckon, when Satnav runs out of power because I haven't charged her up properly, I will know where I was, when last seen.

Sooner or later we cross a sign for Bourton-on-the-Water and I think we will stop there for lunch and visit the Model Village.

At this point I heave a heavy sigh. It is the place I recall from my childhood. Every September we would stop here for run-and-eat on the drive from Nottingham to Devon.

My dad chose here because the Model Village backs onto the Old New Inn. He could sit in the Beer Garden while my mother, over the hedge, could let me out to ramble around a miniature Cotswold village. As if she hadn't seen enough of them already, and as if she hadn't been sitting in the passenger seat of the car for two hours being driven leftrightleftright, saying how PRETTY everything is.

Now, because I am older and wiser, I know she did that in order to deflect the growing argument between my brother and me. We were locked into the back seat listening to nothing, except the sound of each other breathing, which was as good as a declaration of war to brother and sister on a five hour car journey with, from my brother's point of view, only a Model Village to look forward to. And that was entirely for his sister's benefit and one more reason why she should be pushed over the Church of the Model Village five minutes after we'd arrived.

Anyway, Shark, Squirrel and Tiger are delighted by the Model Village. I have mixed feelings, but I'm not writing a novel here, just a blog post, and have fifteen minutes left on my daily allotted blog time.

I would just add one thing about this trip down memory lane, and that is you did not misread the month.

We visited the Model Village every September, just as term started. My parents asserted their right to remove me from school for 10 days just after the start of the term for the family holiday. As far as I'm aware it remains your legal right, although schools may send you death threats, push cow poo through your door, and threaten you with Social Services and child abuse if you try and exercise it.

From my point of view, I cannot thank my parents enough for this annual act of rebellion. Driven mostly because my dad disliked all kids and would not, in a million years, have been tempted to take a break from work simply to be surrounded by the pesky creatures. But his antipathy helped create in me a love for rocks and sea shores, but not particularly Model Villages, and opened up in my brain the idea that actually we have some control over our lives and are not just here to do what institutions tell us to do.

Anyway, the Grit family is not just aimless today of course, wandering in the Cotswolds and Bourton-in-the-Water Model Village just for the love of England. Oh no. We have a purpose. We are driving leftrightleftright to deposit Squirrel at her PGL adventure holiday somewhere Wales-way.

After another six years driving leftrightleftright we eventually find the PGL place buried in hillsides, where one side of the road looks like this:

and the other side of the road looks like this.

We meet up with Michelle here who is also giving her child away for the week on a buy-one-get-one-free deal.

With child deposited into the tender care of the PGL groupy, Michelle is now able to have fun like adults are supposed to, and her blog should be filled with diversion of ladies who lunch, evening drinks, shopping for handbags, dinner engagements, adult chatter, wild parties, sex on the stairs, orgies, and wasp killer. I shall look forward to it all.

Because my lot in life is now to drive leftrightleftright on the road back to Gloucester incanting how PRETTY everything is to dispel the ugly mood growing from the back seat after turning off Tunnels to spare my ears from another fifteen minutes of mad people clawing their way insanely underground between repeated exclamations of Bloody Hell.


The Green Stone Woman said...

Well, There is great doubt about you and the gritlets, but I thoroughly enjoyed that rightleftrightleft ride under the tunnels and it was all just wonderful. You may want to take the motorway the next time, though, so you don't have to keep exclaiming how pretty everything is. Once you've seen it, you don't want to see it again, you just want to get there quickly without swearing too much. I did enjoy the post very much, though. You were at your best.

Rebel Mother said...

Bloody hell, you make me laugh.

Especially with your driving instructions.......

Fab post


BTW, Im still laughing

Joanna said...

Well I live in the Cotswolds, and yes, it is very pretty and I love it. But I wish I'd known you were passing through - it would have been so fun to see you and accost you in the street and ask if you were Grit and the Gritlets! But don't worry, I'm not a strange stalker - ask Michelle, she knows me :-)

Sam said...


sharon said...

Very pretty indeed ;-)

Michelle said...

ROFL! I am getting along with M much more successfully than I thought I would. Maybe there's life in the marriage yet.

You do remember where my stairs are don't you? Splintery wood and large uncurtained window to the front. I prefer comfort and privacy.

Grit said...

thank you for your comments, folks. listening to Tunnels by Gordon&Williams should stifle any laughter immediately. I implore you all to visit the website if only to listen to the howlings. Your ears will weep.

joanna, it is a seriously lovely bit of england and i have ambitions to come and visit more often.

michelle, i will not believe you. i can hear your stairs creaking from here.

Michelle said...

Nah. That's the sound of my ancient joints as I climb up the splintery exposed stairs to access the sanctuary of my bedroom.

kellyi said...

I cannot believe you have been about 20 minutes away. Bummer!

I could have introduced you to the delights of the area from the perspective of a local.