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ENGLAND               DIARY 7   2016   

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From the Cotswolds, I now head west through Buckinghamshire towards Wales.

30/5 No sun, but at least, it does not rain, and it is not that cold. I start the day's program with the little village of Chipping Campden. I enter the village from a back-road, and immediately, I have to find a place to ditch the car. Here are just two lines of magnificent houses.
They are all old, well maintained but not really that alike each other. Common is the the stones which have been used, and the abundance of flowering plants around and on them. I pass the creek and end up in the square. Here, the old covered marked is still in place, although empty. The houses in the centre have less flowers in front of them, but are still real nice.
I find the local Noel Arms Inn to use their internet, and just as a courtesy, I have a pot of tea and a chocolate Tiffin - which is great! I get updated on the world, as well as updating it on my adventures. It take quite some time to upload, but the lack of sun have a relaxing influence on me.

In Worcestershire, Gloucester and its cathedral and docks are next. It is a rather large city, but it is a bank holyday, and it is quite empty. I park at the docks, and walk through the centre of town, to the huge cathedral. Besides from the main room, several pathways leads around it, and they are fantastic work of stone carvings and tinted glass.
Several of the leading class have been buried here through time, but only in rather simple tombs. I had expected a bit more like the church next to my home, with all the royals. Anyway, it is a magnificent building.
As I walk back through the pedestrian streets, I try to capture the diversity of the buildings. Some look fantastic, some ought to be knocked over. Same goes for the areas right in back. And some are actually being knocked down.
I don't get the fuss about the docks at all. Here are some restored old warehouses, but many have been replaced with modern trash-buildings. The few houseboats in the canals look interesting and old, and so do the buildings right outside the area - although they are falling apart by them self.
While I walk through one of the shopping areas, I finally find the light, stainless steel bowl I've been looking for, to my vegetable-dinners. Just the size to fit a bag of sliced, mixed vegetables. It is in the pet-department, and it does have pore-impressions on the side, but it is the best I have found.

A bit outside of town, Painswick and especially the Rococo Garden sounds interesting. Early 17th century style, which should have "pavilions, fountains and staircases created in the most bizarre and extravagant forms fueled a fleeting craze". For the second time to day, I completely fail to grasp the "greatness".
To me, it look like an average park with a few, simple buildings, a nice kitchen garden and some walkways in the forest. Despite searching along all the trails, nothing of real interest shows up.
An empty pigeon house, a pond, a maze, a tiny exedra garden and a bench scattered around does not make it a Rococo garden in my book.
The village should be nice, and I give it a go. Well, if it was the first English village  have visited, I would probably have been thrilled. I do the loop, and head on.

The National trust have a Dutch Watergarden in Westbury, and it is just on the other side of Gloucester. I see most of it, walking from the carpark to the entrance, but it does look different. Long, square ponds with square hedges and topiary along with a few beds with flowering plants. It was created in 1696, and is now brought back to its original state. One of the squares is with spices and kitchen garden plants.
It is nice, but I am mainly amused by the old Holm Oak; Quercus ilex from 1580. The entire garden is fast to go through, and I'm a bit anxious to where to sleep, and especially get a morning shower. I ask the nice guy in the entrance, and he give me a map, showing a campsite a few kilometres away. They do not have a sign at the bigger road, and I actually passed it. Most have left after the long weekend, and I can easily fit in.
I make the usual slideshows, then, I'm kind of finish, and it is only eight - several hours earlier then all other evenings? Well, I can plan the coming days. I did miss one sight this morning, and that causes for a small detour back. While going through the National Trust's book, I have to add ten sights in Wales. If just the weather cooperates...

31/5 The sun awakes me at seven, and pretty soon, I'm on my way to Ledbury. The plan was actually to go back and see the ruin at Uley, but that meant to go back through Gloucester, and I don't bother in the morning jam. Instead, I enter Herefordshire.
Ledbury should be a nice, old town, and some might agree. It was a large town 500 years ago, and some of the fine, old buildings remains in the centre. The butter and poultry marked from 1617 is a bit special: It is covered by the grain storage, build 50 years later. I do the streets and back alleys, but fail to find some tea. Not as touristed as they use to be, I guess.
From here, it is through the open landscape with more green hills and an old sandstone bridge next to the remains of Goodrich Castle. Then the Forest of Dean starts. It is the oldest oak forest in Britain, and I'm here to see the huge trees. I drive through the area several times, once following the Scenic Drive, but the biggest trees I see is less than one meter in diameter. I do a few strolls within the oak forest: Nice, but not really the goal.

Next up is Puzzlewood, found within Forest of Dean. It is an Roman open-cast mine, overgrown with mosses, ferns and old eerie trees. The area is a huge maze, some pathways ending in a deep pit. Lots of movies have been made here, like Dr. Who, Merlin and Harry Potter.
Despite the lack of light, I desperately try and capture the atmosphere. It is a special feeling, walking around here, and the thick mosses and different ferns are interesting. Some pencil-thick twigs are five centimetres thick with mosses. The exposed roods of the trees look more alive than just roots.
I figure I better finish England for this time with another slideshow called Oxford and Cotsworlds. And a slideshow with the best from the western part.

From here, the tour continues into Wales.  (and back to England)

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