Our journey began by taking a train to Reading and then changing ans going onto Moreton in Marsh. Once again the British spell things differently to how they say them and Reading is pronounced - redding. Moreton in Marsh is pretty straight forward but, hey, it's a pretty dumb name don't you think? Moreton in Marsh is near Stow on the Wold and Barton on the Heath - Seriously. Who comes up with this nonsense?
Anyway all these crazy named towns are within Cotswolds which is where rich people go for "mini-breaks" and so on. After what felt like the longest train ride of my life because it was alarmingly full and we had to stand up most of the way we arrived. Amy had pre-hired some bicycles to ride around the town with and for most of the train ride there I was panicking. I hadn't ridden a bicycle in years! I mean I know they say "you never forget" but what about when you fall off! You don't forget that either! Urrrggghhh... nerves. We each got a bike and helmet for all you worry warts and set off to the arboretum of Moreton in Marsh. I managed to take off and not fall off. I even remembered how to use the gears and all that bicycle jargin! Look at me go! Weeee! In the end I loved having the bikes and suggested that Miranda and I hire some when we are in Amsterdam. See some windmills - bicycle style.
On the way to the arboretum there was this dead pheasant right next the footpath and I stopped and took a photograph of it. I know that sounds weird but I've never seen one up close and they have such beautiful colouring! Reading that back I do sound kind of odd photographing dead things ... Moving on!
We got to the arboretum and, as you can see, it was very pretty. Not quite in full bloom but there were many many flowers out. Especially daffodils. There was this sign at the entry to the place that had a picture of daffodils which said "Daffodils NOW!" as if they had just got them in. It made me laugh a lot. It was very peaceful and picturesque. Amy has a big professional camera so Miranda and I each had a turn feeling professional. Wearing the camera (because it was so huge) made me feel like a total tourist. As you can see in the picture - that is the pose of the tourist - excited, alert and camera erect.
So we pottered around there for a while. Had some lunch and then went back to the town on our bicycles. It was pretty much all down hill from the arboretum to the road so we were flying along and - boy - it was freezing with the wind whipping us. Oh it was somewhat cooler in Moreton in Marsh than good ol' Egham. I'm actually finding that Egham is warmer than most places... and sunnier. Just before we hit the town there was this WWII aviation museum that Amy was debating whether or not to go in. On the train ride there we had come up with images of what the owner would like and decided he would be short, fat, balding, wearing a dirty singlet, grey chest hair, nazi bullets in his head and his name was Hank. Boy was I wrong. We stopped and took a photo outside of the place for laughs when this old man came up to talk to me about how inside the museum there was a real WWII plane we could get a photo of. This guy, honestly, was the monopoly man. He sounded and looked like him. Mustache and fancy waist coast and all! Oh Hank how you amazed us. Here's a picture of the museum we didn't go into!Woo a big propeller! Moreton in Marsh has it all. Back into town and we locked up our bikes and went into (much to Miranda's delight) a little festival that was inspired by JRR Tolkien and Lord of the Rings. It was the sweetest little market thing. They were offering free entry and refreshments like little h'ordeuvres and cordial. There were costumes and jewellery inspired by the film, books and so on. It was really darling. The coolest part was (for some reason) they had a guy with an eagle on his arm. I got to hold the eagle! How rad is that? It started staring at me and I was waiting for it to peck my face off. It didn't. It was quite heavy though and I was pretty impressed. I mean look at my face - I'm glowing with nerdiness.
Moreton in Marsh is a pretty little town. Little being the operative word - more like tiny. It has very old buildings which house various boutiques. Amy was saying that when she was researching the town people were living there a long time ago and then up and decided they didn't like the houses and the town just became a ghost town. Then, eventually, people crawled back and that's why the houses and buildings are all so old - how weird is that? The only thing that offset the beauty and serenity of this little high street was the random carnival in the middle. There were a couple of carnival rides (like at the EKKA) in the centre of this high street. How weird it that? Walking up and down the high street you get to understand what the dangers of this town are. They are surmised in their street signs...
WILD DUCKS AND OLD PEOPLE! RUN FOR YOUR LIFE! Maybe not run... I don't think that it would be too necessary... just sort of shuffle of at a quickened pace. It started getting dark so the bike man came and collected out bikes and we hopped on a train to Reading and then to Egham. On the train from Reading to Egham we were just chatting when these two teenage boys walked up to us, turned and whilst thrusting went "Sha-wing!". I'm sorry... is that some sort of term of endearment here in Britain? Was I supposed to giggle, swoon and follow them to where ever they were going? Is this some sort of mating ritual? How odd. Overall, a very lovely day and very soon I will be heading briefly into the blue yonder and then into Scotland once more! Yippee! I'll keep you posted.