Monday, September 12, 2011


A leisurely start to the day, sorting out what we'd need for a couple of nights away from our Islington flat, then into the car and off to Cirencester, with expert guidance from Gertie, our GPS. She escorted us through the northern reaches of London and off to the west, to meet the M4 motorway, and our little Yaris did a noble job contending with speeding traffic. Arriving in good time in the general area of our destination, we stopped off at the supposedly Saxon village of Cricklade and found a pub for lunch...

The Red Lion. Curiously, there was a White Lion right across the street. Looked in vain for the Golden Lion or the Black Lion. Still, we shared a good beet soup at the Red Lion, and a less good ploughman's lunch, with an inferior cheddar and and even less ferior chutney--and, believe it or not, NO pickled onion. Ah, well. Still, a good half pint of draft Guinness to compensate.

We did a quick tour of the village...

... including the very beautiful and surprisingly large church for so small a village...

... some parts of which date from the Saxon era. Some kind of event with a spread of food and drinks was coming to an end; upon inquiry from a woman about to leave the church with a large plate of tarts, we discovered that it had been her father's funeral. We offered condolences, and were offered a fruit tart in return.

Then back to the parking lot to pick up the car and into Cirencester itself for a lovely reunion with my sister, Flora. She has a beautifully modernized old house on what must be the narrowest street in the town, very comfortably appointed in every respect. First thing we noticed, on the hall table, was a collection of the porcelain pottery she has been working on, delightfully glazed, somewhat crazy little hand-crafted pieces that remind us a bit of the great George Ohr--the "Mad Potter of Biloxi", whose work we love so much.

A good catch-up conversation over the essential cup of tea, then a walk through the old streets of the town to the very modern Waitrose market, where Flora had a few purchases to make. And back to the house via a different route. It was soon time to drive out to a rather remote country railroad station to pick up Flora's grandson, Hugo, returning from his performing arts school in London. It's a big commute for him, every day; he arrived home tired but in good spirits. Now fourteen years old, he not only attends one of the most distinguished schools in London for young people with his talents, but also works regularly to help pay the bills. Today's job was voiceover work for language studies.

At home for dinner, we enjoyed an excellent leg of lamb that Flora had prepared, along with green vegetables and roast potatoes. Mint sauce, of course. All very tasty. Washed down with a glass of the New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc I had purchased at the market. It was good to have the opportunity to catch up with Hugo, now a fine young lad with a handsome mien and a changing voice, very articulate and poised for one so young. (No pictures yet. We'll fix that tomorrow.) He insisted, after dinner, on doing his exercises before going to bed. As for the rest of us, we lounged in front of the television set for only a few minutes before deciding it was time to hit the sack.

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