26 July 2015

As I mentioned last time, we had our favourite granddaughter for an overnighter last weekend and, as always, she was good as gold. We had fun on Saturday afternoon when we wandered down to the recreation ground to find a grand celebration in full swing, completely unbeknownst to us. There was a bouncy castle/slide, face-painting, drinks and nibbles for sale and a live “band” to entertain the multitude. The occasion was the re-opening after a period of closure for refurbishment, of the village club, bar & kitchen.

Annabelle took Grandma on a couple of descents of the bouncy slide while Grandpa watched from a safe distance. Then, there was a choice to be made about which style of face-painting to have done while we basked in the sunshine and listened to the music. I hope the musicians had not yet given up their day jobs – to say they were mediocre would be an overly positive exaggeration. Have you ever listened to someone howling their heart out who was in the same key the band was playing merely by accident (and then, not very frequently). I swear I could hear all the village cats squealing and dogs howling!

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The next morning Annabelle slept through until 8.00 in the morning which seemed very civilised to me. We had decided that we would embark on an outing to Bourton on the Water for the attractions of Birdland and the Model Village. The Model Village has always been one of my favourite places and we hoped Annabelle would be suitably amused by both. Unbeknownst to Annabelle, we had also arranged to meet up with Nick and Lucy about lunchtime for a picnic alongside the river. So, we toured Birdland and laughed at the penguins and flamingos, stood in open-mouthed astonishment at the size of the emus and watched the baby ducklings paddling 90 miles an hour against the current in order to more or less maintain their position in the river.

We then made our way back to the centre of the village and the picnic rendezvous with Nick & Lucy. As we wandered along the grassy area alongside the river we stumbled across two “sleeping” people. When we paused beside them, Annabelle looked at them somewhat suspiciously and, after a few moments puzzlement recognised that these two people were indeed her Mummy and Daddy. Surprise! I am sure the joy and unabashed delight at being reunited with her parents was in no way a reflection of the way in which she had been looked after by Grandma and Grandpa. After a most excellent picnic lunch, kindly provided by Nick & Lucy, we meandered down the road to the Model Village.

Bourton on the Water’s Model Village was the idea of the former landlord of the Old New Inn, Mr C.A. Morris, in the early 1930s. He and his wife measured the main part of the village and planned the model in one-ninth scale. The village was first opened to the public on 13 May 1937 to celebrate the coronation of King George VI and was ultimately completed in 1940. Since then, because the village is in a conservation area with many listed buildings, the model has remained largely unchanged. The signs identifying the buildings have changed as their usage has altered over the years and they’ve improved things since our last visit (many years ago) with interesting displays in the model windows and miniature implements and artefacts in many of the model gardens. And, Annabelle loved it! (There’s even a small portion of the model village on Google Maps Street View if you’re interested).

A lovely weekend!

I ran across an interesting perspective on the current California drought – Skip Showers for Beef.

The premise is very simple – there are something in the region of 5 million cattle in California which are responsible for the consumption of nearly half the state’s water supply due to the use of feed lots and “water hungry” crops such as alfalfa. Apparently, I’ll need to forgo 105 showers to balance my consumption of a 16 oz steak – heck, I better get started!


And finally, today is the last stage of this year’s Tour de France when the race finishes on the Champs-Élysées. It’s been a fascinating tour and a great race this year with the result not settled until the riders dragged themselves up L’Alpe d’Huez yesterday after three weeks and 3249.5 km (2019 miles) of riding. If you are in any sense interested (and I know that most of you would find the sight of drying paint to be of greater interest than le Tour), the Guardian had an “interactive” feature on the climb up L’Alpe d’Huez. Enjoy.

Much love to you all,