I hate that expression, “getting back to normal”, because what is normal? Life changes and one adjusts or learns to cope with the changes. I also hate the reality show expression, “It’s been an incredible journey,” as if we are in a car going from A to B. I tell you what, this ‘so called journey’ of mine has been going along a very bumpy road and the road could do with some repair work. However that is what it’s all about isn’t it? The ups and the downs, making the most of every day, and the ‘downs’ making you appreciate the ‘ups’ even more.
Anyway, as my road definitely needed some repair work, various friends have whisked me off for a day out or a couple of days away and I have had such fun. My bridge playing friends and I went to Gloucestershire (Bridge Babes on Tour) and stayed at The Wild Rabbit in Kingham. We ate copious amounts of delicious food, drank in equal quantities, especially when we found they served unheard of cocktails, tried to walk it off across country but probably did more miles in the local towns, as we shopped and searched for coffee shops that served a decent capuccino (and a toasted teacake!) Our bridge playing was enhanced by the cocktails, we drank so many that I sent a text to my girlfriend saying we were consuming Wild Rabbis by the bucket – don’t know why predictive texting felt Rabbi was the word I was looking for and not Rabbit. She replied, promising loyally not to tell my Jewish husband.
On our way to Kingham we stopped off for more refreshments and shopping at the Burford Garden Company, a one-stop shopping destination fulfilling so many of our needs (or maybe desires). The garden side is extensive however equally extensive are all the other things on offer. We started in the traditional toy shop, there are grandmothers in our group, and it has an adorable cinema with deckchairs where presumably you can park your children whilst shopping. I walked through an arch of second-hand books and spent half an hour, with one of my friends, reminiscing about all the books from our childhood, some of which were for sale, first editions, signed by the author, and well-loved by all of their owners.
Of course we hit the clothes shop and found so many items that we felt we needed – an Ilse Jacobsen waterproof coat in navy blue has made it into one of our wardrobes. We looked longingly at the Brora knitwear, purchased some scarves to brighten up our winter clothes and wandered on into the home section. Burford Garden Company is a delightful destination selling so many unusual and tempting items. I came home with some sloe gin chutney and sloe gin truffles saying I would give them as a gift to a friend – however it needs to be someone who will open them instantly so I can try them!
We also spent a happy couple of hours in the Daylesford Farm shop which sells everything from wooden spoons and venison steaks, to cashmere sweaters at prices that made our eyes water. However the display skills and buyer’s choices were first class if a little out of our budget.
We rounded off our trip with a drive through some Cotswold villages and stopped off at Bampton half hoping to see Mrs. Crawley out on a walk to meet Dr. Clarkson, as we know Bampton is used as the village of Downton in the popular TV series.
Those two days away certainly ironed out some of the bumps on my road as we giggled, chatted, shopped, ate, drank and just had fun! I can recommend it – the company of good girlfriends is better than any medicine to get you through the tough times.