Sunday, August 21, 2011

Tewkesbury: "Is that mint?"

With a lazy day yesterday, we were set to soak up the sun today. We decided to try one of the walks we'd picked up some time ago at the tourist information centre in Tewkesbury: almost nine kilometres, from Tewkesbury to Deerhurst and back, mostly along the River Severn.

After a bit of browsing in Bookworm -- where I found a few more Ward Lock Red Guides -- we started to make our way back to the car, which was parked near the Abbey and the start of our walk. The impressive exterior of the Royal Hop Pole caught my eye, however, and, much to my surprise, Tea was amenable to my mutterings about historical buildings and our only ever visiting Tewkesbury during their winter ale festival (in 2010 and again in 2011). My sort of hike, I thought, moments later, a pint of Grand Prix in hand.

In all honesty, it really is a beautiful hotel. As is the Bell Hotel, further down the road. We'd made it that far when we decided our substantial breakfast of sausages and eggs had been a few too many hours ago. An amazing pork roast later -- with a pint of Greene King's lovely St Edmunds to wash it down, in my case -- we finally felt fit for our challenge.

As we made our way down to the river, the view of the Malvern Hills stopped us short: such colours, and sheep dotting the landscape to near the horizon. It really was a beautiful day, and it was great to see so many people out enjoying it: whenever we passed picnic tables, they bore their namesake. Other families spread out on blankets near the path. (Never to the point of crowding, of course, with that rural British sense of space you'll always find, outside the hubs of London, Brum, etc. anyway.)

We picked out a solitary swing in the distance, as we left the paved road behind at the Cheltenham College Boat House. Tea had to stop for a few minutes, of course. Swinging idly, she pointed at some plants nearby. "Is that mint?" A new fan of real mint tea, I eagerly descended upon it, ready to rub it vigorously to release that wonderful scent. Far too late to alter my course, I hear, "Or is it poison ivy?" The next instant is a bit of a blur, as I yelped, staggering backward and staring at my hand in horror, certain that full needles fashioned of some fibrous matter to rival steel would now be bristling from my fingertips.

I'd imagine I had some sort of run in with stinging nettles in my childhood. You'd never know it, though, the way I wailed, and later snivelled, about my burning, then tingling, extremities. (It's with thoughts of you, dear reader, that I persevere with that pain even now, typing this missive.)

Once we'd reached Odda's Chapel, the guide's author struggled for notable landmarks. Or, rather, we struggled to find them amongst the various pens and fields of a nearby farm. With the sun dipping, we decided to retrace our steps; those views were definitely worth a second look, and the light was even better at that hour.

You can find more pictures from the day in our Tewkesbury to Deerhurst album.

No comments:

Post a Comment