What a truly excellent Friday that felt like a Saturday. It's always nice when you feel like you're getting an extra day and yesterday was no exception.
As planned - although not on schedule as events involving so many kids never are - we trundled off to Cooper's Hill (made famous by the rolling of the Cheese) for an energetic hike through the woods to Cranham.
The push to the top of Cooper's Hill is one of those climbs that leaves you feeling like you don't do enough exercise no matter how much exercise you actually do do. (Did you just write do do ?? Ed). However, on days like this it also leaves you in no doubt that it's absolutely worth the lung busting burning agony.
At this time of year the tree colours are incredible. To see the luscious greens slowly turning to reds and oranges before disappearing altogether is a sight that anyone would be heartbroken to lose, and just reminds me that I don't want to live on the Mediterranean or the west coast of the US really, even if I think I do.
From here we head south easterly along a short stretch of the cotswold way through the woods. A left turn and down hill past the woodsmans cottage and the across the road and back into the woods to drop down into Cranham itself.
It's a beautiful little village trapped in a valley and feels like it's cut off from the world. Near the top of one of the tiny roads is an equally tiny pub "The Black Horse". With a proper open fire and proper beer and a proper home cooked (not too fancy but huge portions) menu, it was just what was required.
Of course the ordering and delivery of food and beverages is made over complicated by the shear numbers of people involved and the fact that everyone wants something slightly different but the Barman did an excellent job of keeping us all organised and the food and superb beer were quaffed and enjoyed greatly.
The return journey involves a lot of up hill work and on this occasion took the same route as before. As the kids explained this is a particularly dangerous strategy, because by going back the way you came the Indians are sure to know where you've been and are likely to ambush you. All too late had I realized we'd forgotten to cover our tracks on the way in to the village. A schoolboy error (apparently). This gem of very useful information was made all the more pertinent when the kids also revealed this logic to have been proven by their cousins who never retrace their steps and instead strive to find an alternate route. The system must work, as the cousins, as yet have never been ambushed by said Indians, in these or any other parts. Fun times.
The beauty of conversations with 7 year olds is the way their logic produces all sorts of hitherto unknown facts. For example, I hadn't realised that I'm now logically a grandparent. It turns out that once you're kids are no longer kids and are grown up, you're no longer a parent, but automatically a grand parent. Well thanks for that nephew of mine. I shall remember it for future use and try my best to embarrass you with it at a later date. Probably during your university application.
By this time we'd also had the sad news that daughter was required to help out at work in the evening and so our little party of scattered family was to come to a close. We traipsed back to the bottom of the Cheesey hill and from there back home. For those wishing to try it out, we made it last almost 3 and half hours, but two of those were spent sat in the pub eating, so a 45 minute walk each way. Longer if you're covering your tracks.
All was not completely lost though, as Mrs G and I were able to join them all again in the evening for a well deserved curry, frivolity, a number of "was-lovely-to-see-yous" and couple of "we'll-be-up-to-visit-you-all-soons" before they were due to head back north to bonnie Scotland.
One tiny bit of tech note... Daughter's new camera was the test bed for these photo's (A Samsung PL150 - £130 - other cameras are available) which she'll be taking on her forthcoming Thailand trip. It's done a good job. Might be a little small for my clunky hands, but it takes a damn good picture as I'm sure you'll agree.
And then there's a beutiful little app for the iPad called "TiltShiftGen" Which enabled me to take this shot of Tesco's...
....and turn it into this beautiful model village...
Best of all, it's now only just Saturday morning. The weekend awaits and I hear there's a beer festival at The New Inn in Gloucester. Ahhh, to sip, perchance to drink.. Who knows, but gotta keep an eye out for the Injuns, especially at my age.
This post originally appeared here: Posterous