Last Day out.
We pondered on where to go.
"Pick a town we have never been to before.
It could be like Market Harborough,
...or it could be like Nuneaton..."
I examined the map
"How about Chepstow, but you may not want to drive that far...?"
"I don't mind driving, but aren't you working this evening? Let's save Chepstow for another day."
"Good point" The map gets further examination. "How about Witney?"
"Nope. Witney, Oxon."
"I went there for my honeymoon, haven't been back since."
"Time for a revisit then!"
"Have you ever been there?"
"I don't know, I may have been there on a ringing outing, but I am not certain."
So the motley crew departed for pastures new.
We passed through Burford - the town we had visited previously and not been greatly enamoured with - a bit of a one street wonder. We will revisit in the spring and see if we have judged the place too harshly. The church was full of character, but we didn't find much else of interest.
As we sailed up the hill in Buford we passed a nun and the KHT suddenly piped up
"What is black and white, black and white, black and white and black and white"
"I have absolutely no idea!"
"A nun rolling down a hillside!"
And there is more where that came from..
"What is black and white and goes haha?"
"A nun falling over a wall?"
"No, the nun that pushed the other nun down the hillside!"
I think my daughter has some strange ideas about nuns...
As we get close to Witney we admire the military aircraft taking off and coming into landing at an airfield near by.
A few minutes later we enter Witney and spot another nun....it is going to be that sort of day!
The Cotswolds are very beautiful.
It is a good job they aren't near the coast or they would be even more desirable
and houses would be even more expensive than they are!
The parking was free for up to 3 hours - great!
The toilets demanded 20p to spend a penny and we didn't appear to have any 20p's - doubly not so great!
We didn't want to pay 20p to pee anyway...
Isn't it odd how we would happily pay £'s for parking without a second thought,
yet quibble at paying a small price to use the facilities.
However, it was nearly lunchtime.
We can wait.
Witney has a good sized town centre
with a good mix of independent high street shops
and small arcades
occupied by the ubiquitous chain stores
who can afford the rent.
I don't need to name them.
They are the same in every town...
We spied the impressive looking parish church, situated at the end of a large green,
with more parking and an eagle eyed traffic warden.
If you are eagle eyes you will also notice that the traffic warden made it on to my photo!
As we walked towards the church
a plane passed behind the spire.
I can never look at a plane approaching a building
without thinking of 9/11,
even if they are quite a distance
from the actual building.
Disturbing how an act of terrorism stays with us, and alters our thinking for ever...
We entered the church to a pleasant aroma of furniture polish. The building was surprisingly plain and empty inside.
I expected far more clutter and artefacts.
The pews have been replaced by modern chairs,
and a dismantled scaffolding tower
lurked in an alcove behind the choir stalls.
I wondered if this had once been the home of the organ pipes,
as there was no sign of the customary instrument
that I could recall, instead I noticed smaller modern instruments.
The church also has a loo...
and it is open.
We amble back through the centre of town,
taking our time,
as the day was somewhat milder the day before.
Most of the cafes were closed.
Frankie and Bennys looked manic,
so we ended up at the adjacent Cafe Rouge,
where we sat and chatted over lunch for a very pleasant hour - putting the world to rights.
The staff were lovely and very helpful.
We planned to pass by the Christian Bookshop,
somehow we wandered in through the open doorway
and next thing I know I have purchased 3 resource books - don't tell Barry!
We are supposed to be decluttering!
Witney does churches.
There was the parish church,
the Methodist church,
an independent church
a congregationalist church
all within close proximity to each other.
Redditch has a church converted for retail use,
the civic church, cut off from its catchment area
Redditch doesn't really do churches....
Two towns - one red brick the other a more tasteful honey-coloured hue.
Both contain churches with spires with an address of church green.
One town is posher and has David Cameron as MP,
the other working class, with bizarrely a Conservative MP. Proof of the demise of the Labour Party.
The motto of the town of Witney, famous for blankets is 'Dare to be wise'.
The motto of my town, famous for needles, is 'Redditch for God'.
I know which town is sharpest,
and which, when it rains, is a wet blanket!