Tuesday, June 27, 2017

UK Day 6–In Which We Meet the Village Drunk and Almost Flip Our Canoe.


This may or may not be our fourth Cream Tea…

The district of England known as the Cotswolds is well known for being picturesque, but Bradford-on-Avon is definitely next level gorgeous. Many of these villages have concealed services so there isn’t even a power pole or telephone wire to mar the view of ancient buildings and narrow cobbled streets bursting with flowers.



We wondered the tiny streets checking out the shops and various Very Old Buildings, the best of which is a Saxon Church that dates from 700AD. This is one of the best known examples of an intact Saxon church in England.


It was a hot day and so we spent some time in the cool interior soaking up the atmosphere.


Travis was, of course, overcome with the spirit.



It did feel a little Game of Thrones in there, and I kept expecting the Man With No Face or whoever he is to show up dragging a blind Arya Stark and going on about  how ‘A Girl must not blah blah blah’.

After doing our church duty, the next obvious thing to do in a quaint English Village is to have a picnic beside the River Avon, of course, so we did exactly that. The picnic was much like most picnics except that we had the added benefit of the village drunk as entertainment, as well as his sister.

I was trying not to let them see me take a picture of them... He’s the one who looks a bit like Robert Plant from Led Zeppelin.


We struck up a bit of a conversation over my use of the garbage bin which apparently is rare, according to him. The rest of the conversation went like this (really – this actually happened!):

Me: Have you caught any fish in the river?

Robert Plant: Av ownly just got ‘ere. My ‘obby is acshully berd-watchin.

His Sister: And ‘e downt mean the flyin’ kind.


Me: Right hahaha of course.

Robert Plant: Do you want to  ‘ave a cast? Do you fish?

Me: I don’t but my son does. He fishe….

Robert Plant: Is that him (gestures to Travis) he can come and ‘ave a cast if he wonts?

Me: Oh no no, he’s my friend and that’s my daughter and her fri…

Robert Pant: It’s awright, you don’t need to explain to me.

Me: oh no really it’s…

(Robert Plant’s sister has a coughing fit)

Robert Plant to his sister: Don’t go doyin’ on me luv. If you do, I’m just goin’ to stand you up in the telephone box and run away anyways.


Me: Well nice chatting with you two. See you later!

We had another group encounter with Robert Plant a few minutes later and he was actually very helpful  in directing us to our next activity which was, of course, canoeing down the Avon-Kennet Canal with a stop at another VOB first, the local Tithe Barn.


The barn dates form the 12th Century or something like that and is a fantastic example of a Very Old Barn. A local theatre company were right  in the middle of set construction for a production of Romeo and Juliet which opens in 3 nights, which didn’t stop Travis from getting into this very old sarcophagus that was just outside the doors.



Time to move on…

We walked down the canal to a local launching/mooring spot and got set up in our canoe. It was very easy and there weren’t any requirements for safety equipment and no long list of rules, just an advisement not to actually touch the canal water as it is disgusting, which it kind of is…


I was paddling up front, Travis was steering (and I use the term loosely) in the back, and Zoe and Terra lounged around in the middle. All went smoothly and we enjoyed a leisurely paddle up the canal, even making it as far as the local aquaduct, which is basically a bridge for boats that in this case, travelled over the River Avon below and also a set of train tracks. Everything went well until, on our way back, we had an incident with some brambles and a dead rat floating nearby and we all nearly flipped the canoe. We had only just recovered from that close call when we found ourselves right between two boats approaching from each direction. I’m pretty sure the first boat were day trippers as the women started shrieking at us to move out the way (which we were) and at the boat coming the other way to also get out the way. There was a bit of chaos, and then it was all over and we were back on our merry way. We were obviously not going fast enough for Terra however as she quickly fell into coxswain mode and was barking orders at us to ‘HOLD’ and to do a ‘POWER TEN NOW!’ and ‘FASTER’.

We made it back to port without further incident and back into town just in time for tea at yet another fantastic old tea house.




Never miss an opportunity to check your hair…

At some point we also hiked up a fantastic example of a hill and bought groceries at fantastic example of a grocery store before getting into our fantastic example of a car and driving home to our fantastic example of a cottage.

I’m sorry to report that there were no dead badgers today due to a road safety campaign recently introduced by the local badger council and a series of PSAs aimed at young badgers to teach them about road safety. Terra is still in the lead in Pub Legs and Travis is still winning at Hill Forts. Who knows what tomorrow will bring in the exciting world of driving games!

Shanks for preening,




  1. If you, as Canadians, had flipped your canoe, the Canada 150 celebrations would have to be canceled.

  2. I think we would have done anything possible to avoid being in the canal water...