May Day lived up to its expectations of spring this year. It was warm and sunny and being close to The Better Half’s (TBH's) birthday she chose a day out in her old home ground of the five valleys in Gloucestershire.
First we went to the Edgemoor Inn at Edge and ate lunch overlooking the Painswick valley, with the town of the same name in the distance.
|Painswick on the other side of the valley. The church has a very distinctive steeple, right of centre|
Click to enlarge any picture
Now and again a large buzzard would fly past, low down in the valley, but never staying in view long enough for a photo.
After lunch, we went to St Mary’s church in Rodborough and looked for TBH’s grandfather’s grave. She recalls his death and going there for the funeral in 1963 when she was a teenager.
We had no difficulty finding the grave, but TBH discovered that her grandfather had a sister and she, along with her grandmother have been buried in the same plot. TBH had not known about his sister, her great aunt, who had died in the 1930s. Another name to add to the family tree.
|The ground slopes a lot and the graves are on narrow terraces.|
|The graveyard overlooks the Stroud valley and almost dead centre of this picture, her old school is still there.|
From there we went up onto Rodborough Common for a walk in the sunshine. If you are not familiar with this area, it is one of the more interesting places to visit if you are ever in the Cotswolds.
The common is quite high as hills go in England and this open area overlooks the Stroud valley and Stroud itself on one side, the Severn valley with the Welsh hills in the distance to the west.
Whilst the sun was hot in the valleys, up on the top of the common, the wind was brisk and cool enough for TBH to need another layer.
Taking advantage of the breeze, a young man was flying some Japanese style kites he had just received an hour before, so he told us, from a mail order company. He competes in kite festivals and was getting ready for the forthcoming Weymouth festival taking place over the May bank holiday weekend.
His newest kites were quite spectacular and I could imagine the sight of hundreds of such things flying over the beaches at Weymouth.
On one edge of Rodborough Common is a Fort built 1764. It is not an ancient defensive building, but was built as a ‘folly’ and is used as a residence. In 1886 it was extensively rebuilt in a grander style.
Rodborough Common and the nearby Minchinhampton Common are renowned for the rare wild flowers and orchids that grow there. There were the usual cowslips and daisies and several patches of anemones, but nothing else.
On many occasions we have driven past these two commons and found them both carpeted with yellow dandelions, but this time, despite every grass verge in our local area being covered in them, there was not one.
|Dandelions nearer our home|
We can only assume that the commons being a lot higher than our home, the weather has not warmed up as much up there.
Today was the hottest day of this year so far and we went on a short trip and we had another day out in the sunshine. I took some more pictures of the Cotswolds and I have added some of them to this May Day post.
|This is Fosse Way, an ancient Roman road that runs through the heart of the Cotswolds|
|Who says Roman roads are straight! This one bends down a long way before climbing up the other side of Fossebridge.|
|This is one of the tributaries of the river Thames, which is not too far away.|
That is it for the time being.