Our optician originally had a practice in Cheltenham, but moved to Stratford Upon Avon. Having had only good results from his practice, we followed him there. It is a bit further than Cheltenham, but being retired and not having to fit appointments in with work, it makes a nice ride and Stratford is a pleasant place to wander around, so we are happy with this arrangement.
On arriving at Stratford Upon Avon, we discovered that this weekend was a River festival and an often quite crowded town was absolutely heaving. We were able to find a parking space, right at the end of our favourite, but rather long, car park and after a coffee break to recover from the stress of queueing for miles and fighting our way through the mobs of visitors, we went to collect my specs.
Fitted out with glasses once more we stopped for lunch at a Bella Italia. I ordered a slow cooked lamb shank and when it arrived, I was annoyed to find it was cold and not very well cooked. The staff scurried around and after some negotiation, a second one arrived. This had been cooked properly I am glad to say and we were able to finish lunch before our parking ticket expired.
We often have a wander around town after seeing the optician, but today the streets were so crowded it was not very easy to get around, so we decided to head for home straight away. Just as we got out of town, the heavens opened and it rained like the flood. However, this did not last long and soon we were driving along bone dry roads which had not seen any rain at all that day. I hope the river festival did not get rained off, a lot of people would have been disappointed.
When we came up to to my first appointment with the optician, we had noticed a patch of poppies in a field close to the side of Fosse Way, the road we take to get to Stratford. Today it is about two acres of poppies, so I decided to stop in a nearby layby and take few pictures. And here they are.
Fosse Way takes you through the Cotswolds past Bourton on the Water, through Stow on the Wold and Morton in Marsh. I often used to use this road when working for a national company and I had to get to Rugby quite regularly, so it is a familiar road. There are some interesting places along Fosse Way.
One place it passes through close by is Northleach where there is an agricultural museum and a Museum of Mechanical Music. This is a rather small museum that collects and sells ancient musical devices from musical boxes to player pianos. Once when visiting it there were some early phonograph wax cylinders on display with their original cardboard cartons and we were interested to see that the cartons had been made in my grandfather’s factory. They were clearly marked with his Cartonite brand name under the main label. His company ceased trading long ago and no longer produces cardboard tubes.
Fosse Way is one of the main Roman roads that criss cross Britain and is quite straight for much of its length, but still has bends here and there where boundaries have altered over the centuries. What it does do is go up and down and at Foss Bridge there is a deep dip that goes a long way down quite sharply with another steep hill on the other side.
Heading north you see the road dip and in the distance you can see it climbing up the other side. At the bottom is a bend that has been the cause of many a person leaving the road.
Heading south, the road falls away suddenly and you find yourself going down hill with little warning.
This used to be a really good place for overtaking slow vehicles, but they have put a 40mph speed limit on it and you risk getting a ticket if you try to race up the hill now. Spoilsports!
One building that I have always been curious about is this rather quaint gatehouse. It is on the boundary of what must be a huge estate, judging from the length of the wall surrounding it. It is a typical Cotswold dry stone wall and it runs for miles alongside Fosse Way.