As one approaches Tewkesbury, plashing through the pastures, it’s hard not to wonder whether these were the fields on the news last winter, under thousands of gallons of rain. There was more of the stuff this morning, though a good night’s sleep had picked me up from what was a pretty low point last night. This was not helped by the doom crier of a b&b owner, who advised me last night, once she’d established that I was soaked through by announcing that the forecast was terrible for the whole week. She grabbed her phone and said ‘Yeah, every day [scroll] rain…[scroll] rain…[scroll] rain…’. Later announced there were loads of steep hills between Stow and Tewkes, and this morning, as I was forking down egg and a fried slice, fixed me with a gimlet eye and asked what I’d do if I couldn’t go a single step further. Christ! Lie down in a field and wait for death, obvs. Ffs!
Anyway, this morning’s drenching gave way to cloud /fog so thick I got lost within 15 mins of leaving the road. A farmer on a quad bike loomed out of the murk like Mr Rochester, set me right and gave me a boiled sweet. The fog cleared, the rain stopped, I in my turn rescued a breathtakingly thick Labrador as it lolloped about in the middle of a fast, busy, wet road. Then scrumped some apples from an orchard, admired a pear tree so glowingly the owner gave me three of its fruit and found a damson tree in the hedgerow and stuffed myself. Tomorrow I’m in Ledbury, and although a fan of Nature’s bounty, I’m going out for steak and kidney pie and a pint of something local.


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