Tuesday, 27 November 2012


We’ve nipped off for a short break in the Cotswolds. A very sudden decision, but Christmas looms and we have a few spare days. As we are both retired, all our days ought to be spare, but that’s another story,

Anyway, here we are in Cirencester which is a very pleasant sandstone-coloured place, if rather wet. We’ve been here a few times before in the caravan, but this time we tried self-catering.

Yesterday we visited Tetbury, a little town chock full of antique shops so we had a good browse. Lots of shabby chic, much of which seems to be rather more shabby than chic, but maybe that’s the fashion. We didn’t buy anything, but rarely do, it’s mostly the browsing we enjoy.

Apparently our Royal Greenie lives near to Tetbury – at Highgrove. There is a Highgrove shop in the town centre too – pricey and not very interesting. Shortbread packed in fancy tins at fancy prices – that kind of thing. We bought a pack of Warburton’s crumpets from the Co-op over the road instead, but that was pricey too. It must be Tetbury.

This remote whiff of royalty set me wondering what life might be like if Charles ever makes it to the throne. My guess is – and it’s a wild shot in the dark – not much different to now. Very much a non-boat-rocker is Charles, in spite of the causes he espouses.

Whether he'll ever discover that climate science is a crock, I don't know. I feel a man in his unique position should have been too worldly-wise to be taken in, but he was. Still is one presumes. A disappointing man in my view.

As king, will he introduce new carbon-neutral modes of communicating with us? Semaphore springs to mind, although I've heard it suggested that he should try STFU. I don't know what the acronym stands for, but it sounds exciting.

We overheard a Tetbury resident complaining about the recent flooding and the local council. Apparently it issued free sandbags, but required payment for the sand. More than fair I'd say. Those bags may be the shabby chic antiques of the future.   

While we were browsing the shelves of a bookshop, a guy came in with an umbrella and a pair of shoes in his hand - enquiring after local cobblers. I was by the philosophy shelf at the time, but didn't make the obvious comment.

I did find a copy of Walter de la Mare’s Poems 1919 to 1934 though. I’ve blown hot and cold over de la Mare over the years. An odd chap by any standards, but I’ll probably enjoy reading his poetry again.  I had a couple of his books some years ago, but gave them away when we moved house. I’m not really in tune with old Walter, but find him difficult to ignore.


The sea laments
The livelong day,
Fringing its waste of sand ;
Cries back the wind from the whispering shore –
No words I understand :

Yet echoes in my heart a voice,
As far, as near, as these –
The wind that weeps,
The solemn surge
Of strange and lonely seas.

Walter de la Mare


Scrobs... said...

You're both fortunate to be spending a few days there, Mr Haart!

There's an excellent beer sold in many of the pubs round there, and for the life of me, I cannot remember its name...

It'll come...

Scrobs... said...

It's Hook Norton!

'Old Hooky'!


WitteringsfromWitney said...

A very pleasant sandstone coloured place"

Most of the Cotswolds is, as you have no doubt noticed.

If you ever pass by or near Witney, perhaps we could share a glass or two?

James Higham said...

We really should cut straight to the chase and go for Wills.

Demetrius said...

Cirencester? Try going out to Edgeworth and Sapperton, a couple of lovely churches if you can get in. Is it The Bell at the latter, and there was a pub by the Canal entrance to a tunnel at the other.

A K Haart said...

Scrobs - I've tried Old Hooky and it is rather good.

Witterings - thanks - good idea. We have to get back soon, but plan to return because we like the area and it's an easy journey for us.

James - maybe so - unless he's already set in stone ideas-wise, which may be the case.

Demetrius - thanks - I'll put both on my to visit list. Although we've been here before, we don't know the area all that well and are still exploring.

Sam Vega said...

Walter de la Mare - persist with his poems and short stories. I think he is worth it. Roger Scruton was right in considering de la Mare the last faint eco of romanticism.

You probably have "The Fleeting" in there, as that was 1933. Check out "Making a Fire" to increase your pleasure as a reflective burner of wood!

A K Haart said...

Sam - I like his short stories and kept hold of those, it's the poetry where I have mixed feelings. Some I enjoy, many I'm not so keen on. Almost too vivid in a way.

Yes, "Making a Fire" is in this collection - I'll post it some time for all we wood burners!