Roadtrip through the Cotswolds and Gloucestershire

My friend has barely moved into her new home in Gloucestershire and yet after wangling an invite I have already visited her in her new abode drinking Prosecco from tumblers and sleeping amongst the packing cases.

She has a lovely house in a nice village but that's not really what I'm writing about. I wanted to remind people who might have (like me)  forgotten how much fun a road trip can be.

Never mind Route 66 - try the A40 in the UK!

To be fair it helps that I actually enjoy driving, especially when I have the roof down on my little dented convertible with its funky black and red leather seats and trim.

When I made the trip to Gloucestershire it was a sunny afternoon and even stuck in traffic I enjoyed the warmth of the sun on my face and the sound of the birds singing. The smell of petrol and diesel and exhaust fumes I could have done without to be honest.....

I was on my own so was able to select my own dreadful choice of music and treated pedestrians I passed to enthusiastic sing-a-longs.  I tolerated the hissing and crackling of the loss of local radio stations until I could hear no more and hit the "search" button to find the next one.

I was like a child in a toy shop, being distracted by a number of temptations along the way. Ooh look - an antique shop, a cafe, a pretty lay-by with an amazing view, a gift shop, another antique shop....

There were any number of intriguing brown signposts - for non-UK readers these direct to tourist attractions or services. Churches, beauty spots, parkland, historical site. It seems the Cotswolds is jam-packed with things for curious folk to see.

Some things I filed away for future exploration like the fascinating Crocodiles of the World - a crocodile conservation and education centre. And my head whipped round as I drove past an encampment on the side of the road including a caravan or wagon of some sort advertising Mushroom Paul. There seemed to be a range of large wooden mushrooms on the grass so I'm guessing Paul is an artist with a keen interest in carving mushrooms.

Occasionally I would glimpse a vast horizon across to the Black Mountains, sometimes I would marvel at the "tree tunnels" I drove through where no sunlight could penetrate the leaf cover.

It was a great reminder that there are some simply breathtakingly beautiful areas in our overcrowded country and sometimes all you have to do is drive.

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