time travel - the cotswolds

Thursday, 16 August 2012

01 - 03 - 2011

last wednesday i found myself with a million other londoners on the tube in the wee hours. i had a meeting with a recruitment agent at 10 in the city, and an appointment to apply for a national insurance number (for tax purposes) at 11:30 on the other side. because of where i'm staying in essex, I had to be on the train at 8:30 to get in just after 9, and to the right place on time. needless to say, having to be up by 7 meant not really sleeping well the night before - especially with the new jersey shore addiction i have (thanks rob). anyway, i had made plans with bex prior to wednesday that after my meetings i would rendezvous with her at her aunt's place in the country, so I had to cart with me into the city my overnight bag, et al, which was both *fun* and really professional looking too.

so the interview with the recruiter went...*ok*... i don't really have the experience  for what she hires for, but she says with the experience i DO have, she thinks she will be able to market me to a certain type of company - so fingers crossed. she was an aussie too so i had that going for me. she seemed nice enough, so i guess i wait and see what she can find. all i have to say about the NEXT part of my morning is *whiiiiiingey*, so for your sakes i will bypass that and move straight onto the rest of it. (sidenote: don't book an appointment at jobcentre plus, just rock up. it will take at least an hour to speak to someone either way; at least if you just rock up you wont have to pee really badly because you will have taken your sweet time getting there and not RACED ACROSS LONDON TO GET THERE ON TIME AND AS SUCH NOT ALLOWED YOURSELF TO STOP ON THE WAY, and then have to sit through a tedious appointment, in a smelly centre with NO TOILETS with UNEMPLOYED FOREIGNERS who smell and have no lives, then wait another half an hour while a lazy ass fat person sits and talks on the phone to her life partner whilst simultaneously holding your passport hostage. i forget what my point was. oh yeah, i wasn't going to whinge. whoops.)

from there, i made my way to the bus to oxford, to meet up with bex and aunt h who were going to collect me and take me back to the country cottage. by this time i was about an hour later than expected, which kinda worked out well cos the ladies got held up in some traffic outside cirencester and so were, in fact another 45mins later than i was, to pick me up from the depot. so from london to thornton only took 50 mins, they  rocked up 45 mins later, and it took us just over an hour to get to northleach, so it was about 6 when we got there. that night I was treated to a  home cooked meal, a lot of wine, and some brilliant company from helen and her two gorgeous teens isabella and georgia. (sidenote, and am sure they will read this so, i am sorry to talk about you like this, but it needs to be mentioned. these kids are some of the most genuinely pleasant teenagers i have ever ever met. they are 12 and 15, but have amazing manners and personalities. they don't argue. they don't bicker. they don't talk back, cuss or raise their voices. they say please and thank you, and ask how your day was instead of grunt. helen is damn lucky and should be really proud of herself to have raised such well-grounded and gorgeous children. the end.) 
lambs fold cottage - our home for the next few nights
hight street, northleach
the serenity of the country


the next day, bex and i took the local bus into oxford, and hour and half away. the local bus. the timetable is as follows: pickups at 7am, 11:30am and 4pm, with a return trip leaving oxford at 9am, 1:30pm and 6pm. (sidenote; if you flirt with the busdriver you won't get a cheaper ticket. just saying.) So we had many hours to kill, and not a lot on the agenda. we spent the frst few hours having a wander and seeing what oxford had to offer. we had printed out our own 'self guided walking tour' thingo the night before so decided to start there. we visited christ church and the covered markets, the library (whose name excapes me), the bridge of sighs, went to a pub and had awful ale, pizza hut for lunch and the botanic gardens. then, we wandered. we ended up wandering right up to the oxford castle, and paid £1 to climb the mound out the front (a pound for the mound), and took in the sights of oxford. it really was beautiful, and it was such a nice day too. we had blue skies, and hardly any wind. a lovely day :) the journey home was lonnnnnnnggggggg - we hit traffic again (probably some cows crossing or something), and so didnt get home til just before 8, but had some amazing food waiting for us so no complaints. (sidenote: this whole "erica not being lactose intollerant anymore" thing is REALLY GOOD. i have over indulged so much since i rediscovered my love of lactose, im one little blobby mess.) 
the bridge of sighs, oxford
the library and a tall spikey thing
oxford castle by twilight (no vampires)
view from the top of the mound
the following day i was supposed to have a phone screening for a position i had applied for a while ago, but there was no service on my cell and even though i had given them an alternate number to call me on and EXPRESSLY asked them to use the alternate number, it didn't happen. but it meant that i had set my alarm early for no reason and (un)slept the night before in anticipation. (story of my life) since we were up anyway, we got ready and went for a walk around northleach before heading into stratford-upon-avon - birthplace and final resting place of william shakespeare. we first had afternoon tea at a wee teahouse on the main street, scones, tea cake, etc before making our way around the town - lead by an extremely knowledgeable aunt h. we saw his house, the school he went to, where his daughter lived, where he died, where he's burried, and a whole list of other shakespeare-related goodness. that day was not so nice, a bit dreary and rainy, so we were wet and cold and a bit miserable so didnt stay too long. we had planned to go and visit warwick castle that day too, butt the day was getting on and helen had plans that night so we headed homeward instead. not before picking up some beautiful chooks to roast for dinner *yummmmmmm*
an adorable pink house we came upon
deliciousness
shakespeare's back yard
the mercure, stratford
we were supposed to go home saturday, but instead opted to hang on one more night, and spend the weekend in the country. we went into 'town' on saturday to cheltenham, where the girls (all but me - naturally) had their feet eaten alive by small fish in a tank, 15mins for a tenner *ewwwwwww*. it was GROSS to watch, and seeing them all squirm when they first dipped their feet in made me want to vom. then we did a spot of shopping and wandered for a few hours, the girls having a lazy end to their school break. we were on a mad mission to find scones, and at one point visited about 7 cafes trying to find one that had fruitless scones (cos thats how i roll guys), but in the end helen offered to make some for us to have that night for dessert. which we did. and i ate the SHIT out of them. not just that, we had bangers and mash for dinner (MY FAVE), scones for dessert then ended the night watching a pirated copy of the kings speech! like proper brits! it was brilliant!!

sadly, we had to go home the next day, cos i had lunch plans in the city with erin and her school friends nitya and jane, and bex had plans too, so there was no way we could have stayed - although i'm sure we both could have been persuaded!! helen and the girls were so accommodating, and the cotswolds so beautiful (even better in the summer so I'm told... catchphrase of the year!) that we have definite plans to go back. where helen lives is not far from cardiff in wales and also bath and stonehenge/glastonbury aren't far, so next time we go there'll still be a heap of things to see and do. I can't wait to go back :) Just a couple of regular country girls! (we're not.....we are)

so here we are, back to the daily grind of doing nothing, and then sleeping, then doing nothing, then sleeping. i could break up the mundane consistency of my life by applying for some more jobs i suppose, just to be rejected the next day, but where's the fun in that? i keeeeeeed.....(i don't.)

wish me luck guys, i am going to need it soon !! that, or donations to get home :)