October half term is here at last and we can press pause on work for a few days and recharge. I’m not going to lie; the last week or two have been stressful. Covid has become rife in some of our schools and whilst we’ve been able to carry on (thankfully for the bank balance) emotionally it’s been a rollercoaster to say the least, and quite frankly we’re feeling like, somehow, we’ve successfully dodged the bullet. For now.
Keefy and I worked as a true team over the last few days, we’ve both had very little free time, so with any spare ten mins we had here and there being carefully booked out to pack items and tick off our to do list. As such our clothes have been packed in bags since Monday, the wine and beer and gin have been touring in Gandalf around Norfolk as we’ve gone from school to school, the bikes were loaded on between lessons yesterday and therefore all we needed to do this morning was load the fridge and drive off, which was good as we were both a little bit fragile from some early birthday celebrations with friends last night!
We had a decent journey to the Cotswolds, with a brief stop at Deddington because we passed a deli and butchers and couldn’t drive by! Somehow we ended up with a very modest haul- I blame the hangover, but we managed to get some local sausages , game burgers and a local gin and whiskey miniature.
We arrived on site, a very lovely C&CC Certified Location on the outskirts of Chipping Norton just after 3pm.
The campsite, Nuhulme, has a shower cubicle and toilet so we made the decision to use these rather than set out our tailgate awning this weekend. When we spoke to the owner we were surprised to learn that we are the only people booked on this weekend. So no worries about noisy neighbours!
Once set up, we settled in for a long chill. Dinner was a pre home made pie which we heated up in the Remoska along with some roasted veg and mash. Delicious! After which we hit the sack – at 8:50pm!
We had a great sleep last night and enjoyed a chill again for the first part of the morning. We utilised the on site shower cabin to freshen up – its nice to have this option rather than using the awning and 12v shower at this time of year – before prepping tonight’s dinner, a Cotswold sausage cassoulet in the slow cooker, and enjoying a bacon bap.
Keefy got the bikes off the rack whilst I washed up, and despite a lazy morning we were on our way for an explore by 11:30am.
Our first port of call was the next village along, Salford, where we admired the pretty Cotswold stone masonry,
before we made our way on back roads through Churchill and then Kingham.
Both beautifully quant and unspoilt, Kingham was declared the prettiest village in the UK at one time and has a lovely green which picture perfect cottages, some thatched.
Best of all a pub, two in fact, but so popular they are, we were unable to eat lunch in either with no booking. We did manage a drink outside under the heater at the Plough; Keefy enjoyed his first Hook Norton (the local) ale and I had a Cotswold G&T.
We continued on to Bledington where we succeeded in grabbing a table at the charming Kings Head in front of the fire where we enjoyed a light lunch of open chicken chipotle and slaw sandwich. I tried another gin, this time one from the village distillery before we made our way back via Chipping Norton to the campsite.
Gandalf smelt delicious, the sausages were cooking a treat in the slow cooker. We spent the rest of the afternoon chilling and reading before enjoying dinner and some more chill time.
Today has been a perfect mix of exploring and chilling. Something we need more of!
Sunday – Lydia’s birthday 🎂
After a terrific sleep, we both woke up to glorious blue skies – a treat as it went against all the weather forecasts! Today was a special day in Gandalf, it was my birthday and waking up in a huge open space with absolutely no one else around was the most perfect start to it! (We’re not antisocial, I promise)
The day started with bday cake, presents and tea, before donning our walking boots – I was proudly in my new boots, a welcome and generous present from Dad and Jenny, thank you.
We made our way into Chipping Norton – about a mile or so on footpath,
for breakfast and cocktails at the terrific Bitter and Twisted bar (extremely dog friendly) and enjoyed a scrumptious full English accompanied with a cocktail each.
Following our lazy brunch, we followed the historic town trail around Chipping Norton, admiring the many Cotswold stone buildings along the way, and of course enjoying a few pub stops on our way. Chipping Norton was very dog friendly by the way.
After a good few hours ambling the streets, we walked back to Gandalf for a chill and more cake! I’m reading a gripping book at the moment (The Light between two oceans) and therefore a couple of hours of undisturbed reading time with nice views was a real luxury!
As the sun set, we donned our glad rags and got a taxi back into town, for a delicious evening meal at the Blue Boar, a historic pub with a wonderful game menu. The meal was splendid and I couldn’t believe how busy the pub was for a Sunday night. Thanks goodness Keefy booked! Jazz was spoilt rotten by the bar maids, it’s so great to be in such a dog friendly part of the world.
I was on high alert for celeb spotting; apparently Chipping Norton is a magnet for the, with Jeremy Clarkson, The Beckhams, David Cameron, Amanda Holden and more all residing close by. Jeremy Clarkson’s famous farm and farm shop is also on the outskirts of Chippy – and next to the C&CC club site for those who are interested.
Tomorrow it’s time for us to wave goodbye to what’s felt like our own private retreat. We’re off to Cirencester club site via a bit of a mystery sightseeing tour. We’ve had a great time based here though and it’s been a great place to unwind yet enjoy some bday celebrations in civilisation too.
Thanks Keefy for spoiling me rotten, I’ve had a brilliant weekend ❤️
Until next time