May 31

    We put a few miles behind us, heading east and then north on divided highways. We stopped at a campground at Burnham-on-Sea, an awful place masquerading as a large resort. You had to go through a crummy loud, flashing casino to get to everything: restaurant, pools, playground, tennis courts. . . .  And the only place the WiFi would work was in the restaurant. We did enjoy walking up the esplanade to the little town.

    WiFi is important to us. It lets us stay in contact with our children and keeps us up on the news (even news we’d rather not hear about: “The Twins lost again?!). And of course we cannot post to the blog without a strong signal. At the Lands End campground, our best connection--a direct line of sight to the antenna--required us to put the computer on the bathroom sink and sit on the toilet! And when someone parked their motorhome in the signal’s path, we went to the trouble of moving Rover six feet to the left to regain the connection. The next place had at least half a dozen WiFi antennas scattered around the campground. And then we got to Bath, where there was none.  

    We did, however, love Bath. It is a beautiful city, all light-colored Bath stone, except for the modern bus station they are ashamed of. This is Jane Austen country, and we toured her center, a great fashion museum, a lovely Georgian home, and an old theatre turned Masonic temple (with a guide who took his work very seriously).


We were able to ride our bikes a mile into the city along the River Avon from the campground. On Saturday night we went to the campground’s bar and restaurant while the Manchester United/Barcelona “football” game was on TV. There was Super Bowl intensity in the bar. It took 50 minutes for our dinner to be served, but we were well entertained in the meantime.

    After leaving Bath, we traveled to Oxford, stopping along the way at Lacock, a medieval town that has gone to great lengths to preserve its look. There are no telephone or light poles in the streets: all the wires are hidden behind the houses. It is regularly used in films, including some of the Harry Potter movies.


Unfortunately for us, we picked the one day that there was some scarecrow family fun hunt going on: we visited the Abbey-turned-private-home without any trouble, but the town itself was just overrun with families. So we drove on to Oxford, where we had reserved a spot for three nights over the May Bank Holiday weekend.

    The campground was full but quiet, and it rained the entire Bank Holiday. We walked into the city and took the tour bus--one of those hop-on-hop-off trips, which we used several times during the day. Finally on our third leg, when we found water dripping on us inside the bus and the windows so foggy we couldn’t tell where we were, we decided to sit upstairs in the rain since we were already wet. At least we could see.

    We had hoped to take a bus tour of the Cotswolds, but because of the Bank Holiday even the tour companies were closed down! So on Tuesday we rented a car and drove to several little towns on our own. Villages in the Cotswolds can be über-charming, with roses climbing everywhere, but in terms of urban planning “medieval” and “treacherous” are synonyms, so we were really glad we were not driving Rover.

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The highways weren’t bad, but the final couple hundred feet in the villages themselves would have been too much and parking would have been impossible. The little village of Filkins had one functioning business that we could tell, but that one was a wonderful woolen mill with museum and store, selling beautiful wools by the metre and many other outrageously expensive items.         All in all, an eventful day: David got to drive a right-hand vehicle with a left-hand floor shift, and Susan got to see how close he could come to the left shoulder and curb. We decided we actually prefer driving Rover. Eventful, fun, sunny, and super quaint, yes . . . but not relaxing.