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Day 5 - Birdlip to Painswick

6.75 miles/ 10.9 km Ups and Downs

semi-overcast 12 °C
View Cotswold Way, England on Laura Walking's travel map.

As mentioned yesterday, after a long wait in their lounge… last night I stayed in a lovely place in Birdlip called the Royal George Hotel. Basically the only hotel in town. I had arrived by car, with the luggage. Mine and other people’s! I mentioned making a dinner reservation in the dining room and went down at the appropriate time. I chose from quite a large and varied dinner menu. I decided to have turkey, with stuffing, potatoes and veggies, and Yorkshire Pudding. It was absolutely delicious! Wonderful servers and staff too. What a treat!

Got back to my room (it was nice not to have to go outside in the rain to go and have dinner), and watched a movie on TV - although was too sleepy to watch it to the end. I was anxious to see the weather for tomorrow, which was on even later. I think I’ll walk anyway. It’s only about 7 miles or so, and I’ll wear my rain pants.

Slept pretty well last night… tossed and turned a bit. Got up and looked out the window twice… could see the rain glistening on the pavement. I studied the puddles. The first time it was definitely raining; the second time they were still. A peaceful night.
Usual morning routine: pack up the big backpack so it’s ready for 9 am. Took it down to the lobby where it (and I!) were dropped off yesterday. Breakfast was in the same dining room as dinner last night. I was sitting by a window and although it was overcast and drizzling, there was movement in the clouds and the occasional glimpse of blue up there! It looked like it might clear. One can hope!

I left just after 10 am with all my rain gear on - ready to face whatever was thrown at me! It’s amazing how a decent night’s sleep and a good meal can restore one’s courage and gumption… or something! Of course if I have all my rain gear on, that means it won’t rain. It’s one of those laws! (But I had to consider the alternative!)
Fortunately perhaps, there was a garbage truck, and therefore garbage men, on the road where the path was about to dip down into the woods. I must have looked as though I was looking for something… the start of the path perhaps… and one of the fellows came over and started to chat! He pointed out the path and gave me some tips about the journey today, and then chatted about Canada! Been to the Rockies, Calgary, etc. A very friendly bunch over here!

They left in a few minutes, so I got on my way. The path immediately went down into some woods. The ground was covered with multi-coloured leaves and was pretty wet as well, so it was important to watch where you stepped to make sure you didn’t slip - wet leaves are slippery - and often the leaves were just a light covering for deep trenches of mud. But I managed. It was a beautiful walk… the sun shone through the trees here and there, and every once in a while to my right, the trees would part and there would be an absolutely amazing view across many miles of fields and farms. Distant towns were visible too. The path was very well signed here, so it was not necessary to constantly refer to the guidebook.

After about an hour and a half, the path went up and up and up. We were approaching Cooper’s Hill. It was quite an open area, with great views. Of course it was at that moment that the sky grew dark and the rain started. I struggled to find the next sign post, and could see a couple huddled under a tree on the right a little way ahead, beside one. I went back to the previous post, to look more closely at the specific direction it was pointing, and saw it was pointing directly to the right… not ahead to the right. Sometimes there are many options in the woods, or on the top of a hill. Other walkers sometimes just carve their own paths. I investigated the path in the direction I thought it might be, and sure enough, obscured by foliage, was a signpost. I was on the right path. This path led down again into a vast wooded area up and down several times, but continued to be well marked. The rain continued, but the woods were a bit of shelter from it.

Finally we emerged from the woods after what seemed like a couple of hours - maybe it was! - and I found myself on a golf course once again! Like the other day on Cleeve Hill. This, however, was the Painswick Golf Course and was a welcome sight, an indication that I must be getting close to my destination: the town of Painswick. The rain had stopped and the sun was peeking out from clouds that soon parted. Blue sky again. This golf course was vacant except for a few dog walkers and birds. As I wound my way down through the paths and lanes, I started reaching streets with houses and recognized some of the street names and landmarks from the guidebook. I talked to a fellow in a parking lot and he encouraged me on my journey, I mean the whole journey, particularly at this time of year and in this unpredictable weather England’s been experiencing.

As I entered the town proper, it was still a bit too early to check into my B&B, so I looked for a cafe, or someplace to sit down with a hot drink, and also for a bathroom. I wound my way down and through a couple of streets toward an area that looked to be busier - with shops and things. I saw a sign for the Painswick Artisan Gallery and Café and headed there. As I was walking down that very street however, I fell. Right down on the ground. I don’t know how it happened. All of a sudden I was aware of the ground coming up to meet me and put out my right hand to break my fall. It helped, but there I was on my stomach in a heap on the road. I was quite stunned. I landed squarely on my camera which was still attached to my chest, and my left knee. Had I not put out my hand, I’m sure I would have hit my chin and face on the ground.
Fortunately it was a one way street, and not a busy one. No one was around, nor I guess did anyone see it happen. After a few seconds, I picked myself up and adjusted my jacket and so on. My right palm had dirt and stones in it, that could almost all be brushed away. My knee (now the left one), was sore, and, I suspected, scraped and bleeding. I was still a bit stunned as I tried to figure out what had happened. As far as I recall, I was paying attention to where I was going… I hadn’t fainted or anything… perhaps the pavement was uneven and I had stepped off the curb oddly or something… I really don’t know. Odd to have fallen in a town and not while out on the trail somewhere on muddy or slippery ground.

I got to the cafe and sat and had some lemonade and a snack. There was a washroom there too. Two people, it looked like a mother and son, also walkers, were playing cards at another table. They were speaking another language, perhaps German?
As soon as it was time, (after 3 pm), I ventured out again to look for the B&B I was staying at.
I was greeted warmly. When I mentioned my recent fall, they were concerned and offered me some ice for the knee - I could feel a lump forming.
Looking at it later, there was a small scrape that had broken the skin (through my leggings and rain pants, thank goodness I had those layers on!), but was really not too bad, although swelling a bit, and quite tender. (In subsequent days I have noticed a silver dollar-sized bruise on my chest where I landed hard, on the camera. The frame of the camera was slightly chipped from hitting the concrete, but not the glass lenses, fortunately.)

Anyway, I have a lovely warm and cozy room here at the B&B with lovely people. There are four other people staying here, including the mother and son I saw at the cafe. But I didn’t find that out until breakfast the next (tomorrow) morning!
And… as you may have already read in my entries somewhere, this B&B has wonderfully strong WiFi, so I stayed up late and caught up on previous entries, but this one I’m writing from Dursley (actually North Nibley).

Posted by Laura Walking 22:42 Archived in England

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