Legends from our own lunchtimes

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Where to today then?

Mostly when on the road, we adopt a fairly random method of setting our travel agenda.

Sometimes we will make decisions on where to go based on flipping a coin, a sign to an hitherto uncharted feature, perhaps we'll see a town more or less in the direction we are heading and go there, or if we are really stuck for ideas we'll simply follow a car that looks as though its occupants know where they are going.

At home in Australia, this is not a particularly taxing method of decision making, particularly when some highways may run for several hundred kilometres without a junction, but in England one can find oneself in a labyrinth of ever diminishing roadways, with a minor adventure round each bend.

To eyes unacustomed to buildings older than themselves, every shed or barn is a potential calendar photograph, every lane a new discovery.

It is strange to us, that those who live among it by and large just don't get it. Most it seems need the security of a destination which projects the prospect of a welcoming mug of Bovril and the promise of a warm tele, particularly after a long journey, which in Pommy-speak, even in the twenty-first century, can mean anything further than crossing the street.

One might think that proprietors of accomodation establishments may be an exception to this, being exposed as they are, on a daily basis to glamourous international travellers such as ourselves, but no, it seems that this exposure makes them even more wary of putting a foot outside the door lest something unspeakable should occur.

"Where to today?" inquired our landlady as we were checking out after breakfast. As the proprietor of a delightful three storey manor in Bradford On Avon chocked with antiques, books on almost every topic and a selection of home made conserves, she seemed like a woman who knew a thing or two about the world.

"We've no idea, I replied, can you suggest something?'

Thinking I'd misheard her, she asked again, her voice quivering a bit, in the same way it may have had she just discovered I was carrying smallpox.

"I think we'll turn left" I replied, which seemed like a good idea, as the street was decidedly one way, "and then we'll make up our mind when we get to the junction, although we may go vaguely in the direction of Bath."

Her face went ashen, and she was rendered entirely speechless. Her eyes fixed on us. You could see in her eyes that something was seriously amiss, but whatever it was, her lips were disobeying entirely any command to move, and we could only guess. We started to wonder if we could remember any of our CPR training.

"Actually, we might just walk around Bradford for an hour or two", I interrupted in an effort to diffuse the situation, "Is it alright if we leave the car till we return?"

"Y y y yes of course", she stammered, and bade us farewell with no more than a suspicious glance, clearly relieved that we were on our way, and hoping I suppose, that we'd visit the local witch to seek attention for our appalling affliction.

I suspect, that as soon as the door closed behind us, she forwarded our details to the local authorities, to assist them with their future enquiries.

Just in case we turn up missing.


1 comment

Joan Elizabeth said...

Where to today then? Nowhere where I can get a pic like that. Magic. I'll just have to settle for a quick walk along a track going somewhere, not sure where yet and see what flowers and views turn up today.

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