One day you're getting in touch with Spain the next you're on the eternal quest for cheese.
You may have seen on the news the mad English (among others) who fling themselves down a ridiculously steep hill in an attempt to be the first to grab a round of traditional double Gloucester cheese! Well, who was I to ignore such a noble event in the English social calendar so it was up at a ridiculous hour of the day to catch a multitude of public transport in the pouring rain and heavy winds for a drive to Gloucestershire with a bunch of mad Coots. About a dozen of us were going to go, but the weather scared off a few so a dedicated 7 of us decided to make a day of it no matter what.
What ensued was hours of driving in the pouring rain, high wind warnings and much time spent not really going anywhere. The last 3 mile to the cheese rolling were a mix of stop start traffic and a cars parked anywhere possible ... no room for us! We went all that way and were within a couple of miles of victory, but were
foiled at the final roll and our official cheese rolling experience was traffic and the radio. Heartbroken, but undefeated, we took the best course of action possible - find the first pub and drown our sorrows. We drove until we saw a sign like a beacon ... 'The Butchers Arms' ... and turned down a side road which became a narrow one car lane with hedges on all sides. Down the hill, round the corner, up the hill, down again, around another couple of hundred corners and just as faith was fading we entered the little village of Sheepscombe and found our salvation.
Sheepscombe is a pretty little village in a narrow valley in the hidden depths of the Cotswalds. Originally a deer park, it became a village to feed a textile mill, but fell into decline before becoming a vibrant little village in this age of country hideaways and commuting! Once a site of numerous ale house it has now been reduced to 'The Butchers Arms', whihc provided us with shelter from the wind and rain.
A relaxed hour or two of lunching led to the decision to substitute our humble wedge of dutch edam cheese for
the cheese rolling which had been missed and so after lunch it was off up the hill to find a suitable place to conduct the inaugural Coot Cheese Rolling/Throwing 2008.
The scenery down the valley and across the village was stunning and it was a lovely walk complete with spring flowers and even a couple of bunny rabbits, which quickly bounded away from the loud crys of 'Bunnies'. To bring the experience down a notch, we found a couple of hills and re-enacted (not quite with the muddy commitment of the actual event) our own version of the Gloucestershire classic to much laughter and the odd misstep!
Our cheesy enjoyment sated we wandered the extremities of the village taking in the local cenotaph, cemetary and the church which helped bring to an end the heathen ways of Sheepscombe through the introduction of churchly morality and education for youths! No day would be complete without a cuppa back at the pub, outside because the day had cleared enough before the hike back to London town with plans for an overnight trip in 2009 for the real thing.
So that you can truely appreciate why I made the trek,
click on this link and watch the action for yourself and tell me it's not worth the trek ... [url=//www.youtube.com/watch?v=OpzEF0D2xfE
Love Jane xx
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