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Published: August 18th 2020
Where in the world is Gabby the motorhome? Parked up on a tiny strip of parking alongside the park in Ross on Wye. It is just wide enough to get her in with her tyres an inch or so into the road. We should be OK . It is quiet . It is Saturday morning and Ross on Wye is as quiet as a churchyard . Across the road is a park and in it are a handful of walkers and rows upon rows of kayaks. Chained up. We cannot stop here the night . It is just not suitable for our girl Gabby . There are no other car parks so this is a quick walk through to see what Ross has to offer.
We woke early . Our body clocks seem intent on waking early wherever we are . This morning though we wanted to wake early . We looked out of the blinds and the rain was mizzling down. Our neighbours were all still asleep . Not one blind nor curtain twitched . We wanted to get our breakfast over and sneak out before a zealous traffic warden turned up to book us for parking in an
area that we should not have parked in. Would they come round on a Saturday ? The other motorhomers here did not seem to care . Breakfast eaten and coffee gulped down we got on our way to Ross on Wye .
I had been before . Go back over 46 years ago . My memories are vague to the point of not remembering anything about the town . I thought it was pretty when I last ventured here but I remembered little else . We must have stayed on a campsite . It was our first real holiday down south in a tent . We must have walked or driven into town . We probably drank and ate in a pub but without photographs to remind me I might as well not have ever been here .
We walked uphill from the river . It looked a nice place . A breath of fresh air after Exeter and last night . It was big enough to have a bit to talk about but small enough to be walkable . What time is it ? Half past six . No it cannot be . Yes it is -
a few minutes had passed . It is half past six. Realisation - battery stopped on watch . I needed a jeweller . I never found one . Are you like me ? Lost without a timepiece on your arm . Yes I know quite well that most people carry phones with the time continually displayed on them . I dont use my phone as a watch . How can you all the time ?or I felt lost without my friend the watch . It was half past six all day .
So without the correct time what was our first impression of Ross? Just as last time all those years ago I liked it . It was well set out with markings on the ground showing which way to walk safely . Walk on the left up the hill and then down the other side cross over and walk on the opposite pavement to come back . Sensible I thought . The shops were not open yet but the market was setting up in the market hall which was very reminiscent of the ones we see in Lion Le Foret . Open to the elements but filled with
stalls.Regular Thursday and Saturday markets are held at the red sandstone Market House building.Built between 1650 and 1654 replacing the older, probably wooden Booth Hall. The upper storey of the Market House now houses a local Arts and Crafts centre. This was closed due to Covid 19.
Ross had a nice feel to it . No-one barged or pushed their way past . Everyone acted sensibily . No standing on corners making it hard to pass . It is a market town with a population not much more than our village . It had a farming feel about it . Nothing you could not like .Ross-on-Wye promotes itself as "the birthplace of British tourism as in 1745, the rector, Dr John Egerton, started taking friends on boat trips down the valley from his rectory at Ross.
The church was up a tiny side street . I earmarked it for a visit on the way back up the hill . It might or might not be open . There were also sculptures all round the town making it even more interesting . We stopped for coffee in a tiny coffee shop. Track and Trace - we come across it
again . Please sign in my book and pop your contact details in the nice lady said . We willingly obliged and she asked what we would like . Coffee . How would you like it ? So many choices . We laughed together as she reeled off coffee with milk on the side , espresso, skinny latte , latte . The list went on and reminded me that the last time I ordered coffee in Ross I got instant coffee with milk chucked in . How times had changed . She told us that she had closed for a while making use of the Covid time to redecorate the Grade I listed buildings . New ceiling, curtains , paint. It looked lovely . We ordered a bacon sandwich and toast dripping in butter . She told us that she would not let anyone in without a mask if they were take away . How people got angry with her and she turned them away if they would not comply . She explained about how people refused to give their names and contact for Track and Trace . She did not care - no name , no contact - no
coffee or sandwich . I did not blame her. Over our breakfast she talked about living on the border and how difficult as a farmer it had been to carry out their business within two different sets of rules . We sympathised . We liked her very much . Her attitude was refreshing .
We forgot the church . Headed down to the park that straddled the river . I thought how many nice walks there were . Fed up of walking round our village it was a pleasure to walk by water , to see the ducks and people . Until we got to hundreds of them . There probably were not that many but the Wye adventure company had brought in the rowers. They were milling out of vans . Congregating with no social distancing . None in masks . It all seemed so against the rules . Funny how one part of Ross adhered strictly to the rules and the other didnt bother .
And it was still half past six .
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