Sunday, 14 August 2016

Day 2 - Trying to love cows...

Day 2 started a bit overcast and pretty much stayed that way all day, which actually was quite nice for walking...especially as the week is going to get hotter!

The first section today was through some gorgeous fields and rolling countryside. I did quite a bit of filming early on for the 'countryside' chapter of the film...though I kept getting interrupted by dog walkers!

The first half of the day also involve field after field of cows. Now I like cows. I actually think they are rather beautiful. However, how does one deal with a cow? Or rather how does one deal with walking across a field of cows who all start looking at you and then start moving towards you...then start jogging towards you??

Thankfully I made it to a stile in time just as they were within reach. Once on the other side of said stile I looked back all I can say is that I was reminded of the scene in Zulu when the Zulus all amass on the cliffs above Rouke's Drift....

I was then faced with another 3 fields of cows, followed by sheep. Weirdly these cows, though all lay either across my path or gathered around the stile were as bothered about me as a vegetarian looking in a butchers...they didn't bat an eyelid at me! I was quite put out! The sheep however were disturbed despite being miles away from me...two things...sheep and cows do have lovely faces I have decided.

Oh and I also came across a field of pea-hens, that's baby peacocks!

My first bit of woodland walking today through Wichford Woods, which were a nice change of scenery...and my first steep inclines as I left the Midland Plain. The rises afforded fabulous views back to towards the way I had come. Only 5% of England was inhabited in Shakespeare's day, with the rest either natural woodland, open fields or tilled fields.

Walking in this landscape which is still very open you do get a sense of how nature can dictate your life and anchor you in the rural landscape that surrounds you. Perhaps that is why despite the fact you might be Egypt, Italy, Cyprus, France or Northern Spain, the environments also have a ring of the English countryside about them.

I know a bank where the wild thyme grows
Where oxslips and the nodding violets grow
Quite o'ercanopied with luscious woodbine
With sweet musk roses andwith englantine.
There sleeps Titania sometime of the night... says Oberon in the woods outside of...Athens...or Long Compton...

Talking of Long Compton... a linear village where the habitation is located on along a single road (possibly one of the only things I remember from school geography)...I passed this lovely church and lychgate. The gate is from 1600 and the church is dedicated St Peter and St Paul - it's doorway dates from 14th century, whilst most of the current church dates from the 17th century.

Finally took a wee diversion to see the famous Rollright Stones above Chipping Norton.

A place of pagan pilgrimage for centuries, the stones were once soldiers who has conquered England as far as this and then were turned to stone by a witch...they await the return of their King to release them from their spell! When I last did panto in Chippy I came up here on the eve of the Winter Solstice and chatted with pagans who were holding vigil until the sunrise. Pagan rituals and stories were still part of Elizabethan life, and Will would certainly have heard the stories of the Green Man, Wat the Hare and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight...would he have known about the Rollright Stones? Who knows...but they are about 30 miles from Stratford...

I arrived in Chippy bang on time, and then spent 20 mins on my back with my feet in the air as soon as I was checked in to my B&B...apparently it's the best thing!

Today's stats: 16 miles | 5 hours 20 mins | 35,900 calories

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