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Sun 16th Sept to Sun 23rd Sept

Mum can write about this bit because it was mostly about catching up with friends:

We have been looking forward to taking the boys back to the Stroud Valleys in the Cotswolds, Gloucestershire, where they spent the first few years of their lives. Tom and Ed can remember some of the places – and they’re getting to know the names of the areas again.  (Tom is particularly good at navigation.).We are staying in a lovely cottage in Chalford, which is attached to the gorgeous Georgian home owned by our good friends, Chris, Anna and daughter, Freya.

Robert and Nathalie, George and Lucas gave us a wonderful lunch, all fresh from the garden. Well, except the chicken. Their bantams are safe (for now…)

This week has been very familiar and a little surreal. Same shops (mostly), same playgrounds, driving down the same (extremely) narrow streets in the same tiny villages. (Some of them make Briag look like a buzzing metropolis). Avon Street in Briag is as wide as four times the Chalford High Street (i.e. main street). And it’s two-way! You get used to reversing up steep, windy roads to find a gap to let someone pass. We need a narrower hire car.

Yes, this is a two-way road. But only one car wide!

We have caught up with (my) niece Renee and her two little boys, Freddy and Jack, and also ‘Aunty’ Rachel and her family in Southampton, plus Baz and Tina (great dinner!), who are Tom’s godparents. We also found Yvonne and Ian in between their (many) world travels and had lunch with them in Corscombe. They must have found the fountain of youth, as they seem to be going backwards in age!

The weather was kind to us on Saturday, and we enjoyed the most amazing, fresh-from-their-garden al fresco lunch with Robert and Nathalie and their boys George and Lucas at their (real) Tudor farmhouse.

We capped off the week with a fab lunch at JC’s restaurant in London – excellent food, terrific service and wonderful company. We managed to get all of the Harrimans together and Annie, too! I’ve made it sound like all we’ve done is eat, but the real highlight has been the wonderful friendships we’ve been able to renew.

Next week: the trip includes time travel…

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