Tuesday, 6 May 2008

A B&B...finally!

I leave Petra's after encountering Paddy in his jodhpurs by the aga. He gives it one last stab at persuading me to ride the massive nag before striding off with his bag of tobacco and whip. We all say big, hearty goodbyes and I'm away...

The first thing that happens to me is that I discover some witches. I'd pulled over to get some eggs and a jar of marmalade while I was at it and there they were! They live in a little Hansel & Gretel-esque cottage that is just teeming with witchy references: howling stone wolves, broomsticks, bundles of herbs and wildflowers, Navajo headdresses...ok, they could just be massive Willie Nelson fans but I have to ask. One is more conspiratorial than the other. She draws me close, her eyes twinkling "Oh, you can always tell another witch" she confides, "it's in the eyes". Her black, sparkly pupils dance at mine. Gulp. "Some people don't even know that they're a witch...". Ok, I'm going to say it - I think she thought I was one. But that's ok because they seemed cool - dungarees and patchouli cool, but fine by me. I paid for the eggs (£1 for six) and the lemon marmalade (£1 also), booked myself in for a reading when I'm heading back south after my northern exposure and revved on out of there.

A quick pit-stop to Stratford Ice Creams was slowed by a car accident on a dodgy crossroads. An old couple hovered on the bank looking really lost. Their assailant didn't appear all there but I kind of got the impression it wasn't because of the prang. Nobody was stopping (apart from to have a good old gawp) so I pulled Jimmy onto the verge and got the poor dear an ice cream while her hubby called the cops. I nearly blubbed into the freezer as she fretted and wept "I've just spent five months in bed from a hip operation...we weren't even supposed to be going out today...". Soon the rozzas were there and I cleared off.

All loaded up with ice cream (organic chocolate, white choc and mint choc crisp), I steered us onto Fosse Way. This ancient Roman road runs all the way from Lincoln to Exeter in a straight line, I, however, managed to get lost getting to Rugby so didn't pull up at Pear Tree Farm B&B - a mere 50 miles away - for some hours. I stagggered in and was immediately taken into the bosom of Tim and Bev's family. They nourished me with beans on toast and mugs of tea and I fell asleep with the tiny little high up telly raining down images of embarrassing body issues. (I'm not going to go on about it here but there's one picture which I just can't seem to get out of my head - and it's horrif).

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