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A wet week in Two Pillars cottage

Thank you for a lovely stay at dear Two Pillars. It was quite a wrench tearing myself away on Friday morning, despite the fact it was the worst day for rain. Apart from that, I think I was lucky because it never seemed to rain for long. The cottage is ideally situated with nearby shop and pub and easy access to footpaths. I enjoyed the walking and the views were breathtaking. The dogs had so much exercise (so did I) and we all slept well at night.

I ended up eating out most days - spoilt for choice really. Thursday evening was to be a trip to the inn at Sapperton but I was too tired so I had a second visit to the Lamb which I thought was the pick of the bunch, clean, friendly service, magnificent views and excellent food.

Better weather

This year I was determined to explore the local walks more, and often left the car at 'Two Pillars', setting out with the dogs and my trusty walking stick. We were often out till quite late and the weather was kinder than last year.

My favourite walk took me down the hill and across Bismore Bridge and then towards Bisley, returning via Nash End. I soon realized that if I'd done it the other way round, I would have been faced with a very steep ascent into Eastcombe so I'd chosen correctly. I can't believe I once took on challenging mountain climbs in Scotland and the Lake District! This particular walk takes you through delightful woodland with the brook never far away and tempting the dogs to take cooling breaks. Max, the terrier/lurcher cross has always been fearless but Salem, the Scottish terrier, is usually a bit timid so I was pleasantly surprised to see her splashing about in the water.

As a contrast, there are the lovely wild flower meadows where I sat in the sun and munched my apple while the dogs attempted to make friends with the horses but, for some reason, not the cows which they both shunned in disgust. On the walk, I often stopped to chat to other dog walkers and learned quite a bit about the locality and the lovely houses and cottages which often appeared from nowhere out of the trees, hidden mysteriously in inaccessible valleys or teetering precariously on steep banks. I so enjoyed this walk that I did it again just before my holiday ended.

I also walked an entertaining full circle around Slad to investigate all the places associated with Laurie Lee's Cider With Rosie, one of my favourite books. Up on the hillside overlooking the village, an elderly man downed his gardening tools to come and chat with me for a while in the afternoon sun. Everybody in Gloucestershire seems so friendly. Another day, I returned to Slad and had a leisurely stroll round Frith Wood and its neighbouring meadows. This time I stopped for a chat with a lovely lady with a beautiful red setter who lived in Slad and turned out to be a neighbour of Laurie Lee's widow.

I'm sure that I shall want to keep coming back to 'Two Pillars' and Gloucestershire has to be one of my favourite counties. Perhaps, next year, I'll try to come in the Autumn as I'm sure the wooded valleys must look incredibly beautiful in September and October.

Ken Lewis, South Yorkshire

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