9 DAIES' WONDER - SECOND DAY 17 TH JULY 2006
Distance on Map: 13.5 miles. Pedometer Reading 14.6 miles
Start of Jig 9.30am. Finish 4.56pm.
Out of bed at 6.30, far too early, but after a few good days rest we feel recuperated and ready for anything.
We retrace our steps to the Church at Chipping Sodbury and after a couple of quick pictures we are off.
Our departure is marked by the good burgers of this market town with some incredulous stares. People call their friends to see us and drivers sound their horns. As we leave town, a woman tells us of her disaster of a morning before wishing us well. The day is set to be the hottest of the year so far, and as we cross Sodbury Common the sun beats down on our backs. It does not stop all day. Apparently the temperature reached 32 degrees today.
Or way takes us over Sodbury Common, Through Horton, cross country to Petty France, and along the main Road through Didmarton, Westonbirt and into Tetbury. We finish Day two a mile beyond Tetbury.
- A Herd of Cows on Sodbury Common who all come across to see what the noise is. As I bow, they fall into line behind and follow us as far as the next grid.
- The Children of Horton Primary School. I tell them of our purpose and dance a jig with them. They are fascinated - especially with our appeal for urine.
- Two beautiful horses, a stallion named OJ and a mare called September, a short conversation reveals them to be joust horses and we talk of the English Heritage Knights Tournament (Next date Scarborough 29 th - 30 th July)
- All the traffic on the main roads. I make a point of bowing to all oncoming vehicles and am met with friendly waves from most. One, huge tattooed lorry drives hoots and cheers loudly. A van driver gives the Agincourt salute.
- John and Charlie, estate workers for the Duke of Beaufort. They are erecting bollards to keep the public away from the gate house to his estate. He is a good and kind employer, they tell us and at Christmas all the workers are invited in for drinks.
- Many many people ask us do we know how hot it is. Yes thank you, we had noticed.
- Police Constables Evans and Crocombe of the Royal Protection Squad. They seem a bit confused when I get in first and ask them their names then start to write them down. I ask them what they are doing and it appears we are outside the Prince of Wales' residence at Highgrove. Eventually order is restored as they take down our particulars and ask us what we are doing. For some reason they seem amused. They did not ask to search us even when I asked
'If I throw Nicholas at you would he count as an offensive weapon?'
Neither will tell us their first name so we resolve to call them both Bill. Constable Crocombe has had to move here from his native Cornwall because he 'has to move to where they need policing' I ask him if we should organise a crime wave in Truro so that he can work closer to home. We escape arrest.
- The Prince seems unaware of our presence and we jig past his estate. I think his trees appreciated Master Nicholas' music.
- Paul and Anita, on a cycling Tour from Mol in Belgium. They are very amused by our jig and wish us: 'goede reis' which apparently means a good trip. Afterwards realise that we should have asked them the Flemish for ' 'You are completely mad'
- As we jig through Tetbury, pausing only to have photographs taken at the Church of St Mary The Virgin and the 17 th Century Old Market Hall, We excite a lot of comment from the people in the cafés. I ask one lady for directions then find myself upon my knee asking for her hand in marriage. She laughs and declines.
We are quite tired, but have proved ourselves yet again. I find that I seem to have developed an allergy to my own sweat, but this is maybe more detail than anyone would care to know.
Tomorrow we head for the ancient settlement of Cirencester.