9 DAIES' WONDER - FIFTH DAY 24 ST JULY 2006

Estimate on Map: 10.5 miles. Pedometer Reading 14.2 miles

Start of Jig 9.30 am. Finish 5.28pm.

In 1599 Kempe accepted a ride out of Chelmsford to set him back to where he had left of dancing the previous Saturday. We accepted a similar kindness this morning out of Bourton-on-the-Water back to the Fosseway where we left off last Friday

From there we skirt round Stow-on-the-Wold and head east for the Rollrights (Little and Great) before turning North again on the Banbury Road.

The day is again warm, but milder than the previous week and we have a following breeze most of the way.

On our way we meet, as always, a variety of people and have some unexpected guests.

As we pass through the hamlet of Maugersbury we spy four Llamas in a field and I annoy Nicholas for the next mile thinking up variations on the theme of Dally, Delli or Delay Llamas. I have a small mind and it is easily occupied.

In the same village we meet Brenda Parsons, teacher at the Stow on the Wold Scottish Country Dance Group. I prove to her in no uncertain terms that my jig is of the rudest fashion and she smiles sadly at me. Her friend, Edith Vaughn, is visiting her and she entertains us with her life story, including stories of 'piece and jam' thrown down from the windows of a Glasgow tenement to hungry children for their tea.

At Oddington a trio of half naked men on some scaffolding find great merriment in my antics, but refuse to wolf whistle, even though I show them my finest calf (as in lower leg rather than young cow)

Half a mile down the road we meet Pippa and Prabhu. Pippa gladly jigs with me and her husband tells us: 'Tu to paagul hái (Hindi) They say that they had taken us for journeymen and I instantly fall in love with the idea of being a journeyman fool, going from village to village and accepting work from anyone in need of an honest day's folly.

Two hundred yards down the road a red car flashes it lights and pulls in. The driver is waving enthusiastically and the rear seat passenger is filming us on a handheld video. I smile, bow and jig a little demonstration before realizing it is my mother and father together with our daughter (mine and my partner's rather than mine and Nicholas'). Their enthusiasm is very endearing. If I can reach my dotage in as charming a way as they, then I shall be a happy man. They are also very loyal and totally dedicated to the furtherance of my career even if they sometimes have a little difficulty remembering which of their three sons I am.

We spend a pleasant few minutes with them and then meet them at various points along the route before dancing a jig with them at the 'Kings Men Standing Stones' at Little Rollright. My daughter hugs me good-bye than exclaims 'Uuuuurgh!' as she feels the dampness of my jerkin.

At The Stones we also meet Eileen and Peter Robinson of Ramsbottom in Lancashire, an old Mill town known locally as Tup's Arse. Eileen is a member of the Ramsbottom British Legion Ladies Darts Team and tells us 'You're doo lally' As she arrives she is wearing a Mr Toad style leather driving helmet and they are travelling in a replica1930s Squire sports car.

We also meet Anne Bathurst, taking her mother home from Malvern. She is related to Lord Bathurst but affects not to know how many of his relatives need to pass away before she can assume the title. She tells us; 'You're a few slates short of a full roof'

Our last encounter is with a near naked Adonis holding his young son above a paddling pool. Nicholas deduces that he is ex army, I think it more likely he is ex Chippendales.