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Thursday, July 28, 2005

After several days of dreary drizzly greyness, the sun peeked out for a bit this afternoon. It was startlingly beautiful - the sun shining through intensely green woods, and the blue patches of sky between scudding white clouds ... Unfortunately we were trapped in the car and unable to be make the best use of the fleeting good weather; we'd had to drive to Bath to collect our car, which we'd had to return to the dealership for some repairs. The repairs were free, I'm glad to say (considering we only bought the car on Friday), and the dealership organised us a complimentary rental car while they had ours, but the driving to and fro was a real nuisance, as Bath is a good hour-and-a-half away from here.

Tomorrow we are going to be up and about early, as it is Sophie's 8th birthday. It is going to be a very chocolatey birthday, as we will be visiting Cadbury World and (hopefully) seeing Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which, fortuitously, opens here tomorrow.

And now, before I wrap Sophie's birthday presents, another list of things new and interesting to me.

  • "Dean" means "forest", so the Forest of Dean, where we are living, is really the Forest of Forest.

  • And "Avon" means "river", by the way.

  • The first time I drove through the Forest of Dean I was rather startled to see sheep lying on the side of the road, with their noses literally on the tarmac, millimetres away from the car tyres whizzing past them. It seems that there is a centuries-old law enabling farmers to graze their sheep freely in the forest, and they make full use of this facility. Apparently in the winter time the sheep like to lie right in the middle of the road, as the tar stays nice and warm.

  • I have parked in three parking garages thus far, and I have not found them to be happy places. The parking bays have been minute - so small that passengers need to get out before the car is parked, or else they will be trapped inside. The garage designers appear never to have heard of angled parking, so backing out of the teeny tiny straight-on parking can be a bit tricky, as they don't allow quite enough turning-around room. And the stair-wells of all three garages smelt of pee. Oh, and they were darned expensive, too.

  • It is slightly touching that, even though it is drizzly and chilly and windy and generally miserable, the clothing stores seem to have set all sensory evidence to the contrary aside, and decided that since it is summer time it must be warm, and that therefore they will stock clothing appropriate for glorious summer weather. So it is that one sees shoppers encased in woolly sweaters and gumboots fingering the skimpy, summery camisole tops and floaty peasant skirts on display in a wistful sort of way.
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