We're driving along that really eerie dead-straight road which links Devizes and Avebury in Wiltshire. The fact that it's straight implies it's Roman, which lends it a somewhat mystical aura. I'm also aware that this particular road is renowned for UFO sightings. Nathan says that this knowledge freaked him out as a child. His family often drove around these parts. The excitement is mounting because a storm is brewing. The dark sky periodically fills with lightning. Any moment now I'm going to hear the five-note theme from Close Encounters booming out across the plains! I have my phone ready to film!
We were in Devizes for one of Nathan's family's weddings. Nathan has an enormous family. He reckons he's got about "40-odd" first cousins. The fact that he can't count them all tells you about as much as you need to know. I have four cousins. And one aunt!
So a big family means lots of weddings, funerals and family parties. On one occasion they had a "just 'cause" party because they were sick and tired of only getting to see each other when everyone was either grieving or highly stressed and in Bride-zilla mode!
I'm afraid, after fourteen years, I still get a lot of them muddled up. I'm awful with faces, and even worse with names, and there's a fairly strong family gene which makes them all look rather similar! Many of them have a West Country burr as well, so it's not like I can pinpoint certain people because they're talking in accents that I'm more familiar with!
What unites them all, however, is their loveliness. They are incredibly kind to me and always make me feel welcome and at ease. I think they're continually amused by the fact that I can always find a cup of tea to drink, whatever the occasion. I genuinely don't like alcohol (but for the occasional glass of whiskey) so a nice cup of tea is as refreshing for me as any cold beer. That's probably the most Englishy thing I've ever written down!
On our way to the party we stopped off at Avebury. Of course we did. I wouldn't be able to comprehend going to Wiltshire without making a little pagan pilgrimage to that magical place. There was a house for sale within the stone circle. I imagined how astonishing that must be. Your garden would be within that hallowed turf. A garden where ancient Druids once worshipped! I don't think it gets much better than that. I wonder how much it costs to retire to a stone circle.
We ate a plate of food in the pub and took ourselves for a little stroll amongst the stones. The sky was bruised and threatening, which added considerably to the drama of the walk.
Here's a little thing though... twice now, in as many days, I have stumbled upon a little bag of dog shit discarded by the road side. Yesterday's offering was underneath the cash machine by the post office on The Archway Road. Today's was next to a stile within the stone circle. I am very grateful to dog owners for dutifully clearing up after their pets, but if they're going to absentmindedly leave the little bags of crap all over the sodding place, then all they're actually doing is stopping poo from decomposing naturally, and turning white like it used to on the streets in the 1970s! The bag outside the post office had been kicked into the middle of the pavement by the time we'd returned from the local shop. That bag will no doubt have subsequently been trodden on by a small child wearing Jesus creeper sandals and white socks whose day will have been ruined. Ruined I tell you. So, if you're a dog owner, don't forget to clear up after clearing up after your pets!
You can put a turd in a Harrods bag, but it's still a bag of shite!