Friday, 28 September 2012

Weekend in Marlborough

Our last weekend with the gang before our departure. We chose Marlborough in Wiltshire as i.t's close to some good walking, is easy to get to for us all (arriving from different directions) and Marlborough is a very old and charming market town on the old main road to London (before the M4 was built).

We stayed in The Lamb Inn that served Wadsworth 6X, Jackie's favourite beer, straight from the wood, but they didn't serve food in the evenings, a point overlooked when we booked! Jackie and I arrived first, Ian and Helen next, followed by Iain and Bev. We got a great table in the corner of the room, copious amounts of 6X were purchased and drunk and we just didn't feel like going anywhere else for food, so we spoke to Vyv, the landlord to ask if we could have a takeaway delivered. They allow people to do this on Sunday's, but not usually on Friday's. I think Vyv could see he was going to get a lot of beer money behind the bar, so he said yes! Mr. Din's Asian takeaway was duly delivered and we had a great evening. Phil (my old climbing partner) and Sue turned up from Poole just as we were sitting down to our curries, but they had already eaten, so it wasn't a problem, they just joined in with the drinking!

On Saturday Phil had organised a walk from nearby Avebury to Manton, about 6 miles, through historic England. At Avebury Fiona and John joined us. Avebury is a village built in a stone circle, similar to Stonehenge with many of the original stones still standing. It also has a great pub with thatched roof and a great place to meet Fiona and John, so we had cakes and tea and sat outside in the sun. As it was the Autumnal Equinox weekend, the area was crowded with people dressed in strange costumes, paying their pagan respects to their gods, making it quite an event.

Bev, Iain, Jackie and Phil outside the Red Lion in Avebury
John, Jackie, Fiona, Iain, Bev, Sue (hiding behind Phil), Phil, Ian and Helen

The Stone Circles at Avebury
Nearby Silbury Hill, Europe's largest man made prehistoric mound. Built around 2400 to 2300BC

Our walk continued through rural (and wealthy) Wiltshire, past further smaller stone circles, horse racing 'gallops' and onto the 'Outside Chance'  pub at Manton for some lunch in the sun.
Lunch at the Outside Chance

Phil, Sue, Iain, Bev and Fiona returned back to Marlborough after lunch, leaving the rest of us to do another walk, this time led by me. We went over Knapp Hill with superb views over the surrounding countryside and then on towards the medieval village of Shaw. Unfortunately my navigating wasn't quite as good as Phil's and we went on a slight detour through some woods. We ended up pretty close to Shaw, but the overgrown path put us off so we returned to the car and headed back to the Lamb Inn.

Brian, Jackie, John, Helen and Ian on top of Knapp Hill

Early evening G&T's hosted in our room were followed by an Italian meal in nearby Pino's and then onto the Green Dragon, sister pub to our Lamb Inn, which had live music. Quite loud in the main area, we found a side room where we could play pool, dance and eat Helen's takeout cheese and biscuits from Pino's! The music was a guitarist and singer, occasionally joined by other guitarists, with electronic drums and bass guitar, sounding like a full band. The emphasis was rock and his rendition of 'Smoke on the Water', Guns n Roses 'Wishing Well' and Hendrix's 'Purple Haze' were superb and we just had to go in a watch him. A great guitarist with superb singing, we really enjoyed it and we all felt 18 years old all over again! After closing time at 1:00am we found another pub still open and had another beer, before turning in something after 2:00am.

Sunday was raining, as predicted by the weather man, so we spent a lazy morning in the bar of the Lamb Inn reading the Sunday papers and putting the world to rights, before heading back home. Ian and Helen were going off to see Rudi, the 2 year old Labrador cross they are hoping to adopt in a couple of weeks. From the photo's we've seen he looks a great dog and they both looked really excited as they left. I hope we meet him before we go!

A great weekend and really nice to see everyone again - we're going to miss you guys!

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