I’ve discovered comething called cracklins’.

We arrived safely in Swindon around noon, where Belinda picked us up and transported us to Ivy House, Belinda and Nick’s home in the West Country village of Longcot, population, maybe 15.

After years of describing him to my wife and daughter, they finally meet my friend of over 40 years and his lovely wife, who is barely 40 (so she says). 

Ivy House, the Boyd’s digs

At 1PM, Belinda’s father, Lord Raglan, Geoffrey Somerset, 6th Baron of Monmouthshire,, joined us for lunch along with his daughter, Lucy and son-in-law, Richard. Splendid people all. 

Lunch was a roasted piece of pig, along with veggies and so on, but it was the skin that was roasted until it was a crust and then ceremonially cut up at the table by Richard. While he did it, the Brits hummed and chanted some sort of thing (piggy, piggy, piggy, crisp up now, something like that) and soon it was served. No bad all-in-all.


From the left end of the table, Geoffrey, Belinda, Richard, Martha, Nick, Lucy, Lucia.

Drinks in the garden, I know you can figure out who is whom. 


Great conversation, followed by a three minute walk to the local pub in town with a mouth watering view of the local fare. But it wasn’t very fair at all, they didn’t serve food on Sunday’s. we managed with crisps and longing. We were joined by Simon and Andie, neighbors from a few houses away. 

Lucia with her new best buddy, Lord What’s His Name.

Monday

I wouldn’t say we got up exceptionally early. The fact is, the girls were dead to the world, and I looked mortally injured. But rally we did and thanks to a lift from Belinda into Faringdon, we grabbed a bus into Oxford. 

I really don’t know the big deal. We didn’t see one ox and no streams to ford. But we did see a lot of brilliant students and Japanese tourists walking around (how brilliant the Japanese were I have no idea).

My favorite, the Golden Arches, next to the Golden Crown.

Back to Ivy House and out for dinner in a lovely village called Fairford about 20 minutes away. The pub food here is beyond reproach, this happened to be tipping toward Italian in a very nice way.


Home to watch The Kingsman, which believe it or not, Nick had never seen. Blimey.

Tuesday 

Up at a respectable time, rummage around and get ready to go. 

We’ve been invited to Simon & Andie’s house, two doors down for coffee. Now Simon is a bit of a genius (I know a title bandied about quite a bit) but for him deservedly so. But that is the aside, he and his lovely wife Andie collect anything form 1963 to 1967.

Simon (and not Garfunkel)

Records. Movie memorabilia. Autographs. Magazines (complete edition of Playboy for 1967) Books. Name it and they got it. Their 18th century house is a museum of and around the Summer of Love. If it isn’t true to the period they ain’t got it.


After coffee in the morning with Andie, we walked a few blocks to the local pub for lunch when the server came over handed the phone to me and said she was to give it to the Americans. I looked around and true, we were the only Americans there. Truth be told, we were the only ones there so her odds were high. I answered and it was Andie asking for Lucia. Amongst the things she collects is vintage clothing, of which, she had a lodemine for Lucia, who is right now, a very happy girl.

After a wonderful stay in the West Country, we drove with Belinda and Nick into London, them to attend a friend’s 60th birthday and for me to prepare to leave tomorrow for Glasgow.

Sumptuous Italian dinner and to bed. And tomorrow to Glasgow. 

Wishing me luck will be accepted.

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