The last month we’re away, it always screams by. I can’t believe we’ve been away 81 days. It’s another drizzly day in Cirencester, humid too. Odd weather, steamy one moment, cold the next. It makes for spectacularly frizzy hair and trust me, despite fashion changing constantly, frizz will never be in.
The morning slips through our grasp with Chris organising logistics required to end our journey but after lunch we walk to the nearby Roman amphitheatre. On the edge of Roman Corinium (what Cirencester was called then), it was built in 2nd century AD and could hold up to 8,000 people. You really had to hand it to the Romans, they ran a sophisticated infrastructure.
The amphitheatre remained in use until the 5th century, when the Roman army withdrew from England. From there was used as a market place, a fortress, for grazing and as a bunny warren for the Abbey in the 12th century. I’m hoping they kept them as pets.
There must have been some looting tucked into the timeline too: today only the limestone mounds remain, now covered in grass. The amphitheatre was set in what was a quarry. Today instead of gladiators, there’s a small girl in pink. A gorgeous golden retriever stands in for a lion. It’s a much gentler use of the space.
In Roman times, there was a road lined with stalls going into town, but it’s long since gone. When we emerge where the road would have been, there’s a Waitrose. Isn’t that extraordinary, a supermarket, next to a Roman amphitheatre.
We run a few errands, explore a little,
walk one of the town’s oldest streets where the beautiful stone houses date from the mid 1600s,
then meander home through Cirenchester Park.
At the edge of the estate grows a magnificent yew hedge which generates a tonne of clippings each year. The clippings are sold to pharmaceutical companies for use in the production of a series of cancer drugs. Yew bushes are the only source of one of the key ingredients.
We take a different route through the park, one less travelled, in the hope of seeing wildlife,
but it’s not until we are back home that we see a little squirrel bounce by. He’s too fast to be coaxed over, but I do make friends with the local crows who are happy to give it up for treats.
I while what’s left of the afternoon away reading Michael Palin’s “Full Circle”, his travels around the Pacific Rim. He writes it in diary form, Day One, Day Two etc, which is amusingly familiar. It’s a good read: his cheeky, irreverent humour shines through.
It’s been an odd sort of day. It’s easy to get addicted to “doing things” when we’re away. Today feels a bit like an opportunity lost. I did run into a few more hares on the Hare Trail though.
The more I see of them, the more I love this fund raising initiative.