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Last updated : Nov 2009
Wales, United Kingdom
Rating: (4) (3 Votes)

August 11, 2002

Pros: All very lovely
Cons: none

Thursley

Everything was lovely:lovely tea, lovely shops, lovely river, lovely chops. It was driving me out of my ever lovely mind. We decided to rid the converstion of this flacid adjective. Monday we would say it was marvey, Tuesday would be terrific, Wednesday wizard and Thursday thursley. We loved thursley. Carloline suggested thursley on Wednesday so we dumped wizard then and there and adopted thursley as the official lazy adjective.

We drove to the Black Mounntains and had lunch at a crossroads pub. It was dark and small and atmospheric, like a multilevelled rootcellar with windows. The rough hewn stone steps led down into a jumble of chairs and tables. Low thick crooked beams dispayed adverts of long defunct products. The bar was a hole in the wall where it looked like turnips were once stored. I had a bacon and stilton huffer. It was thursley.

We drove deeper into the hills on a single track road. It was so narrow Oliver and Leo poked their heads out of the windows, dodging nettles and hedge hicking the sides of the car. It was a highlight of the day for them.

Out of the winding little glens we emerged into a huge treeless, tundra like pasture dotted with little pools, sheep and ship shit. From ancient times it was used as a gathering place for drovers and their flocks come down from the hills to sort their sheep before driving them to markets. Lord Hereford's Knob rose up like a great ah, knob over the pasture. We parked the car and played cricket with another family in the pasture. Caroline drove off to the other side of the knob to wait for us while we climbed the barren peak. It took half an hour following an ancient track to get 3/4 the way up and then we traversed along a ridge to get to the other side. We passed sheep and long maned poneys and walked through meadows of heather. Ravens wheeled in the up drafts. The vista down into the misty valleys was like looking through a telephoto lense but with a 270 degree field of view. It was a windless day yet an impenetrable cloud of fog ground along the ridge as if powered by it's own engine. It enveloped us and then fell away. It was terribly thursley.

We met a man walking.
"Great views eh?" I said.
"Lovely." He returned.
"Thursley."
"Eh?"
"Just lovely." I surrendered.

We continued our drive down the single track lanes into a lost valley where lies Llanthony Abbey; a sort of poor man's Tintern Abbey. An elegant ruin, it was founded by one of William the Conqueror's knights when he tired of plundering the Saxons in Britain. He set up a meditation centre that existed until Henry VIII suppressed it 400 years later. The abbey crumbled. The sun shone and we had tea on the grass amid the towering stone walls and arches. The boys played dungeons and dragons through the empty ruins.

We are now in Jersey and having a great time despite the cloudy weather. More on London coming. I wrote a long thing trying to weave the pheasant hunting culture into an account of our thursley time in Hampshire with Jane and Mark and the boys on their farm but it seems long so I'll try to edit it for later.