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Day 2: Walking through heaven

Leaving Shakespeare and his tall tales behind, we decided to visit Bourton-on-the-water, a town that’s called ‘Venice of the Cotswolds’ because of its numerous bridges. We were joined by two friends – keen bird watchers and animal lovers who made the trip a more enjoyable one.

Bourton-on-the-water is one of those English towns that has been taken over by tourists, yet doesn’t feel congested. On this bright, sunny spring morning, the streets overflowed with people determined to make the most of the sunshine. The English were down to their shorts and T-shirts soaking in the sunshine. It was still cold, though that never seems to be a deterrent.

Our first trip was to Birdland where Penguins and flamingoes competed with other ordinary, familiar birds for visitors attention. Places like these are such a delight for kids and adults to visit. Most of them are well maintained and a lot of effort goes into keeping the place user friendly and interesting. That morning, there was a ‘Meet Birds of Prey’ demonstration from the local falconry and visitors were allowed to let some bored owls perch on their arm. Exciting for the visitors, but I’m sure the owl had fallen asleep behind his wide awake round eyes.

After a picnic lunch on the grass by the stream, we took off on a walk called the ‘Oxfordshire Way’. England has numerous ‘walks’ where the public can trample through fields and meadows on clearly labelled ‘public footpaths’. We walked through flower filled fields, spotting a bird or two, meeting other walkers on the endless paths. It was a gorgeous day to be out. If heaven is like this, I’d look forward to visiting it! Some of the fields reminded me of the Hindi movie songs set in Switzerland or someplace similar – where the hero and heroine will prance about in meadows, running down, hair and dupatta streaming behind them with the orchestra building up frenzy to sometime inane, sometime funny lyrics. The walk ended by a little manmade lake where we spotted some birds that made our day, especially for the avid bird lovers!

On a lark, we decided to drive down to Chipping Norton nearby and have dinner there. Having got there, we discovered a notice for a VE day memorial celebration (which had already finished). The day was to end with a dance at the Town Hall. Since we believe that life is no fun without taking risks, we walked in and bought tickets for the dance! And what fun it was! 1940’s and 50’s music, waltzes and the jive. Everybody else was in suits and dresses and the four of us in scruffy jeans and sneakers! Inspite of our outfits, we were warmly welcomed as we danced around the floor, enjoying ourselves thoroughly. That was a nice way to finish off a lovely day.


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