Today was definitely an adventure. Our plan was to drive our rental car around the northern part of the Cotswolds. It turns out that getting a rental car in England is a bit different than in North America. One of the
problems differences is they have inconveniently placed the steering wheel on the wrong side. Melissa was our designated drive since she had some previous experience driving "UK style." They wanted a second driver signed on, so I reluctantly agreed to be the back-up driver but made it quite clear the only way I was getting behind the wheel was if Melissa fell down and broke both her arms.
Another difference was the place where we rented the car. The building had the date it was built carved into the stones on the outside.
Kath had reserved an automatic car months ago, but somehow they had lost the reservation and all that was left was a standard. Not good. Driving on the left is enough of a challenge without having to think about using the opposite foot and hand for the clutch. Melissa gets an award for courage. I think the guy at the car hire was even more nervous than us. He kept showing us features of the car in a way that made me think he didn't really want us to drive away.
This next bit is somewhat embarrassing, but for those of you who have been reading my blog for awhile, probably not a big surprise. We got a bit lost. Melissa was the driver, Kath was the navigator, and I'm not sure what my designation in the back seat was, but clearly I wasn't any good at it. We kept looking for names of villages we should have come to, and road numbers we should have been on. It turns out being lost is very similar to knitting on a project with a serious mistake in it. We just kept going, hoping it would get better. About two hours into it (this would be the knitting equivalent of knitting about half a sleeve before admitting to yourself it really is too big for your new granddaughter since it fits your own arm), we decided to stop at a gas station and ask for help.
It turns out the station we picked had a crazy lady working at it, but she did manage to direct Kath and Melissa over to a nearby garage for help. When I saw them come out of that garage I knew it was bad. They were both laughing so hard they could hardly stand up. Here's why.
See Kath's finger at the top of the map? That is roughly where we thought we were. See Melissa's finger at the bottom of the map? Way down there in the southern part of the Cotswolds? That's where we actually were. The good news here is if you have to pick a place to be lost, the Coswolds would top the list. We saw a little more of the area than we had planned on as we made our way back north, but it was all so beautiful we really didn't mind.
We drove through picturesque villages with names like Stanton,
Stow on the Wold,
And my very favourite, Lower Slaughter.
We were introduced to a new food.
We saw a Sheep Street, and a field of sheep.
There were churches and old cemeteries.
It was a day spent driving down country lanes,
A day filled with laughter,
And most especially a day filled with beauty.