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Cirencester >  Google™ Map Sep 2021  Gloucestershire Coat of Arms

cyrin (a) churn + ceaster Old English roman site. Population - 19,076.

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Sep 2021

Gloucestershire Coat of Arms

Today is predicted to be a showery one so we could do what you lot do and seek some shelter in the local Wetherspoon™s, tempted by two dine for £9.99?

Remarkably, for a town of this size, there isn't one so that's not an option, not that that's an option, anyway. This one is the designated, and only, driver in the not-so-dynamic duo and likes to bemoan that fact martyr-like but also likes to scoff derisively at the name of the local Spoons.

Here it would be called the Corinium, or something, since the Romans came calling to Corinium Dobunnorum in the first or is it the zero-eth century? Saying that, it might just be called the Old Post Office, or something, if the director of contrived waterhole naming was on holiday that week.

Once the second-largest city in all of Britannia after old Londinium, that's not quite the case, these days, but there's more than enough in and around to entertain for a day, eh?

It might well be wet but there's plenty of cover available as they love a canopied courtyard here, hidden up numerous nooks or are they crannies?

That buys time until the sun intermittently shines then WHOA! Who put this here?

An order of Augustinians, that's who, whoever they were, founded in the early 12th but not finished until later that century. The Church of St John the Baptist is what's left of their abbey and has had some handiwork done since the last-ruling Henry did his dissolving.

The former abbey grounds can be found behind in, well, Abbey Grounds Park where a lake awaits, they say, although eyes are very much on the water from above today.

  New Brewery Arts (Brewery Court)

It's always good to see local artists given a forum and this is of the crafty-cum-workshop variety. The brewery in question lasted until World War II, which is a shame as this one is a sucker for a sampling.

Saying that, I'm the designated driver, remember, Hey, Joan of Arc! Give it a rest man!

There's a pub on the  A433 called the  Thames Head Inn from where it's a short walk to the head of the Thames or rather the source, of course, of the River Thames. Yes, England's capital waterway rises near Cirencester and this sort of thing is normally right up this pair's creek, just not in this rain.

You can barely see it bubbling up most days, they say, but they'll be needing a flood barrier as wide as the one at the other end after the latest deluge and emergency evacuations are underway.

That's a joke, of course, that's an unmistakable Boeing C-17 Globemaster III, obviously, a military transport aircraft and it's comforting to have it confirmed not to be a Russian one.

That Google™ Images™ really is rather clever, don't you think?

Meanwhile, back in Cirencester, away from the main drags the narrower backstreets are a treat and it's along here you might find Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen twirling an umbrella as he skips merrily back to his design and showroom HQ.

Is that  Daisy May and  Charlie Cooper kicking their heels as they head for the bus stop along Silver Street? The creative siblings have strong links to Cirencester, like being born there, and the BBC's smash comedy  This Country is based on their experiences of living in the Cotswolds.

The mockumentary and fake film crew format are well established, for sure, but This Country was executed excellently, the characters fully formed and tinged with the sadness, boredom and frustrations of living in, what looks like from the outside, a rural idyll.

Large parts were filmed just up the road at Northleach and following the deserved success of the show the Coopers can now be found wearing crowns, throwing loose change and flicking cigars from the back of a stretch limo, windows down.

That's not true, probably, but it does sound like the sort of thing Llewelyn-Bowen might do on his days off, eh?

The River Thames snakes its way south and east from its source but it's still not much more than a babbling brook by now although the village of Ashton Keynes is all the better for its presence.

This naturally wet area is a good source of ice-age era gravel and they're still digging it out for your driveways. When the extraction is exhausted the pits that remain fill with water creating a network of man-made lakes and by that it's meant around 180 of them concentrated across 40 square miles!

The Romans are rumoured to have initiated this industry but the Cotswold Water Park is a more recent invention or should that be a rebranding? Taking advantage of this largely artificial landscape, the park was created in 1967 with all your watersports catered for.

That, however, is limited to a handful of areas and the rest remains hidden behind hedgerows meaning if you accidentally drove through it you wouldn't even know it.

It's not all about the leisurely and lakeside lodgings, there's a wealth of wildlife of the whistling and wading variety, when in season. They too, however, are hidden in or behind the hedgerows as are the hides in the half-a-dozen nature reserves should you be bearing  binocs.

Throw in the words Site, Special, Scientific and Interest and the Cotswold Water Park is nothing like the one in Torremolinos, like you imagined, eh?

Meanwhile, back in Cirencester, that's quite some hedge there and it's now known to be the tallest yew hedge in Britain, no less.

Those unnecessarily large doors, however, are issuing a firm access denied but more-intrepid explorers, who are less bothered by the weather, can walk up Park Street then Cecily Hill to the public entrance to Cirencester Park.

It's a park on a par with Windsor, probably, with a reasonably long walk and roaming deer but is just a fraction of the estate's entire 15,000 acres. It all belongs to the landed Bathurst family whose country pile is also off-limits behind the hedge.

There are rumours of charging tourists to the park with residents of the town still allowed in for free so expect a revolution when a coach trip from Stroud turns up to find that's the situation.

Speaking of country piles, there's another one six miles down the road at  Rodmarton Manor, an early 20th-century construction very much in the Arts and Crafts style, it says here.

The movement championed a return to the artisanal following the mass manufacturing of the Industrial Revolution and much of the interior can be filed in that category as well as a rather marvellous garden, weather and opening hours permitting.

A rather posh lady at the entrance gave us an 'Are you sure?' look and strict instructions regarding the one-way system due to you-know-what. Today's a special event, you see, and most people's eyes are on ornamental glass and hand-crafted jewellery that's for sale at a premium.

That's a shame because the inter-war needlework by the Rodmarton Women's Guild hanging in the corridors is being shamefully overlooked. All highly skilled stuff, for sure, but hey, what else are you going to do when it's tipping down and a sign on the A433 suddenly appears?

Meanwhile, back in Cirencester, remember them Romans? There's not been that much said because there's not been that much seen and anything they left behind is now in the  Corinium Museum, a huge disappointment to those looking for the local Wetherspoon™s.

It's not large enough to accommodate an amphitheatre, however, they've had to leave that where it is just south and over the busy ring road.

Yes, Cirencester has an  amphitheatre or rather the earthen banks of what once was although not much of it was seen. There now followed a downpour of the kind last seen in Florence so what's why this pic was nicked from elsewhere and speaking of elsewhere...

Back near the Thames Head Inn, there's a railway bridge over the A433 and the dip has now filled to resemble a Cotswold Water Park pit. The 4x4s are fine but how this one made it through and up the other side, some smoke and spluttering involved, still isn't fully understood.

Say what you like about the Italian invaders, they'd have sorted out the issue with the drainage like that!

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