Following on from our brief stay in Oxford we headed further west to meet up with friends and fellow ‘Tribby’ motorhome enthusiasts at a campsite near Cirencester. A dozen of us were to spend the days around the end of the year chatting and enjoying the occasional walk followed by the occasional drink. This year the party consisted of six couples, ourselves, our Welsh friends Phil and Jan, our Barnsley-now-Shropshire friends Stuart and Ann, those from further South, Andy and Kay, Dave and Maureen and finally Ade and Jan. All were either current or previous Tribby owners and proud of their vehicles. We often met at least once a year at a motorhome show where there would be space for up to 40 Tribbies to meet up.
On this occasion one of our number had located a pub with adjoining campsite close to the alleged source of the Thames. Our first walk would be to visit the ‘source’ and then follow the path of the river to the nearby village of Kemble. Needless to say, once we got there we found an excellent pub, the Tavern situated behind a pretty railway station, serving locally brewed ales and good food.
The walk back along the road was enlivened by the thought that one of our group was slogging back through the fields looking for the dog lead he had dropped en route. Within a short time we had returned to our campsite and picked up the conversations we had dropped a few months ago as if the intervening break hadn’t happened.
I’d managed to pick up a keg of Hobgoblin Beer, knowing that both Phil and Jan were partial to a glass or two. We settled down in their van for some reminiscing and some future planning of all the places we would both like to visit. Moments later it was late and time to split up for our respective motorhomes.
The next day we had all more or less decided to do our own things. MBH and I had planned to explore the village of Kemble more thoroughly and so we headed off the couple of miles to see what we could find. The village is a charming Cotswold village built almost entirely from local stone, the sort of place you would give your eye teeth to live in. Only one shop, the village store, and one pub, the Tavern but excellent road access to the nearby cities and a rail service between Oxford, Swindon and London. Nice!
We had planned to have a meal together in the campsite pub, the Thames Head (obvious name really) and we settled down in the afternoon for some quiet time before the evening meal. Quite surprisingly the pub was almost empty when we settled down to dinner. All our meals had been pre-ordered to make it easier for the chef. Those that had chosen sirloin steak were to be disappointed by a poor cut of meat but I had been fortunate to choose the beef medallions which were two of the largest, tenderest steaks floating in a brown sea of mushroom sauce with more mushroom slices hidden beneath them.
We moved to a quieter area in the now deserted pub and saw the New Year in with the finest company. I had never before seen a single malt whisky from the Cotswolds but found one here an excellent drink with which to see in 2019. Finally we headed off to our respective beds laughing and happy.
The final day our unofficial organiser had suggested a walk to Coates, taking in a length of the Cotswold Canal and ending, inevitably at another pub, at the entrance to the famous Sapperton Tunnel https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sapperton_Canal_Tunnel . The pub was naturally enough called ‘The Tunnel House’ and I can recommend it as a very atmospheric venue. Alongside it lies ‘The Barn’ a meeting room or community resource which could be great for parties.
Back along the road to a late lunch and some quiet time before meeting up again for a final session together. This really is a great way to start the year. Three days, 30,000 steps and fifteen miles walking, some fine wine and beer drunk, ten friends closer than ever. Priceless!