Covid-19 Guided Walk for One. Number 1: Denbies Hillside Nature Trail.

Posted on 01/04/2020 By

Number 1: Denbies Hillside Nature Trail

Dear friends

Bertie standing by the interpretation board for Denbies Hillside Nature Trail.

We live in strange times. It seems only right that Mindfully Bertie should bring you some sunshine. There has been plenty this week as we write this. At present, the government is allowing us one walk, cycle ride a day. We thought you could use your daily walk with a guide in beautiful places. So this is our attempt to do just that. Possibly one per fortnight, knowing full well that none of us know what tomorrow brings. Even if the walk is not possible in a few days time, you can keep it for the future or walk it virtually through the pictures. And good luck to us all. (more…)

CountrysideMindfulnessNational Trust    

Room 311

Posted on 29/03/2020 By

Room 311

Bertie, wearing his Sutton United scarf, in the window of Room 311.

Back in January 2016, we had an amazing piece of luck. Maybe we deserved it after losing Diddley just a few months before. I could see Bobby was restless. Suddenly, he had time on his hands. Suddenly, the worries of Diddley’s illness had subsided. Suddenly, he had freedom thrust upon him. A freedom to do what he liked. Amazingly he found that Diddley had two bank accounts. One, he knew about. The other, the bank told him about. The other was a funeral fund she had set up. Quite substantial. Was it to help Bobby, or maybe it was more likely she wanted a “bloody good send off”. And that’s what she got, of course. There was money left over and we took the whole family on outings, including eight of us to the Nutcracker at the Royal Opera House at Christmas. A matinee, that included four granddaughters. All in Diddley’s memory. (more…)


If the Invader Comes

Posted on 22/03/2020 By

“If the Invader Comes”

This story is based on fact.

A Black & White photograph of Bertie wearing Bobby's cap creating a wartime effect.

It’s 1940 in our imagination and we ask you to accept that, for the sake of the story, we have changed the real date by four years. Bobby was born on 26 January 1944, near the end of the war. That date is now 26 January 1940 at the beginning. A time when no-one had any idea what the future held: (more…)


S I D (Self Isolation Day)

Posted on 18/03/2020 By


We started a story called “What if”. It’s still relevant and follows later. But, as we all know, the situation is changing so rapidly that by the time this is posted it will have completely changed again. So we are posting an exceptional mid week blog.

Today, Monday 16 March, is SID (Self Isolation Day) at Laurel Cottage. Waking up to the sunshine of a world in turmoil. Bobby himself with “elderly and heart condition” qualifications to choose to self isolate. During that first hour we walked round the cottage taking pictures. No idea why, but it seemed a good idea.

S I D (Self Isolation Day): A bare foot and the sun streaming in through the window. (more…)

CountrysideMindfulnessRailway JourneysThe Bench    

Eamonn’s Day Out at Wisley!

Posted on 15/03/2020 By

Eamonn’s Day Out!

Bertie: “Wisley! You must be bleedin joking! It’s taters. Anyway, I thought we agreed that Friday was the one day you rested. You worked all day for the National Trust yesterday. I’m not going.”

Bobby: “Fine. I’ll take Eamonn instead!”

Bertie and Eamonn sat together. (more…)

DiddleyThe Bench    

Enjoying a Cotswolds Daydream

Posted on 08/03/2020 By

Cotswolds Daydream

Last year the sun shone and we “reveried” in it. This year the sun went as soon as it came. The black clouds gathered. And the weather forecast got more and more alarming.

We had left the Surrey Hills slightly battered by Storm Ciara. Only to find that a much bigger Storm was looming. Storm Dennis was to prove catastrophic for many areas of Britain, including low lying areas of Surrey close to rivers. We escaped the worst and avoided Swift’s Hill on its designated day. 15 February. Climbing it the day before, on Valentines Day. It was still lovely in the Cotswolds as we relaxed in the Frocester George once again.


Cotswolds Pub and Hotel: The Frocester George. (more…)


Swift’s Hill. A Nostalgic Return.

Posted on 01/03/2020 By

Swift’s Hill

A panoramic view from Swift's Hill. Slad, Gloucestershire. Looking towards Stroud, the Severn estuary and the mountains of Wales beyond.

The panoramic view. Slad, Gloucestershire. Looking towards Stroud, the Severn estuary and the mountains of Wales beyond.

Each year, in February, we make a nostalgic return to the Cotswolds around Stroud.

The Friends of the Islands of Skomer and Skokholm always have their reunion at Bishops Cleeve, near Cheltenham, in Mid February. This year’s was on 16 February.

We come to re-enact our commitment to Diddley’s ashes on 15 February, by climbing to the very spot we released them in 2016 on Swift’s Hill. (more…)

CotswoldsCountrysideLaurie LeeNational Trust    

The Church, Miserden, Gloucestershire

Posted on 23/02/2020 By

The Church, Miserden

Many books have been written about the poet and author Laurie Lee.

Back in the 1990s, a television programme was produced based on interviews with him as he talked about his life. The transcripts of those interviews have come to life and been turned into a book.

Cover of the book: "Laurie Lee - A Writer's Landscape".


CotswoldsDiddleyFrank MansellLaurie Lee     ,

Diddley’s Story.

Posted on 16/02/2020 By

Diddley’s Story.

This week we have a very special contributor. Diddley herself. In researching the forthcoming Cotswold stories, we found some papers that she had kept and, most importantly, a story she had written. It may be a rough draft? Who knows, but it’s worthy of sharing with you. I am sure she wouldn’t mind. As you can see, Diddley’s Story was intended to be sent in to Saga Magazine.

“Probably the Best Night of my Life”

The rough handwritten version of "Diddley's Story". (more…)

CotswoldsDiddleyFrank MansellLaurie Lee    

Yes! I Woz There! (Part 2)

Posted on 09/02/2020 By

I Woz There (Pt 2)

Poster for Sutton United vs Leeds United. FA Cup (4th Round) Sat 24 January 1970.

So said Bobby, looking back to fifty years ago on the 24th January 1970. Arguably the greatest day in the history of Sutton United. Not the greatest performance, when you lose 6-0 at home. But the greatest occasion, when a tiny amateur team was drawn against the best team in England in the FA Cup. Leeds United were top of the old first division. Competing in Europe. A team full of international players. Managed by the irascible but highly successful Don Revie. Who later became manager of England. A time when the FA Cup was the most famous cup competition in the world. A time when minnows could get drawn against the big clubs. A time he will never forget. And I Woz There! Over to Bobby now. (more…)


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