Much refreshed by our coffee, we set off, the SatNav giving us directions. We stopped at a motorway store to buy supplies for our supper and headed to our first appointment of the journey.
Later that day, we wound our way through narrow country lanes into a tiny village that our SatNav informed us would be our home for the next two and a half weeks. We had punched in the postal code and left it up to her.
And she was true to her word. As we drew closer to our temporary home, we had to slow down often for the local inhabitants.
There were flocks of them. Do you get flocks of pheasants? Or are they fidgets, flaps, flicks or flushes? However you describe pheasants en masse, there were many of them.
And they had no road sense. They were young, scatty, skittish and unpredictable. I counted twenty five in a distance of half a mile one evening, for they were to be our neighbours. Most were drab in juvenile or female plumage. But, from time to time, a magnificent male would cross our path, illuminated by the evening sun, and take our breath away. What a triumph of creation they were.
But they were in the road. And we had to take care not to hit them.
“You have reached your destination on your right,” Flo told us. Was that a sigh of relief we could detect in her voice?
We certainly sighed in relief. It had been a long journey – almost 36 hours door to door – and we needed tea and somewhere to relax and kick our shoes off.
And God provided just such a place for us.
Converted stables, the long, low building was nestled among trees. It looked out over fields of horses and sheep and on to the woods beyond. It had two bedrooms connected by a long living room and a perfectly appointed kitchen. An enormous fridge could have catered for twenty rather than two. Efficient heaters ensured our comfort, and snug beds guaranteed excellent sleep.
It became a haven of calm for us. We only saw it in the misty morning or the golden light of evening, so it attained an almost ethereal beauty in our minds. It was a place to relax and unwind. It was a place of peace. Our noisiest neighbours were the squirrels which scampered across the roof collecting an abundance of acorns that had gathered there in the strong winds.
Could we have found a more peaceful place? No, I don’t think so. It was exactly what we needed in every way.
“That’s God …’ we said as we high-fived that evening over a bowl of steaming soup.
That’s my God …