Tuesday, 18 March 2014

"Roman Cotswolds"

Aylwin Sampson, despite advancing years, still gives talks on many subjects to gatherings around the area. He pressed me - willingly - into ferrying him to Chipping Campden today, where he was due to speak to one of its three Probus Clubs.

Like all the best schoolmasters, Aylwin has plenty of jokes, some - as here - illustrated by his own delightful drawings. And he handles his overheads with great dexterity, demonstrating that PowerPoint isn't necessarily the only answer to the world's problems.

Woodchester's Orpheus pavement, Aylwin told us, is European's largest mosaic. "Scratch Gloucestershire and you'll find Rome," was one of his apothegms: it wasn't a saying that I'd heard before, but of course it's perfectly correct. We should know, having lived at Syreford, the site of a Roman military station (Wycomb).

On the way back, we tried to get into Saintbury Church, to see the stone dole table: it was locked, but the trudge up the steep path brought back memories of a near-mutiny on one of my bike trips with the children. My route home involved climbing Saintbury Hill: Thomas and Paddy took a look upwards, and then at the alternative, an invitingly flat road to Broadway. Only by threatening a hawny paw did I prevent a parting of the ways.

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