By CleanSteve

The view south from Swift's Hill in Slad Valley

Our New Year has started well. Helena woke me with a cup of tea, and we gathered ourselves to go to Camilla and Sridhar's home for their traditional New Year's morning brunch party. By the time we got there it was already busy and the first sitting was underway with wonderful vegetarian food and convivial company. 

I immediately met their new neighbour Paul, who has very recently moved to Stroud with his wife and are loving the welcome they've received and the setting of the town in the five valleys. I have some background in common so have arranged to meet up again soon. Another Paul then appeared whom we met at Camilla's mammoth summer garden party and we renewed a fun acquaintanceship. We'll be meeting them soon too. It is going to be a busy social year.

Having said our goodbyes, and particularly to Camilla and Sridhar, who are returning to India for nearly three months, Helena suggested a short trip to Swift's Hill. It is a wonderful local landmark three miles up the valley and facing the village of Slad on the opposite hillside. Helena reminded me that we had been here once before on a New Year's morning, but I must admit I had forgotten.

The sun was now shining and once we had got to the tp of Swift's Hill we looked back southwards towards Stroud and the Severn valley in the distance. I love these views and have blipped them several times before, but photographs are different every time as the light shifts constantly.

The approaching clouds in this view were already dropping rain on the hills in the far distance. By the time we reached home the rain started to fall on us as we entered the house. I think Helena is going to be blipping a view across the valley to Slad itself, which will show you more of the landscape. A visit to Laurie Lee's favourite pub the Woolpack will be on the cards soon, when we meet up with one of the Paul's and his family. It has been a fine way to start the year with friends and feasting, fresh air and the gorgeous scenery of the Cotswold hills. 

Happy New Year to you all.

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