Over the last few years I've become very familiar with the roads around Cirencester due to the different places I've stayed over the airshow weekend and the different routes along which the organisers have sent the traffic at the start and end of the day. Every year I resolve to visit the area on some occasion other than RIAT and just explore the country lanes and the villages with their yellow stone cottages.
Ampney Crucis, Down Ampney, Hannington Wick and Water Eaton. Between the A417 and the A419 lie a dozen or so little villages reached by single-track roads which rise and fall among the fields and the Cotswold Water Park. A zig-zag south brought me to the main road, which I left two roundabouts later for more countryside.
I found the correct village even though it seemed to be signposted only from immediately adjacent villages, effortlessly selected the wrong direction from a choice of two, doubled back and snapped my landmark. A cheerful local hailed me with a "Hello!" - truly I was out in the countryside where life was lived at a different, friendlier pace!
It turned out he was talking into his mobile phone. I struck out for the motorway and home.