Spring Tops: Admiral's Advice: Roman About: Festival Fever

Let's kick off this week with some spring views from Cleeve Hill, which overlooks the Racecourse.

We went for a walk last Tuesday (4 / 3 ) on a beautiful morning with blue skies, rapidly drying ground and a gentle breeze to accompany our footsteps. A glorious start to the month of March.


@CTFCOfficial Cheltenham expects---  Always seek to
                                                                  And show
                                                                  Your superiority
AWAY the Robins.


Last Friday ( 7 /3 ) D and I visited Chedworth Roman Villa for the first time since 2012.

The main baths with their mosaics are now housed in a purpose- built building.

The above shot taken in 2012 when it needed some final work.
The wood used is larchwood; which complements the colour of the  mosaics.

The top frame shows the floor in '12: the bottom frame shows the greater detail and finish now possible..
The mosaics are kept at a constant temperature and humidity. By laying them on the stone floors, the moisture to allowed to seep through and keep the colours from fading. This does not happen when laid upon concrete.

 These two shots show the floor from above  the walkway.

We were fortunate to catch a guided tour and the lady showed great enthusiasm about the subject.

One thing, I hadn't realised;  that  because the Romans  reclined on low couches, their eyeline took them naturally to the floor and thus the decorations were made to appeal with pattern and picture.
Hence the use of mosaics.

I like the light effect here.

This is the education room, where pots and cooking utensils were on display.

This shows the attractive wall display.

The main water supply fed by a spring, which has never dried up in 2000 years
Impressed or what!

One of the great joys of coming to Chedworth is this wonderful view down to the valley,  at the end of the stone work. How the Roman owner must have lorded it over his guests.

Well worth a visit,  very satisfying indeed.

Roman Villa


The Arena of dreams is ready,  nestling in the shadow of the above Cleeve Hill. On Tuesday 11th of March, the 'war'; between the English and Irish for the proceeding four days begins. The Cheltenham National Hunt Festival starts. Cheltenham is once more given its prominence  and spelt ChelteNHam again.
What memories the festival and especially the Champion Hurdle ( My favourite race ) brings:

In 1970, seeing the crowd in tears as the gallant Persian War completed his third Champion Hurdle. A horse,  not  race fit  until he was worked on the sands at Weston Super Mare on the Sunday at the start of race-week.

In 1989 Beech Road running  alone up the stand side in very heavy going and winning in almost complete silence. His starting price 50/1 !

This was the horse that friend D. and I, the previous January, had seen fall at the final fence in a novice 'chase and lay there so still that we thought the worst had happened. Ten minutes later,  to great applause , he arose having been badly winded.

And finally in 2005 the Irish trained horse Hardy Eustace completing a double Champion victory, in the bravest of fashion. He led all the way and was never headed. He just refused to go down, winning by a short head.

I know, what you're asking. What wins this year?

Well this is going to sound very helpful; either the reigning champion "Hurricane Fly", trained in Ireland by Willie Mullins OR "The New One " trained locally by Nigel Twiston-Davies and ridden by his son Sam. For try as I might, I cannot separate them. My head says the 'Fly': my heart says 'The New One'. We shall see.


Well March has come in like a lamb, hasn't it. The weather is set fair for race week ahead, so be bold and be lucky.


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