To-day we had another long drive. Left Bristol at 9 o’clock for Gloucester, distance 36 miles, which we covered in 2 1/2 hours. This is one of the most ancient cities in the Kingdom and on the arrival of the Romans became a military station.
On the way we saw a monument erected to Tyndale, the translator of the Bible. On this trip we passed through Newport situated in the Dickens country and where he wrote many of his books. Saw several English Gypsy camps and the fields were full of magpies and many trees covered with mistletoe. Saw young people walking arm in arm and were told they were engaged, as this is one way of announcement.
The roads are fine and piked but very narrow. Auto steps are built like the rungs of a ladder to give room to pass other vehicles - more than one of us have torn our coats getting in and out.
The Cathedral at Gloucester is a magnificent structure showing different styles of architecture prevailing between the 11th. and 16th. century. Gloucester is well known for its musical festival held triennially, conjointly with Hereford and Worcester. We had lunch at King’s Arms Hotel. Had a fruit dessert of rhubarb, peaches, grapes, plums, and pineapple served with custard. We counted as many as ten magpie nests in one tree. Whole forests have been cut down for ship building and for props in the mines, which very much mars the scenery.
We read strange signs as we pass along. “Stick no bills” - “You can telephone here” - “Shoe wardrobe” - “Noah’s Ark” - “Plough Inn” - “Vine-tree Inn”. The houses have no porches and the little gardens are laid out with mathematical precision.
From Gloucester we go to Tintern Abbey. The great Abbey church was built in the purest style of English architecture, about 1288 and is almost complete, excepting the roof. There is nothing in all England quite like Tintern. And Chepstow Castle! This is as important a memorial of feudal times, as Tintern is of the great eclesiastical system which flourished at the same period. The village of Tintern is very picturesque. Now we are in Wales and the scenery has changed and is quite rugged. We smile at the signs. Now it is - “White Swan Hotel” - “Druid’s Head” - “Queen’s Head” - “Wye Bridge Hotel” - “Parcels received for all parts.” The Wye valley is beautiful. Part of it makes us think of the Palisades of the Hudson. We drank tea at Chepstow - thin slices of bread and butter, fruit cake, mince pie and gooseberry marmalade. A sign near reads, “Wye not tea?” It has rained and rained and it was a long ride back to the hotel.