Hanover House was a focal point for a range of visitations today, some familial and some friends, one aspect of the former leading to a canine diagnosis and a future veterinary visit. To translate the first sentence into understandable English – James’ daughter and grandchildren came for the afternoon and an old Army friend, now Director of Estates for Gloucestershire NHS came for dinner and animated discussion. During the family visit, granddaughter Katie, aged 9, while fondling Sophie, noticed that one ear was more swollen than the other and duly reported it to Veronica. Verified, Veronica voiced it to the Veterinary practice who called Sophie in for an examination culminating in an appointment to have a haematoma removed under general anaesthetic on Friday. This will be no problem to Sophie, who perhaps misguidedly, loves her visit to the vets and as the vets tell us, is so irrepressible that her tail wags until she drops into unconsciousness and restarts as soon as she wakes. It’s perhaps useful however that Charlotte arrives with us hotfoot from Pisa on Friday night and can take over nursemaiding the post-operative animal, as she and Sophie go way back…
Our B&B guests, Kyoko and her children, headed for Gloucester Cathedral and the Historic Docks today, leaving their visit to the Cotswold Wildlife Park until early tomorrow when their scheduled coach departs – so early that they have had a continental breakfast delivered to their rooms tonight so they can eat something before departing. Coincidentally, James had planned to take his daughter and grandchildren to the Historic Docks too, as it was somewhere he’d never been and needed to check out before advising guests to visit. Consequently, arriving about 1.30pm on a slightly blustery and cloudy afternoon, with occasional bursts of sunshine, he took the family for a stroll around the actually very interesting area of the inland harbour basin, hosting several historic fishing boats, a light ship, a lot of attractive narrow boats, a dredger and some yachts. Surrounding the basin were large, former, warehouses now accommodating a range of uses including Gloucester City Council, Antiques showrooms, apartments and eateries. They narrowly missed the last tour boat, which had departed at 2.30pm while they were snacking, and so decided to move on to the Forest of Dean.
An abortive attempt to visit Littledean Jail (it was only open Thursday to Sunday) led on to the Dean Heritage Centre near Cinderford, which for the Katie and Thomas was the best part of the day. It was centred on an old watermill in a forested valley, with mill pond, mill stream and lovely interactive museum depicting the history, artefacts and wildlife of the forest and incorporated not only a cafeteria overlooking the millpond, but a Victorian schoolroom, where the pupils could dress in appropriate clothing, and an authentically furnished Victorian cottage. On the edge of the carpark, a woodcarver was producing fantastical and fantastic carvings of people and animals, some with the help of a chain saw. The most exciting element of the visit for the children however was the adventure playpark with swinging suspension bridge and rough hewn swings, climbing poles, seesaw and enormous spider.
I can now heartily recommend both the Historic Docks and the Heritage Centre to our Hanover House B&B guests in future, and will be heading back that way myself with our own visitors from time to time.