I met up with Rose and her husband Peter at Gloucester service station on the M5. It’s a service station like no other. And we sat out the back on a terrace next to a pond. And it was warm and sunny too.
I thought I’d taken about 10 photos with my mobile phone, but actually I hadn’t taken any at all. I only found out this morning that the camera makes a clunk like a Kodak Brownie when it takes a snap. All the buttons on the camera seem to be multi-directional rocker switches, so you can get 5 different results from each, maybe 9. And so when I thought I was taking a picture, I was actually adjusting the focus or something.
So the photos below were all taken by Peter (who was like Rose also a smoker).
I hadn’t realised that there were such beautiful reflections of the pond and landscape in the plate glass behind us.And through the plate glass the front entrance of the service station is visible, and some of the customers inside. All of which makes for a rather magical picture, with multiple dimensions
And this a 180 degree panoramic view of the pond and terrace
The silver bracelet Rose was wearing on her left wrist was was one she’d made herself, and consisted of a number of silver flowers with gems set in the middle, with the flowers held together with short silver chains. She’d made little clay moulds on her stove, and melted the silver into them. I (didn’t actually) take two close-up photos of it, laid out on the table.
I asked Rose if she could visit the Smoky Drinky Bar, and she said that her large tower computer didn’t have a webcam or microphone, and her daughter who knew about all those sorts of things was living in Arizona.
We were only there for about an hour, and it all flashed by very quickly.
As we were leaving, we visited the extraordinary farm shop inside the service station, which sold cheese and fresh meat and beer and wine (some of the beer came in bottles several feet high). And there was chocolate and fudge and wicker baskets. And I bought several pairs of bamboo socks.
Yes. Bamboo socks. They’re actually made of 54% ‘sustainable’, ‘planet friendly’, organic, bamboo viscose. And they’re ‘blissfully soft’. Rose was already wearing a pair, and said she’d bought them at Gloucester services two years earlier. And on previous visits they hadn’t discovered the terrace and the pond.
So we all came away wiser.