Small and frugal – Skoda Citigo Monte Carlo
When the UK lockdown ended in April, it was all hands on deck to take advantage of some freedom to do things.
First up was my first haircut in six months – my hair was never that long in the days when I was managing bands and reviewing three to four gigs a week in the early 1990s! There was also Caroline’s birthday to take into account and then the packing for three nights in a Cotswolds cottage.
As we were going to be using the car to get to, from and around the area, the Skoda was tanked up before we left, but once packed with our bags, space was also left to accommodate the food we would be buying as sustenance over the time we were self catering in the farm cottage at Hook Hill Farm near Royal Wooton Bassett.
Packing for the trip was easy as we’d looked at the weather forecast and packed accordingly. We had a bag each and also a waterproof, hooded soft shell and a fleece as just in case items.
My own bag contained a couple of fleece crew necks, two tees with a silver content, two pairs of trousers with loads of pockets to take care of my phone, digital compact camera, wallet, change, keys and reading glasses.
All of my stuff mentioned above was by Rohan, but a pair of shorts by The North Face and a couple of Uber Moose cotton tees were also packed as lounging around items. Undies were from M&S and Rohan whilst socks came via M&S & Bamboo Clothing. And footwear? Merrell Jungle Mocs and a pair of the same brand’s sports boots.
Wash kit was in the usual see through bag that I use for most trips with a Gillette razor, Via Sonic battery toothbrush, shaving foam, after shave balm and cinnamon flavour toothpaste in a handy size that was picked up at Yorkshire Soap Company.
The contents of Caroline’s bag were roughly the same with Rohan long sleeved tops, jeans, tech trousers, her padded gilet and Bamboo Clothing vest tops & loose fitting pants that she could longe around in or do yoga sessions. Her footwear items were by Ecco and Merrell.
With a cottage and a well equipped kitchen at our disposal, our food and drink choices were simple, largely because we were on holiday and didn’t relish the thought of spending hours prepping and cooking meals.
So we kept it simple by visiting a Tesco shop on the outskirts of Swindon.
A dine in for £10 deal took care of the first night whilst a ready meal variation on a pub meal theme ensured that the two of us could each eat when we wanted to rather than make compromises.
As some of the other ready meals were on a two for £6 deal, they ensured that we could eat what we wanted to without breaking the budget, especially as the food bill ended up being a lot lower than three nights of bar meals.
With food choices made, drinks choices were easy – three beers for me, three bottles of cider for Caroline and a pack of Pepsi Max Cherry all ended up in the cottage fridge along with milk & a few bottles of sparkling water.
Breakfast choices were easy – granola for Caroline and bacon or sausage butties for me, along with a bit of toast too.
Coffee was our usual choice of Taylor’s Italian blend and a bit of milk and whilst we had a brace of Alladin flask style mugs with us, these weren’t used as we decided to keep caffeine levels down and stick with sparkling water.
Did we make good choices? Everything worked both packing and food wise.
The tech choices also worked well – my items all did their stuff in keeping me in touch with the world and getting some camera practice in and my iPad’s Kindle software also behaved itself!
And Caroline’s Android phone and tablet? Again, no problems.
How did the trip go – the answer to that starts soon!
One of the few areas that neither Caroline or I have ever been to was The Cotswolds, so with three days and two nights to spare, a quick visit to the area and Oxford was looked at and a couple of nights at Hampton by Hilton, Oxford were booked.
Not only was its new territory, but it was also a chance to give the Skoda a good run out. The Fabia we’d had since 2012 was good, but the smaller, nippier Citigo Monte Carlo was raring to go!
First stop was a relatively short one at Stow-on-the-Wold. Lunch at Huffkins Bakery and Tea Rooms was declared after a brief wander around the centre, but once fed, it was time to explore and indulge at the local Rohan store’s sale.
Once done, we wandered again before deciding to move on to Burford. It took a while to find the car park and whilst we had a good stroll, not a lot was open, and it was a bit too early to have an evening meal.
We did however find a small speciality food shop and indulged ourselves by buying some artisan beer, chocolate and cider for later on when we eventually reached our hotel.
As we headed towards Oxford, we decided that yes, we would pay a return visit to the area and this decision was reinforced when we saw a couple of the rides made by presenter Henry Cole on ITV4’s The Motorbike Show.
Granted, we won’t be burning rubber on motorbikes, but Henry’s rides gave us a chance to see what other places in The Cotswolds looked like, so the next visit is more likely to be over the course of a full weekend or week rather than just the one day.