Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Quintessential English Countryside


     The air was fresh, and the day, cool and overcast.  Olivia and I took an early morning walk down the cobblestone street in front of our inn.  We were amazed as we examined a snail sliding across the sidewalk, leaving a sticky trail behind him.  It felt good to be surrounded by calm after our hectic travel schedule the day before.
      Back at the B&B, David and Pam served us a scrumptious 3 course breakfast in the cozy 19th
century dining room.  We were now charged for


     We said our thank yous and farewells, packed our bags, and headed out with Caroline on our tour of the unique little towns in the Cotswolds.  Chipping Campden, The Slaughters and Stow-on-the-Wold were three of the delightful places we stopped on our wanderings through the countryside.  
     The Cotswolds were as idyllic as the photos indicated.  Rolling countryside, thatched roof homes and stone cottages were set in rows along country lanes.  So surreal were they, that a group of Japanese tourists were said to have walked up the path and to the door of one of these homes, fully intending to open it and take a look around inside.  It was so perfect that they thought it was a movie set!  In truth, many movie stars and musicians do own getaway cottages here.

     Thatching is an art and a challenge for anyone owning a home similar to the one on the left. They would need to redo the roof every 15-20 years, at a cost of thousands of pounds, using wheat or water reeds, held together by a wire grid.  This was used to discourage birds who love to peck at the material.  Notice the two birds where the roofs meet in the photo above.  The attention to detail and design was amazing!

     We had a relaxing "morning tea" with cream scones and strong milky black tea, as we sat behind this mill you see here.  The ducks swam alongside us as we chatted with Caroline.  She was a stay at home Mom who supplemented her income by taking folks on tours, sharing her extensive knowledge of the area.  She was pleasingly amenable to any suggestions we might have had.
    In Snowshill, we stopped to see the lavender fields, and pick up a few souvenirs made with the fragrant blossoms.  In Bourton on the Water, we perused the shops, including a perfumerie where Caroline had taken classes to create her own fragrance.

   While the ladies visited the porcelain shoppe, the boys found a perfect place to wander.  You can find them posing in front of this unique store.                                                          
The doorways also caught my attention, each unique in their own way.  Here are a few that I photographed:

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