Sunday 19 May 2024

Cotswolds Day 2

 May 18th.  Clear morning and sunny.  Weather forecast said 44% chance of rain.  Took raincoats with us in car.  Weather forecast was Wrong!

We woke late after a restful sleep.  Breakfast of yogurt, granola and raspberries.   I was worried that the double parking of people coming for brunch to the cafe next door would impede our exit.  But no!   The drivers of the Range Rovers, Jaguars, BMW’s, Tesla’s, Volvo’s and Audi’s must have considered our now very dirty Mercedes, a member of the club because nobody blocked us in and we were able to get away for our circuit of the Cotswolds.

First stop Stow on Wold.  Once more we enjoyed the beautiful countryside.  I don’t know the name of these white flowers but they form clouds as it were, along the edges of the country roads.  So very pretty.   Among them are buttercups, pink campion and of course dandelions in profusion.

Traffic entering the town was bumper to bumper long queues but we found a carpark - pay and display - and walked a few metres to the centre of the interesting market town.  

It seemed as if every couple from the Counties around, and their dogs had come for the day.  The wives flitting in and out of fashion stores and the husbands in long suffering patience standing on the narrow pavements outside.   A quaint little Post Office provided the necessary post cards and I found a perfect souvenir.  A miniature teapot and two cups and saucers.   Yes!  I am now addicted to ‘the cuppa’.

One interesting shop in Stow was called Lambswold and sold only socks.  

While Little Sister made a purchase I noticed that the ceiling beams looked ancient so asked the man, “how old is this building”.  Not very old, says he.  The front is about 200 and the back about 440.  “Years?”, says I.  Yes, he says in a of-course-tone-of-voice.   I assure you that 440 years is quite definitely old.  He had an interesting counter - made from wood from the old school house he told us.  The vice reminded me of the one my father used in his woodworking.

We found Our Shop in Stow On Wold.

It was just lunchtime and the town bells pealed loudly and long and we enjoyed them as we waited in the lines of traffic to get on the  road to Bourton On Water.   

No parking problems at this next stop.  A local organisation had taken over a grassy field, confined several horses behind a fence in the rear and for £5 a day (Gates Lock at 7pm) we were directed to a very satisfactory car park.  We discussed whether or not to take our raincoats with us, given the forecast, and a chatty gentleman in the next door car told me it only rained on the righteous!   Well, I’d better take my coat then, says I.  He asked where I was from and when I said New Zealand, he enjoyed his own joke immensely, as he replied “you must have been up early this morning”.  He was so thrilled with his own comedy that he told his wife twice and daughter once.  Neither looked impressed.  They did wish us a happy day though.

And a happy day we had.  Bourton on Water is beautiful.   It was full of people, quaint shops, riverside pubs, ice cream barrows, and dogs!   Many dogs.  All different sizes of dogs!  At the first little bridge over The Windrush I heard a mother scold her teenage son for standing on the stone side.  Then a vehicle came across and she promptly hopped up on to the stone at which her son justifiably protested the inconsistency.  My oh my, humans come in an infinite variety don’t they!

Walking up and down we went in and out of interesting small shops.  Guess what we found?  I think Little Sister would have purchased some wool had they stocked another skein.  Just one wasn’t sufficient so she still has space in her luggage for another yarn shop visit - or maybe two or three.  And then made our way to the Model Village.  The lady in the entrance desk was fun.  She told us that she was busy, there were only three on duty today, Me, Myself and I.  But I thought her really polite when she asked if we “fitted into the same category” as her and charged senior rates.  We asked the lady on the entrance desk to recommend a place for lunch. “Sure” says she.  “The pub next door does a very good lunch and if you take this card there’s a 10% discount, bring your entry receipt back when you’ve had lunch and you can go straight in to the Model World.”  

I didn’t really trust her fully as I’ve decided I’m not particularly fond of pub lunches - they have seemed to be all grill, chips and salad.  But I am wrong.  Today we had a Ploughmans Platter and it was super delicious.   Another tick on my list.   I added a glass of cider for a second tick.  Not sure I like cider much but I did drink 1/4 of a pint so I could genuinely add the tick.

Model World was an amazing experience.  In 1936 the innkeeper of The Old Inn wanted an attraction which would bring in tourists and day trippers so he created a model of Bourton On Water in 1:9 scale and laid out just like the village itself.   It is possible here to get a genuine Gulliver Experience!   Strange seeing people looming over buildings while little children crouch slightly and can see in the windows.   There are three staff who keep up the maintenance and one who takes a particular interest in the gardens and keeping them in scale too.   We spent a really enjoyable time here and found the model of The Model Village, inside which was yet another model of the model.   Little Sister and I were pointing out to each other this coincidence and another visitor overheard and then pointed it out to his girlfriend!

After this we drove to Lower Slaughter and alas alack, car parking seemed impossible so I suggested we drive on to Upper Slaughter and then come back.  So we did and found a car park.  We walked to the brow of a steep hill and had a discussion with each other as to whether cardiologists would permit us to walk back up the hill.  I didn’t think we should.  Little Sister wanted to.  So we watched a Range Rover come through Deep Ford stream and opted to ‘give it a go’.   Just as well we did.  The little village was so pretty and we wandered along the stream and up a gentle rise and back to the car park so keeping pacemakers intact, cardiologists happy and ourselves satisfied.

The we drove back to Lower Slaughter.  Again no car parks.  I wanted Little Sister to turn around but she ignored me and we entered a no exit street so she had to anyway.  Then lo and behold on the road was a space.  We won’t fit I there I say as she swiftly manoeuvres in one fell swoop, with the aid of a German precision Mercedes reversing camera and We Are Parked between a Peugeot and a Citroen!  My Mother always used to say “Heather is always right” and you know, I think that might be true.

Parking is something that is still a puzzle.  Here in Britain it seems it’s permissible to park on the wrong side of the street?   And does one overtake cyclists on the open road or creep behind them or what?   And what is it with a country supposedly decimalised that still runs on miles?  

So parked, we walked to the Old Mill.  It was so satisfying to see the water wheel in action and we remembered a Grand Designs TV programme where someone had renovated an old mill.  That must have been a big job.   We continued walking through the beautiful quiet and quaint village looking for somewhere to have a cup of tea. 

Where better than The Slaughters Manor House.   Past the croquet lawn, and up the steps where the polite Doorman greeted us.  We opted to sit inside and feel posh with a pot of tea and of course scones, cream and jam.   Apparently The Manor dates back to 1665 and is often used for weddings.   Feeling refreshed we walked back to the car and drove the short distance home to Blockley well satisfied with our day.


Maggie said...

Yep, weather men got it wrong here too, It's been a lovely sunny day, not a drop of rain in sight.
Glad you are enjoying the Cotswolds, Bourton on the Water is really pretty, but does get very busy when the weather is nice. They hold an annual football game between villages in that stream in the summer and a duck race too, plastic ones, you buy a duck which has a number and they are all let off together, both the football and the duck race are good fun to watch.
The white hedgerow flowers are called Cow Parsley, the roadside looks very pretty this time of year with all the wild flowers.
Yes you can park facing the opposite direction to which you are driving, it's just more difficult to get back in to the traffic if is busy.
I'm with you on pub grub, not a fan of cider either, but your ploughman's looked lovely.

Even though we are in theory decimalised you will find that most people still speak in terms of miles rather than kilometers and in many cases inches rather than centimetres, yards rather than metres and pounds rather than kilograms, what can I say, we are a quirky lot 😁

Heritage Hall said...

Another lovely day in the neighborhood. That mini-village looks like a tour de force..What
an accomplishment.The friendliness and caring of those in service must have eased any stress
of your trying to check off every "must see" on your list. Your pictures along the way are
just so lovely, Margaret....

Frugally challenged said...

Another name for that white plant is Queen Anne's Lace which may appeal more to the needlewoman in you!

Clare-Aimetu said...

Another beautiful English day, perfect for the Cotswolds. We still all use imperial measures even though our packaging is metric and most definitely use miles for distance. I love Bouton-on-the-water, especially the model village, even the people in the church are singing. It's so lovely to read your travels.

Little Brother said...

Maybe it is yarrow? Cannot tell for certain from the photo. If it is yarrow we have it here in NZ also. Little Brother.

Chris said...

You're certainly seeing a lot of our beautiful country and fair weather too. I had the best salad meal ever in a pub, it was huge and very tasty. Lovely to see you and little sister looking so happy.

Leonore Winterer said...

Oh, that model village is amazing!