Thursday, November 14, 2019

Back to Old Blighty--3, Journey to the Cotswolds

Because I've committed to blog every day in November, I'm going back to finish my series on our trip to England in 2018. Without a lot of income coming in at the moment, I have been dreaming of travel!!

For our first road trip of the vacation, we chose the Cotswolds. We began with a quick visit to Stratford-upon-Avon, which was fun for our English major-theatre family. 

Wandering through Stratford

A cottage

I love doors in England!

We went to Holy Trinity Church, where Shakespeare was baptized, married, and buried. I loved the graveyard outside of the church!

Check out those kneeling pads!

In the little chapel where Shakespeare is buried

Shakespeare's and Anne Hathaway's grave

His daughter Susannah's grave
 (our top name, if we had a girl, was Susannah)

After leaving the church we walked along the river into the main part of Stratford. Along the way, we found memorials to various famous actors, like this one to Vivian Leigh:
We spent some time in the marketplace, where I was intrigued by this stall with live owls:

An amusing English shop sign

Shakespeare's family home

Shakespeare fans!
After strolling through Stratford (and also visiting the Globe's gift shop and café), we drove to our wonderful friends' bed and breakfast, Lowerfield Farm, ranked #17 of 482 B and Bs in the Cotswolds. We'd stayed there at Christmas 2008, the last time we'd been in the UK, when we'd celebrated 20 years of knowing our friends (and the proprietors), Sue and Gareth. We met Sue and Gareth in Japan in 1998 and became fast friends!

Here we all were in 2008!
Now our kids are teens, nearly teens, or done with their teens!

The lovely Meredith cooking on the Aga and Gareth slicing ham from their freshly slaughtered hog

Our kids got along well!

We brought this yummy gin from Stratford and enjoyed sipping it in the evening!

Looking back on our early years together!
The next day after a lovely English cooked breakfast (the kids enjoyed eating black pudding!), we took a scenic, leisurely drive through the Cotswolds, beginning with the Cotwold Lavender farm.

Lavender everywhere!

Then we were off to Broadway Tower, where we could see views of the countryside. According to its website, Broadway Tower was "the brainchild of the great 18th century landscape designer, Capability Brown. (What a great name!) His vision was carried out for George William 6th Earl of Coventry with the help of renowned architect James Wyatt and completed in 1798. Wyatt designed his “Saxon Tower” as an eccentric amalgamation of architectural components ranging from turrets, battlements, and gargoyles to balconies."

Britain is, in many ways, more sustainable than the U.S.--
my plastic bag in the shop was made of recycled plastic bottles
A sweet Cotswolds village:

And church with graveyard:

Sights while driving:

Stopping for tea:
Kieran enjoyed sampling the microbrewed soft drinks in England

Nick was happy to stop for tea ice cream, as he pronounced that he was tired of "old-timey places." That's an unfortunate reaction to England...where most of the country is "old-timey places."

Making use of an old phone box

Now it's a defribillator!
I think this was Lower Slaughter, but I'm not sure!

Felt so refreshing to dip my feet into the water on a hot day!

I convinced Mike to do the same!
Beautiful stone wall:

Sweet little Stow-on-the-Wold!

We returned to Lowerfield Farm and decided to go out to dinner at the ancient Fleece Inn, a bicycle ride away from the B&B. The Fleece Inn was originally built in the early 15th century (the time of Chaucer) by a farmer named Byrd and remained in the same family until 1977 when it was bequeathed to the National Trust. This text from their website shows just how old it is: "The building was already 71 years old when the Lancastrians marched by on their way to final defeat in the Wars of the Roses at the Battle of Tewksbury, and it was 200 years old when the Gunpowder Plotters rode past on their ill-fated attempt to blow up Parliament."

Chris enjoyed England's historic pubs!
The pewter on the walls has been on display for 300 years.

Witches' circles painted to prevent witches from flying down the chimney!

The guys ordering food and drinks

Kieran trying "faggots," which my dad loved in England!
Faggots are large meatballs made of off-cuts and offal.

My yummy chicken and apricot pie

Recreating our classic photo!
Since we saw each other last, both of our families have been through difficult times. Sue battled cancer and I had my many ear and brain surgeries. We were happy to be together, healthy and active and loving life!
Our combined beautiful kids!

Pancakes and eggs on the Aga

The content Englishman

Recreating classic photos from Japan
Of course, we had fun looking back at old photo albums from Japan! Have you ever had a friend who, although you've been separated by miles and years, when you see them again it's as if no time has passed? That is Sue and Gareth for us...friends for over 30 years, friends forever.

If you ever go to the Cotswolds, you must stay at Lowerfield Farm!

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