Day 2 of our brief sojourn in the Cotswolds began at 4.30am. Thanks jet lag.
Luckily, it gets light not much after that on a summer’s morning in the Northern Hemisphere so at an unholy hour in the am, we were walking through meadows of dew-spangled grass and picturesque country lanes.
We walked from Upper Slaughter (don’t forget your Penelope Keith accents please) to Lower Slaughter and on to Bourton-on-the-Water.
This route, part of the famous Wardens Way track, is usually chockers with ramblers in summer but the fact we got away so early meant we didn’t see a soul.
Except this duck on a wall. A duck. On a wall. You can tell by the look on his face he knows he’s been sprung doing something unorthodox. A bit un-ducky.
What a privilege to have these places basically to ourselves; quiet little pockets of sun-dappled bliss.
The next shot is one of my favourite photos from our trip. It was not only a perfect moment in time but faithfully captures the play of shadow and early morning summer light among the greenery and honey-coloured stone of the caskets and headstones. A melancholy subject perhaps, but a romantic one too I think. Romantic in a 19th century English novel kind of way. And we all know how suggestible I am.
Which is why I teared up when, as I stopped to take this photo, the bell in the adjacent church began to toll.
The sound reverberated in the silence and then faded away leaving nothing but the birds twittering.
On our way back we came across this little girl fishing for minnows. Well, I don’t know what she was fishing for but she was barefoot and innocent in a babbling brook on a summer morning and my overactive imagination wanted her to be fishing for minnows. Because it sounds like the thing a small English lass might do in such circumstances. At least in all the books I read as a kid.
We were back at Lords of the Manor for a full English breakfast by 9am that included local black pudding. LOVE black pudding. I know pig’s blood ‘aint for everyone but it is for me. And again, it just felt so perfectly right; so perfectly English and with a cup of tea and a piece of toast so perfectly sustaining
My feet were KILLING me and I just wanted to lie down and sleep for 10 hours but handsome husband pressed me onwards – and I’m so glad he did.
Blenheim Castle, some 30 miles away, was spectacular. It was worth the trip if for no other reason than to hear that Capability Brown designed the gardens. I so wish I could have another kid just to name him or her Capability.
Here’s a bit of Capability’s handiwork with the impossibly picturesque lake in the distance. Note the perfect, fluffy clouds please.
Winston Churchill was born here (and was the current Duke’s Godfather). These are his medals. Extraordinary if you think about it.
Selfie at Blenheim Palace? Don’t mind if we do.
Next: Lords of the Manor in Upper Slaughter. If you please.