A day in the country – the Cotswolds at its most beguiling – Chapter 6
Thursday, August 31…We woke to a morning filled with sun. Looking from my bedroom window over grass stippled with moving cloud images, I imagined myself living here, in the Cotswolds, embedded in this beautiful countryside.
Of course, I brought myself down to reality with the thought of winter, and rain, and cold…but even so, it would be England.
We had nothing on the agenda today but rambling around Broadway, and maybe a walk in the late afternoon.
Strolling along the, by now, well-known path from Old Orchard to Broadway, we were struck anew by the historic homes lining the road, with small paned windows and peaked gables, gardens filled with the flowers in season, old drystone walls…views across the road into the fields and hills, some ploughed, some green and glowing in the sunlight.
Our first stop was for lunch at the Crown & Trumpet pub and inn, which is the pub closest to the house.
It’s cozy and very English, with a black and white cat acting as major domo, and laboring under the name “Fattas Cattas.” He joined us at table for lunch, nestling down on my backpack, after insisting on offering a paw to David (not crazy about cats)…
The food was, as usual, delicious, and the leek and potato soup was outstanding. Half pints were ordered. After which, I tried the apple/rhubarb crumble (a little dry but the custard helped.)
We left the pub and meandered into town, stopping at the Broadway Deli on the High Street for provisions – and they had some wonderful stuff; we were hard put to leave without buying out the store – the array of cheeses alone was impressive. Finally pulling ourselves away, we looked into and around the various small shops. David had wanted some lavender items for friends back home, but oddly enough, even with the lavender farm just down the road outside Snowshill, we could not find anything. We decided to have another look the next day.
On the way back to Old Orchard, as usual looking at everything and anything that crossed my path, I saw – to my delight – what looked like a conker. We were standing beneath a grand old chestnut tree, and the ground was covered in them. Naturally, I had to immediately break into verse:
Beneath the spreading chestnut tree
A village smithy stands
The smith, a mighty man is he
With large and sinewy hands
And the muscles on his brawny arms
Are strong as iron bands.
David perhaps wasn’t amused to be asked to stand beneath the chestnut tree as I took photographs…especially when I burst into verse, as it were, but there you are! It seemed to fit!
Then I gathered up a couple of conkers, and we wended our way home. The soft light and the beauty of the house and grounds immediately called for more photographs. I left David at the house, and went for a lovely short walk towards Snowshill.
These walks are full of the most appealing and intrinsically English images. St. Edburgha’s Church, a small Norman church standing in a field…
A drystone wall …
A sign for the Broadway Cricket Club…
A footpath through the fields….
A lonely tractor in a farrowed field…
And more. The English countryside at its most iconic.
When I returned to Old Orchard, we decided to settle in for the night with some old TV shows. Appropriately enough, the first one we found was “To the Manor Born”… Seemed appropriate, and it was still, after all these years, witty and clever.
When I turned in for the night, I left the window ajar…the air was cool and sweet, and sleep came quickly. I was trying to live in the moment and not let this lovely journey pass me by casually and without acknowledgement. I’ll never forget this particular trip…and we still have four more days to come!