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"Just be who you are, calm and clear and bright." - Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah

the Cotswolds, part 2

(The Cotswolds, part 1.)

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We stayed in Stanton, which just might be the poshest village of the Cotswolds; it’s very small, no shops and only the one pub, the Mount Inn (but it does great food, so between the huge delicious breakfasts and pub dinners–and dessert, my god, the dessert! best sticky toffee pudding ever, and elderflower ice cream!!!–we were set).

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It’s true, the architecture is heart-achingly quaint. Our (utterly, utterly marvelous) B&B was formerly the village post office, and we stayed in what had been the telephone exchange. The place was spotless; there were two spider-webs in the window, but they were so perfectly formed it was if someone had arranged them there.

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We arrived later than expected on Saturday, so we had to do the short version of a walk I’d been really excited for (alas, it gets dark around 4:30); but on Sunday morning we decided to stay another night (instead of walking to the larger town of Winchcombe with our bags), so it turned out we were able to do the long version of the Saturday walk on Monday (Stanton-Snowshill; downloadable map and details here). And on Sunday we walked to Winchcombe–eight miles, give or take–and had an old-fashioned high tea (cucumber sandwiches, scones as big as your head and slathered in cream and jam, cupcakes) at The White Hart before getting picked up by a kind-hearted plumber at nightfall for the return trip. (The public transportation, such as it is, is pitiful. According to the bus timetable, there would be a bus. But there was no bus, although one out-of-service bus did drive by, and that’s when our plumber called out his window and asked where we were going.)

Anyway, back to Saturday evening. We walked for an hour and a half or so–you have the public right of way through the fields, so we often found ourselves in the company of sheep or horses–and on our return to Stanton we wandered around the Church of St. Michael and All Angels, the oldest parts of which date from 1200.

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Graveyard at dusk. Not the most subtle of metaphors.

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After visiting the church we went back to the B&B to rest before dinner, and I came upon this passage in the delightful children’s fantasy novel I was reading, Alison Uttley’s A Traveller in Time:

The church was sweet and clean, for Dame Cicely had it scrubbed each week, and fresh herbs were strewn in the pews. There was a smell of rosemary and balm, and the cool odor of green rushes from the brook-side, which were soft as velvet under my feet as I stood in a familiar pew. There was a heavy tapestry curtain across one end of Mistress Babington’s pew, to screen her from the congregation, and cushions and footstools were placed ready for her. In the windows shone the lovely painted glass, and by the font was the ancient clock complaining with the wheezy voice of a old man.

Perfect.

And here are two of the best photos from our Monday walk to Snowshill, another tiny and utterly enchanting place:

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You see why we were sorry to go back to London?

(London photos coming too…along with Minneapolis, Maryland, AND my last Peru entry!)

2 Comments to the Cotswolds, part 2

  1. Dana Phillips's Gravatar Dana Phillips
    November 19, 2010 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    I’m an so glad I found your work. I was listening to the Paranormal Podcast with you as a guest and love these types of books. I will definitely check these out.

  2. Kate's Gravatar Kate
    November 20, 2010 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    These pictures are absolutely lovely!!!!

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Hi! I'm Camille. I only write stories that could never ever happen in real life, though I do believe in real-life magic. If we were in the same room I'd fix you a cup of tea, but for now we'll have to settle for a virtual connection. I'm really glad you're here.