Friday, February 8, 2008

Flora's Birthday

What a wonderful day in the Cotswolds, startimg out with the cold grey-silver light of the English winter, and leading to an afternoon of bright, cool sunshine. Could not have wished for better weather, despite the low temperature--well, low for a Californian. But then it has been unusually cool in California of late.

Hugo had spent the night at his grandmother's, so the first thing--after a good bowl of porridge (with fresh, raw ginger--a surprise! Something I should add to my repertoire!)--was to get him off to school. He chose recently to switch from the big school in town to a local village school way out in the country, in a tiny place called Sapperton. Here are Flora and Hugo on the way to school...



and here is Sapperton, nestled in a lovely valley...



After dropping Hugo off at school, we stopped by the local church, where we admired the wood work of the pews...



and the lichen and snowdrops outside...



... then took a fortuitous wrong turn and drove back through more lovely countryside...



... to Cirencester.

I spent a little while trying to get used to Flora's PC, to get the blog posted and download some pictures, and was rescued with the latter task by Charlotte's (Flora's daughter, Hugo's mother)friend Richard. I can now, as you see, post some pictures with my narrative.

Late morning, Flora and I walked into the town center,




where she did some shopping at the market while I investigated the local antiques fair (sorry, Ellie, nothing caught my eye!) Time for coffee, then. We found a pleasant coffee shop and were surprised, while enjoying our warm drinks and a shared slice of chocolate chip cake, to find Charlotte and Richard peering in through the window next to us. They are researching coffee prices for the arts center, due to open Saturday, so we went on with them to yet another coffee stop



before heading home for a light lunch or soup and cheese. In the afternoon, Flora drove me out to the countryside again for a truly wonderful tour of some Cotswold villages that I'd never visited before, off the beaten tourist track, without the usual ice cream and souvenir shops. Here's some views...








Lovely villages with lovely names... Winstone, Duntisbourne Abbots, Middle Duntisbourne, Duntisbourne Rouse, Elkstone. And lovely churches, some dating from Saxon times, others Norman and Gothic, amazing, beautiful testimony to the history of this part of the world. Here are some of them...










Oh, here's one where Charles was there before us. Prince Charles, that is...



And back to Cirencester through these gorgeous lanes...





That's all I have time for at the moment. We went out for a birthday dinner at a Chinese restaurant with the improbable name of Mayflower, where we ate well and enjoyed a very pleasant bottle of New Zealand sauvignon blanc. You'll be relieved to hear that I forgot my camera. Collapsed on the soaf before ten o'clock, and went up to bed shortly thereafter.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the beautiful pictures. They were a nice surprise this morning. It felt good to be reminded me of the beauty of the English countryside.

Mark said...

Beautiful indeed. Looks like a wonderful relaxing trip.

lindsey said...

What lovely pictures! Thank you for sharing them with those of us currently enduring the greyness of a mid-western winter!

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

What a charming place! Thank you for sharing.

Eli said...

What a beautiful place! I hope the rest of your trip is as eventful and exciting.

They call him James Ure said...

Stunning pictures, beautiful, quaint place. I'd love to have a little cottage somewhere over there.