For my third weekend in the UK, Jason and I rented a car and drove out to the Cotswolds. This region was on Jason’s short list of places to visit, and it certainly lived up to it’s picturesque reputation!
We first drove to Chipping Camden, touted by Rick Steves as the most picturesque. It was lovely! We walked around enjoying the old market covering, the church (which had a wedding going on at the moment, so we didn’t go inside), and the homes.
After a tasty lunch at Eight Bells…
we went back to the antique store we found earlier so Jason could buy all the things.
You see, Jason has become quite taken with blue and white pottery. Enough so that 1) upon my arrival in London, he gave me a tour of his pottery and lecture on the various patterns prior to offering me the use of the restroom, 2) he spots and dashes over to store windows with blue and white china with a speed and accuracy I’ve only seen him give to Belgian waffles, and 3) did you know there is an opera written in the early 1900’s based on the “mythical” blue willow pattern? I do. Because of Jason.
I truly hadn’t planned on buying anything myself as I was in the market for a butter dish and tended towards a more modern aesthetic. Then I spotted this wee sugar bowl:
and, well, two weeks of eating off of Jason’s collections of dishes and decanting milk into his blue-and-white pitcher rubbed off on me. I slipped it into the pile of china Jason had amassed on the shop proprietor’s desk so I could take advantage of the discount he was in the process of negotiating.
“Early 1900’s!” the shop keeper declared as she wrapped my bowl.
I have my doubts about that….
China safely wrapped and stored in the car trunk, we drove over to Hidcote Gardens. Hopefully Jason will post an illustrated essay soon explaining just why they’re so awesome. I shall just give you lots of pictures of pretty flowers:
SO MANY PRETTY FLOWERS!
which Jason glared/posed at:
We stayed until closing, then drove off to find more flowers because the lavender fields were in bloom:
It was a little tricky to get photos since the official field visiting hours were over. I got this one by having Jason pull over to the side of the road so I could cross and peek on tip-toes over a barbed-wire fence. The best-viewed fields were actually being harvested while we watched:
We drove onwards to a gastropub for a delicious dinner:
then wandered around another village peering in the closed shop windows and over walls to peek at private gardens. We also stumbled across a place that claimed to be the ‘oldest inn in England’ with a starting date of 954 AD.
954 AD. Jeez. America is such an infant of a nation.
With the sun set, it was time to drive back to the big city. All in all, it was a very pleasant day in the country.