Good morning! I’m sitting in a small courtyard behind The Volunteer Inn in Chipping Camden, UK. It’s 5:30 am. I’ve been awake for an hour or so. The sun rises early here and I’m up with it. I’m sitting on a wooden picnic bench. My feet are on grass. It’s quiet except for the chorus of birdsong. Every call sounds vaguely familiar but just a bit off – identifying distant cousins that I should know but have actually never met. There’s some grat b bird on top of a play jungle nearby. He looks like a robin, has a big worm in His mouth but is definitely the wrong color.
please excuse misspellings and whatnot. I dropped my phone yesterday afternoon and have introduced a few big cracks onto the screen covering. Am having trouble getting it to read my touch. Ah, technology…
The flights to get here were long and tedious. As someone who usually sleeps on my side or stomach, I have a hard time convincing my body that sitting upright is an viable option for slumber. Instead, I can occasionally dose. Most of the time I think about how I’d like to be asleep. It’s much like when you are sick and you spend all that time thinking about how you just want to feel better. Oops! Here’s my bird. He has a yellow beak.
Looks like I can only put pics at the end of the post when on my phone. You’ll have to wait for the exciting bird picture. What’s that you say? You’re not interested in pictures of birds? Show us the good stuff already?!?!? Oh Ye of Little Faith….
So a tedious set of flights, during which I didn’t sleep. Did find my group however. A lovely bunch. Knitters, all, but I suspect not knitters only. I’m sure I will get to know them over the next few days. We are ten ladies, including Heather Radl, our tour organizer who owns Rown Tree Travel. We gathered up our luggage on arriving and hustled into a van which drove us the hour or so from Birmingham to Chipping Camden. I was completely zonkered. Everyone was jolly and chatting. I was working hard just to keep myself sitting upright!
We were dropped at our hotels, had a quick moment to drop our luggage, then gathered for tea at a nearby inn. Exhausted, bedraggled but willing, we made our way through tea and scones and sandwiches and (yes, because of Mary Berry and “the male judge” and all the competitors from The Great British Baking Show, I even had to order the cake option of) Victoria Sponge. Then everyone scattered to roam the shops or return to their rooms or do whatever they liked until the agreed time of meeting for dinner at the nearby curry restaurant. I pleasantly, but firmly, notified Our Leader (think that’s how I’ll refer to Heather from now on. As in “take me to”) that I’d not be there for dinner. I had a date with the bed in my room. Big time date. And was soooooo looking forward to it. I started walking back to our hotel.
But then a funny thing happened. Was it the tea? I don’t know. Maybe the Victoria Sponge rejuvenated me. I meant to walk right up those stairs and into my room, undress and crawl under the lovely duvet on that bed. (Our hotel is hardly fancy but the linens are quite nice.) Instead, I found myself wandering past the entryway to my hotel. I wandered up the street a bit, just to look at some of the buildings. They are old, of stone, with slate roofs and leaded glass and ornate iron latches and hinges and door handles. Everything was green and blooming, in tiny bits of bright color against the backdrop of green. I saw great falls of purple wisteria climbing up the old stones. Every few buildings, a narrow walkway led away from the street,offering views of hidden courtyards. Wonderful. I walked down one and found myself at the edge of a great, green field. It was a “green”, edged by stone structures on three sides and sloping upwards, toward a high hill. A small sign said “Public Way”, so I took the path that led up the field. Pretty soon I found myself winding past big country manors. Each sat back from the road and had large sections of green fields stretching away from it. The fields were separated by thick, living sections of green hedges. On closer inspection, I found the hedges were made up of a variety of bushes and plants, most of which I couldn’t identify. I will hereafter refer to them as “shrubbery”.
And dotting the fields, large and small, black-faces and not, shorn and not, large and small, were …yes, I know you were waiting for it: sheep! Yep. Sheep. You can bet I was delighted. Now I know that modern Brittain is not really a land of rolling green hills and sheep anymore. But here, in the Cotswolds, it looks exactly like what you might picture as the English countryside. The rolling hills are divided hither and thither into large pastures (yes, divided by shrubbery) and in every other pasture there are sheep dotting the land. I did see a few cows. But I dismissed them as unimportant.
So, enough waxing on about the lovely countryside. I’ll post a few pictures now, as soon as I remember how.
What happened next? Well, I made that date with the bed and slept like a log for hours. And now it’s the morning. I’ve traveled, I’ve explored a bit, I’ve slept (oh thank heavens) and it’s a fresh new morning. Off to find a cup of coffee. Cheerio!