Time in the Cotswolds, Part 4


Inside the tent at the Gifford Circus.

When we last visited with our brave traveler, she was footsore, standing in line and about to attend a circus. Reluctantly. 

Our group filed inside and found a spot on the bleachers. The show started with a hobo type clown greeting folks and dragging along behind him his pet iron, Keith. From that moment onward, the show just got better and better. I’m not sure I’ve been to a circus in my life – at least I don’t recall having done so. But this one was spectacular.

I should mention that they tied all their musical, acrobatic and humorous acts together with a storyline from “the ol’ west”. The name of the show was The Painted Wagon. Can you imagine how surreal it was for me to have travelled so very far and come upon a circus troup full of performers wearing cowboy boots and saloon-worthy dresses and getting the audience to say “yeehaw!” 

I kept shaking my head in disbelief. 

But their performance was so enjoyable, I soon forgave them for their terrible British Texan accents. I was too caught up in the performance to take pictures, so I snagged some pics from Cindy’s FB post. 

Circus digs.


A very silly routine incorporating a few audience members. There’s our Heather sporting a few blonde curls and dancing a jig with another poor fool grabbed from the stands.


Anne flashes me a cheesy grin while I record our presence at this premier event.


A couple of high flying acrobats.


One of the FANTASTIC aerial gymnastic routines.

After the performance, we attended a dinner hosted by the circus. It was in another tent. Great big tables were laid out with flowers and food. We shared our table with a family from Wales and had a great time talking with them. There was also a “hen party” attending the dinner. That’s Brit speak for bachelorette party. They all wore animal print clothes and were about ten times louder and more outrageous than our group. Whew!   

Luckily, Heather arranged some taxis to take us back to the Cowley house afterword. I loved it when we waited at the doors of our taxi, Cindy in front, and the driver said to her “That’s my side, thanks!” 

Can’t remember if anyone stayed down in the sitting room to knit that night. But Anna, I did want to make sure you saw the couch in there. A la Downton Abbey, it had these on both sides:  

The next morning, we enjoyed another fine English breakfast. I kidded with our server so relentlessly that she brought me my very own French press of coffee to put in my thermos. I like those Brits!

We then went over to tour through Sudely Castle, the Home of Katherine Parr. She was the sixth of Henry XIII’s wives and outlived him. Lovely grounds. Beautiful collections.


We left the Castle and walked the few blocks back to the town of Winchcombe, where we caught a bus to our next Hotel in Cleve Hill. For some reason, wee were running way behind schedule. We were supposed to have hiked that afternoon. There was some confusion over whether we would have time. And then we found out that Heather had secretly been trying to find some Cotswold (the breed) sheep for us to see. While she was trying to make arrangements for us to go see this flock of heritage breed sheep, various members of the group were trying to decide if they wanted to see the sheep, go hiking, or just sit and knit and have a pint whilst enjoying the amazing view from our hotel garden outside. There was much deliberating and changing of minds and negotiating with taxi drivers but finally, finally, it all got worked out. We hopped into two vans and drove about a half hour to visit Rob and his prizewinning flock of Cotswolds (called Pickwick Cotswolds, find their group on Ravelry because YES, all things fiber can be found on Ravelry).

You can imagine that I was in heaven. Remember when I went to Italy with Mom and my golden moment was sitting in the Pantheon? Well this was my golden half hour in the Cotswolds. 



 We left the sheep and their shepherd reluctantly and ONLY because the clock was ticking on our taxi fares. Returned to the hotel for a fantastic dinner. I honestly don’t recall what we did that evening after dinner. I was probably still thinking about sheep. It’s likely that we gathered around and oh, I don’t know… Knitted!
Coming up next: Blenheim Palace, driving to Bath, how lemongrass and ginger can smell so very good, and Suzie procures the best hat EVER! Stay tuned..


  1. What amazingly full days you have! And still manage to knit.what was surprising to me about the circus, besides the Western theme, is that s number of the acrobats appeared to be black, which I do not recall in this country.


  2. Those Cotswold sheep were some fine looking sheep. Guessing you didn’t get any tufts to knit with – dagnabit


  3. So, so wonderful! This made me teary eyed. From the rabbit ear couch to the beautiful, beautiful sheepies!! Love it!


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