Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Walk 7: Quenington, The Keepers Arms

The Keepers Arms in Quenington was the starting point for our walk.

Much of the walk was along the scenic River Coln.
Not confident of the route, the wind pump was a sure sign we were in the right place.

Pond in a field, sign of recent flooding. Poor cows!

Flower border, so colorful.
Two step stile, my favorite kind of stile.
More beautiful views.

Wild swans!
Church in Coln St. Aldwyn

Upper Mill on the River Coln

Walk leader stops for a photo.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Leckhampton Hill

We can see Leckhampton Hill from the back of our house, and it has been calling me since we moved in a month ago. When we lived in Woodmancote, we hiked up Cleeve Hill and enjoyed the vistas from atop the hills. Leckhampton is on the other side of town, and I imagined the views must be equally amazing.  One nice evening we decided to finally walk the hill.
We started out on a steep, rocky path and that took us up to a field and then to another flatter track. We were quite a ways up the hill, but couldn't see the way up to the top. We finally found a steep path, and after some careful consideration decided to go ahead. At about 2/3 of the way up we both were on all fours clawing our way up. We finally reach the top, (I was pretty nervous, but relieved) Guess what? There was a well used track, and a man walking a couple of dogs! When we said that there must be an easier way up, he laughed and said that there are paths criss-crossing all over the hill.

I have to tell you, the views were just incredible.


Hay-on-Wye is a little town on the Welsh border and is heaven for book lovers. The town is home to a famous book festival every year in May. There are antique and used book stores lining the streets and some very nice pubs.

Love this town!

Beautiful tile detail on shop front.
Gnome candes in a shop. Couldn't resist taking  a photo of them.

Hay-on-Wye Town Hall

Gift shop.

Hidcote Gardens

Hidcote Gardens

Also on the great BBC, was a program about an American named Lawrence Johnson who came England  with his mother in 1910. He became a British citizen, went to war and when he returned, built the most amazing gardens.  It is 50 acres of every type of garden you can imagine and is located about 30 minutes from us near a village called Broadway.  Andrew had the day off so we took a ride over to see it. 

From wikipedia:  "Lawrence Johnston was influenced in creating his garden at Hidcote by the work of Alfred Parsons and Gertrude Jekyll, who were designing gardens of hardy plants contained within sequences of outdoor "rooms".

Hidcote's outdoor "rooms" have various characters and themes, achieved by the use of box hedges, hornbeam and yew, and stone walls.

Meadow Garden

These rooms, such as the 'White Garden' and 'Fuchsia Garden' are linked, some by vistas, and furnished with topiaries. Some have ponds and fountains, and all are planted with flowers in bedding schemes.

Fuchsia Garden

They surround the 17th century manor house, and there are a number of outhouses and a kitchen garden."

Tuesday, 10 July 2012


On Wednesday,  27 June, I took a friend and her two children (9mon, and 4yrs)  the Cotswold Farm Park. It was a cloudy day but no rain so it was perfect for walking around the farm.The owner of the farm park, Adam, is TV presenter who I have watched. He is on a show called Country File. It's a great show about life on a working farm in the Cotswolds. I was in heaven, with all the lambs, piglets, chicks etc. They have the most impressive collection of livestock, highland cattle were so cool with their long hair, and long horns. There is a great combination of farm and fun with jumping pillows, climbing frames, mazes, tractors for the kids and tons of farm animals. We enjoyed a quiet ride home as both kids fell promptly asleep.
I loved it this farm park. Could this be an employment opportunity?
 Best of all, I drove there and home, no problem!

Saturday June 23
Recently we bought a book on Cotswold pub walks, I may have mentioned in an earlier post. Saturday was looking like a good day to start using it.  Walk # 1 started in the village of Blockley, We had never heard of this town and were curious about it.  The walk was 4 miles, beginning and ending at the Crown Inn. The village is just beautiful.

We got off to a slow start when we didn't follow the instructions closely enough and circled the church yard back to the pub.  Once we got on the right route, we headed up a steep incline passing field after field of sheep with their lambs. I wanted to snatch one and take it home, they are so cute.  Once on the top of the hill we  walk along the hilltop and  then went down into the village of Batsford. There are two interesting things in Batsford. The arboretum houses over 10,000 rare plants and is worthy of a visit at a later time.  Also, there is a stud farm there with some very impressive historic buildings and fields of mares with foals.

While trying to get a photo I came too close to the electric fence and got a shock. I wooped so loud I almost started a stampede,  but worse than that I almost threw my phone over the fence. It must have been quite a site. Andrew said a video of this  would have gone viral on YouTube!
We continued on up and over another hill admiring the views and the wildflowers which included, foxgloves, poppies, Queen Ann's Lace and buttercups. Pretty soon  we were back to the pub had a lovely lunch. Beautiful walk!

 On the way to Blockley we saw a sign that said Royal Enfield Factory Open today 12-5. I got excited thinking it was a china factory, but Andrew set me straight. Royal Enfields are motor bikes.  This facility actually makes the sidecars.

The motor bikes are made in India. When we stopped by there were fifty or so motorcyclist visiting and Andrew had a great time Looking at their bikes.  they were giving test drives on the Royal Enfield bikes, I  tried to get Andrew to sign up, but since he doesnt have his UK license yet he wasn't permitted. .... Next time.

Snowshill. June 24
We are members of the National Oak Foundation, which allows us to visit National Trust properties for free.
The BBC recently had a show about Snowshill Manor. This house is only a short drive from Cheltenham. We have been there before and loved it.

Charles Paget Wade bought the house and surrounding property after he returned from the first world war and soon started filling it up with treasures. He was an eccentric who dabbled in engineering, painting, and a number of other pursuits.

The interesting thing about his collection is everything in is handcrafted.  It is the most amazing collection of curiosities. One room is full of Chinese samurai uniforms,(on scary mannikins) Andrew enjoyed to room of antique bicycles from all around the world. He did not do a lot traveling, he became a notorious collector and people contacted him with possible additions. A music room houses all sorts of instruments.

He didn't live in the house, but stayed in the rustic priests house. The gardens are so beautiful. With ponds and a vegetable gardens, and statues.  He was such an interesting character.  This is a house not to be missed.

On the way out we saw signs for Cotwold Lavendar Farm and decided to take a detour and check it out.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Into the House

Three weeks ago,  we moved into our house. Loaner furniture was delivered ( table, 4 chairs, sofa, chair, 2 tables, lamp,  and bed).  For two weeks we camped out with things we had sent ahead, wineglasses  (of course), one pot, one pan, and various utensils.  We also sent sheets and towels. Camping was fun at first, but soon got old. And we were anxious for our household shipment to be delivered. We took turns calling the base to inquire about the expected delivery date to no avail, it was still on target for July 6. Would we make it? Did we have a choice? Just when we least expected it we got the call, (or email rather) that the shipment was here and ready to be delivered. Would we be available to except  delivery on Friday? Would we ever!   

 Crates we delivered on Friday 29 June, and the movers took only 3 1/2 hours to unload 11 crates and put together furniture. I know you are all anxiously awaiting to hear how the motorcycle did in the voyage, and I am happy to report that it made it just fine!

2 July:  So, here it is exactly one week later, and while pictures haven't been hung, all boxes have been unpacked. No real damage other than two broken martini glasses (probably shouldn't be drinking those anyway) and three other wine glasses. There was also a dent in the ole' brass bed. Our dresser and chest of drawers didn't make it up the stairs, (due to a funny turn at the bottom of the stairway) and must be put in storage, very unfortunate.  Good news though, our bedroom is fitted with some built in cabinets.

Our neighbors, Paul and Debbie, had us for dinner the night of the move, we were so grateful for their kindness. We had a very relaxing evening.  They have two children in their twenties so we have something in common!

The house is new construction, as apposed to Edwardian or Regency we expected, but it is very comfortable and nicely appointed so we are lucky and thankful to be living here. The neighbors are very helpful and friendly, local pubs are great, shops are nice, and the library is terrific, what more could I ask for?
I can walk or bike to any shop I need or Cheltenham Town Center which is a short drive. I have been driving regularly with no wrinkles! I visited a local nursery and put some flowers out front and herbs in the back. It is starting to feel  like home.