Sat 9th June Having fun in England
Another wonderful selection of breakfast food at the Mercure and I had the best sleep I have had on the whole trip. Not that I have not slept well as I have been so tired every night, but this was just the best. We have really not seen as much of the Cotswolds as we would like.Today we would be travelling through several towns so hopefully, we will get a real feel for this area. We really must come back to the Cotswolds as it is all just what we hoped it would be. So here we go up to Stratford Upon Avon via Upper and Lower Slaughter. Lower Slaughter was the prettiest by far of all the wee villages we have passed through. A very narrow river meanders through the village to the old mill. Beside this is the loveliest gift shop with lots of intriguing things to take home as momentos. The friendly shop keepers also, making it a neat place to visit. They had really unusual and different wares and most locally made. I think it was the only shop in Lower Slaughter that we saw, but the tiny village had such pretty little houses right by the riverbank and goats in the field by the little narrow country road. We had to cross the stream by a little bridge and walk a short distance back past the field to the car. No where to park in this tiny village but the walk was just so peacefully quiet and the sun had finally come out. We felt so priviledged to have come to this lovely part of the world, where time seems to have stood still for several centuries.
The next little town we drove through was Stanton. The Rough Guide suggested "The only nod to commercialization is the seventeenth-century Mount Inn. A pub hidden away at the top of a steep slope above the village centre offering spectacular views from its terrace". Needless to say, the word Pub sounded nice so we drove through this village with its thatched cottages to the Pub up on the hill, to see the view (and have a cup of coffee too). We got out of the car at the carpark and looked down on the pub's terrace to see a huge ginger cat lying in the sun on one of the tables. Missing Alleycat, our ginger cat, (or Champagne tabby actually) very much by Day 52, I suggested we sit at that table, if he would let us. He was very obliging and we were presented with huge pots of tea and coffee as we sat there overlooking this gorgeous village in the heart of the Cotswolds and stroking the cat. I think the sun shining made this just that little more special too. After a chat with a man who had 2 dogs sitting with him at his table, we left to continue on our journey, really enjoying the warmer weather and blue sky. Amazing how lovely places look in the sun eh.
Next town was Broadway where the weather absolutely did its best for us with a beautiful blue sky and no clouds. This was the first time we had seen this since coming to England so we were very happy. Sitting enjoying the ambiance of this lovely village and eating clotted cream and strawberry and cream icecreams in the hot afternoon, was devine. We even found an excellent score in an opshop for Fleur. For 6 pounds a gorgeous very french styled black and white taffeta dress just screamed out at me that this was definitely Fleur, so it was snapped up very quickly. Yes it fitted perfectly and she loved it too when we visited her in Melbourne on the way home. She looked like Audrey Hepburn in it. I was so chuffed as it couldn't have fitted her more perfectly. No alterations needed by Mum this time.
Ah, another town to visit now. This time Chipping Campton were there is a very interesting wooden market place structure with humpy cobble stoned brick paving. This structure dated back to the 1600's. Once again, we wandered the streets enjoying the unbelievable warm sun here and taking in the ambience of another fine little town.
Off again to the next village of Morton- in -Marsh where we just looked from the car this time as it was starting to get late. This was to be our only night on our whole trip that we needed to find accommodation. Des was starting to get worried we may arrive in Stratford Upon Avon to find no accommodation left. On arrival, I thought he may be right when we first tried at a large hotel to find they were totally booked out with a conference in town. We then did what many of our guests do and went to the Information Centre and booked a B&B for the night. No problems Des. As it turned out, it was the B&B we had seen on our way into town and Des had said he thought that looked a good place to stay. He was happy then. It was called Faviere Guest House (4 star) and very nice with about 6 rooms. We were upstairs overlooking the main road in to Stratford with Edwarian style homes across the road. It was quite close to the town and so off we went to experience yet another Pub dinner, before really having a good look around this noteable town made famous by William Shakespeare. Unfortunately, we were too late to attend the Royal Shakespeare Theatre's production that night of Richard III. That was a real pity as we had missed a show in London at the Globe theatre and seeing any other shows in London too. We will book shows next time so we actually can get to them. All the shops were closed by the time we had had dinner. We were looking forward to the morning and hopefully, more sunshine to enjoy this wonderful town with everything being open, especially Will Shakespeare's birth place which we just had to visit. Also, needing to buy a new memory card as it had run out today and there was such a lot to photograph here in this beautiful place.