Waking Up in the Cotswolds

Two years ago Kevin and I found ourselves with a week in the Cotswolds. We had nothing much planned so we explored. On a Sunday, we drove to Lower Slaughter and walked the foot path following the River Eye to visit Upper Slaughter, a popular walk I had read about.

We walked up the hill and into St. Peter’s Church. It was empty. We sat on the second pew and had communion together. Just the two of us. I loved this little town and thought if I ever came back, I would want to stay here. Somewhere in the middle of a small village with a church and a stream and footpaths and sheep baaing in the fields. 

My parents were suppose to be on this trip, but Mom broke her hip just three weeks before and was unable to go. We went on with plans as it included one week with Kevin’s parents.

But now, two years later…. Mom and Deddy are mended and were looking for a trip, Kevin suggested I go with them on our originally planned Cotswold trip. That got my heart all spinning inside and took five minutes and two phone calls to get the plans started.

Our traveling party included me, my mother in law, Pat (who loves all things England) and my parents. I started making plans last fall. Researching and reserving.

We picked the end of May because it wouldn’t be too hot but flowers would be blooming. And they were! 

Then we picked a week when there was an Antique Flea Market so we could shop with Annie. And I love a good flea market. (more about this later)

I remembered Upper Slaughter and so searched for somewhere to stay there and found the  No. 8 Square cottage. It’s a small village so I was really excited to find it. Charming with three bedrooms, a kitchen, a den and two bathrooms and the sweetest little garden. Self catering. The grocery store in Stow on the Wold not 10 minutes away. (I didn’t look for a Bed and Breakfast, but I would recommend them, especially if this is your first time to England, as they can give you sight seeing advice, and it’s really interesting to meet the hosts and other travelers, and the breakfasts are delicious)

No 8. Square. Mom and I shared the twin room and that was our window. 

Our cottage and rental car (used hertz booked through auto europe)

This is my first time to rent a cottage in England and it was really nice to have a whole house to ourselves. It was quiet, comfortable and we felt at home.  We ate out usually at lunch and then brought sandwiches home from the market for dinner. None of us were particularly big breakfast eaters so we just had yogurt and fruit. The kitchen was equipped with a french press so we regularly had good coffee. On the second day, we found a cake had been left for us in a tin and so we had this with coffee or tea most every day.Our kitchen windows.

I loved having a home base like this because you didn’t feel like you had to leave to see something else. We did go somewhere everyday BUT this was home. We spent our afternoons winding down and walking out our door to be in a village that others drive to come see.

We got to experience the ebb and flow of the day, the “busyness” of day time visitors giving way to the quiet sweetness in the evening.  We watched the elderly next door neighbor leave to tend his garden early every more and again late afternoon, stopping to chat with us, making us feel welcomed. His sweet voice I can still hear.

I visited the church everyday looking for these two. I believe they heard the crunch of my feet on the path and came out to see me. They had little bells around their necks giving the birds an extra head start while being stalked. 

We walked the footpaths and the village streets every afternoon, always noticing something we missed the day before.

We met neighbors and listened to their stories.

And we watched the progression of the poppies from our kitchen window….discarding their armor and unfolding into the sunshine. Never knew the birth of a poppy was so interesting. 

On Sunday morning we walked up the path to the church and sat on the very pew Kevin and I had two years before. We shared communion together. We have much to be thankful for and blessing enough for a lifetime.

I look over these pictures and find it hard to believe I was there. I saw this. I smelled the sweetness and my shoes step on those worn stones, I felt the breeze and heard the sheep. But it’s all there. Every single picture  I took in Upper Slaughter. It’s just an incredibly beautiful and quaint place. It beckons to me.

Katey

 

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28 thoughts on “Waking Up in the Cotswolds

  1. Oh, Katey, thank you for sharing this beautiful experience with us! What a magical time, so glad your sweet parents got to go! Each & every photo is a little work of art

  2. you lead a truly glorious life! it warmed my heart to see the photos of your mama and deddy finally there experiencing that beautiful part of the world. knowing how you operate, i can imagine what a lovely itinerary and accommodations you had. i must admit being very envious of these trips you make, as petty as that seems… but am so happy for you as well!! all so very beautiful….. xo

    • Oh Nina, It was a dream to TAKE that picture of my parents. Its memory feels like a dream. I thought about you a lot especially that one particular day…or maybe two or three days!!! Thank you for your love. Katey

  3. How beautiful in so many ways! The time you got to spend with your parents in this special place and all the memories you made with them. The quietness of the day with only birds, sheep and water heard in the background. Just makes me want to “…be still and know…”. I can feel God’s presence in each picture and video. Thank you for sharing!

    • I always feel closer to God when I travel and especially outdoors. I tried to spend some quiet time each day somewhere out there and reflect on Him. Thank you for your kind words and thoughts. Katey

  4. Oh my. Dear Katey. You captured our stay in Upper Slaughter perfectly! It was the most perfect trip; being together, seeing God’s glory in His creation. And the villages created so long ago that sustained life so different from our own. Thank you for all your planning for us to enjoy . In my heart forevermore!! Love, Mum

    • It doesn’t even seem real when I look at these pictures… did I photoshop us in? I love that trip! Yes forevermore in my heart too. love you dearly. katey

  5. Katie, it is even more beautiful than I would or could imagine. The flowers, the greeenery, the homes, the paths, the water streams, the church, all sooo amazing. Thank you for sharing – now I wish I was able to go, and thanks to you, I do have an inkling of the beauty that country has. Love you, thanks for sharing.

    • Jo, it’s hard to capture it all and not be disappointed with the pictures so I’m extra glad I took that video. It brings it to life. Thank you always. Katey

  6. Oh! Katey! What a blessed writer you are. I felt I was there on the cobblestones, and listening to the sweet neighbor and having communion in the church . . .

    • Thank you Dianne. I wish I had videoed our neighbor talking. He had the sweetest voice especially for such a burly man. Thank you for your sweet thoughts. Katey

  7. Oh Katey thank you so much for living my dream! Your words and pictures capture so much of the beauty that I can only imagine as breathtaking. If my feet are never permitted to wander those paths I feel taken there through you! Looking forward to another adventure!

    • Oh Beth thank you so much! I hope your feet are able to go! And be sure and go to a flea market!!!! It is a comfortable place to be and everyone is as friendly as it is beautiful. Thank you for your kind words. katey

  8. Katey, you know envy is a sin, so you have caused a lot of us who have followed you trip through your beautiful pictures to do just that. So envious, jealous, now I just to work hard to get rid of all those emotions. I really had envy when I saw the flea market. Oh well— so happy for you and your family, especially you mum

    • I know how you feel Faye. It’s hard not to be. Maybe you can go and make others jealous! And the flea market is something to behold! katey

  9. Katy-roo, I have relived our trip togther every day since you have posted it and every day tears run down my cheeks and joy fills my heart in thinking of all our adventures. deddy

    • Oh deddy you are just so tender. What a wonderful trip we had together. I sure have missed you guys since we got back. I am so happy we were able to go together and it was all so perfect. katey

  10. It all sounds too wonderful to be true! We were in Australia and New Zealand during this time period, and we enjoyed it thoroughly, but unlike yours, our trip was somewhat hectic. We had three different overnight flights! Next time we want to do what you did–have a home base and make side trips when there is time, weather, and inclination. Your trip sounds like a dream come true, and I envy you your traveling companions!

    • Jeri, those places are on my wish list! I want to hear about it. We did have a lovely trip and it really went so smoothly. Lots of answered prayers. Katey

Thank you for your comments. Love to hear what you have to say!