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.