The Cotswolds Way
When my Dad was a little boy, his father was stationed in the Cotswolds for a while with the US Air Force. The family lived in Little Rissington, and although the posting didn't last long, the stories did. My grandmother had a love of all things English and especially the particular kind of twee-ness one finds in the Cotswolds: Toby jugs, cake on china plates, tea sandwiches and horses. Nana was a real Anglophile and her youngest son--my Dad--had been talking about going back to the Cotswolds for years. So I was thrilled to have a chance to make the trip with him, my Mom and Anne.
We took the train--no car--and relied on taxis and our feet to get us where we wanted to go. We left the iPad at home so Anne could be "part of the chat" as she says, and focus on her time with us and the beauty of our surroundings. On the two-hour ride from Paddington, we read Enid Blyton (we're on the Naughtiest Girl in the School series, which we like, but not quite as much as The Twins at St. Clare's series, which we just finished). And my Dad told Anne some stories. Anne's a city kid, but she's curious about the country and she's a good walker. We were feeling optimistic.
We started our longest walk in Little Rissington, where we found this adorable tiny library in a disused phone box:
Later we saw several others kitted out with heart defibrillators--a great idea.
We had a map from the tourist office, but we managed to get pleasantly lost within about half an hour. Our reward for the extra walking was an abundance of perfectly ripe blackberries:
We walked nine miles, from Little Rissington to Upper Slaughter, stopping in Bourton-on-the-Water, which Anne dubbed "Boredom-on-the-Water." She was getting a little tired by then... We had lunch at the very friendly Mousetrap Inn, and hung around to play a few games with their Jenga set. I love how Anne and my Dad have the same look of concentration.
Mid-October was a terrific time to be in the Cotswolds. We had lovely cool (but not cold) weather, plenty of light for long days of walking, and nothing was crowded. I did feel the locals were a bit burned out after what was no doubt a long and demanding tourist season, but they put up with us anyway! I'm hoping to get back later in the winter for another long weekend of walks and pleasant. cosy cream teas.