Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Goodbye, England

England is at an end. We have tunneled beneath the sea to France, night-trained to its southerly reaches, and are now basking in the Mediterranean sun (well, moon currently, but let's not nitpick). But none of France today. Today, England!

More Cotswolds. Famous Arlington Row in Bibury, "most photographed houses in England," or so they claim. Something like that. Incredibly picturesque:

Also, teeming with swans. Swan infestation.

Not just swans. CYGNETS!!!

Truth in advertising, I guess, since we did stay at the SWAN Inn. (Which is so beautiful. Stay there. Look at it. I mean, look. Next pic taken from a tiny island on the property, next door to which there is a trout farm. Egads, it's all SO PRETTY.)

For a few days we were on a streak of staying at inns with animal names: in Woodstock, the Bear. In Bibury, the Swan. In Great Rissington (near Bourton-on-the-Water, one of the famous Cotswolds villages, which, dear god, skip it. So hokey.) the Lamb. 

We liked the Lamb. It was a titch shabby, but in a nice way. Unlike the Swan, there were no real lambs gamboling about. Well, there was lamb, but it was not gamboling. It was, em, in burger form...

(So yum.)


Sudeley Castle:

The wife who outlived Henry VIII, Katherine Parr, died here. We rushed a bit through the exhibits (four-year-old in tow and all) so don't ask me any questions. Clementine did learn some Henry VIII history, though. There were mannequins of all the wives, dressed in beautiful clothes, and most of them were generic mannequins, but Katherine Parr was special and had an actual face, and so did Henry, at his puffiest and bloatiest and looking nothing at all like Jonathan Rhys Meyers. Jim read C the placard about his "ulcerated legs" and how Katherine Parr soothed and calmed him and even held  his gross legs in her lap, and so later Clementine's poor teddy bear Leon found himself suffering from ulcerated legs...which she cured by stealing a magic pearl from a dragon and surgically implanting it in his belly. 

I bet Katherine Parr never tried that.

Katherine Parr's tomb:

Gorgeous place. It was mostly destroyed by Cromwell's army, and restored in the Victorian era by a glove fortune. By which I mean a private fortune made in the manufacture of gloves. So thank you, gloves, for Sudeley Castle. 

There was a youth equestrian event going on while we were there!

Clementine, all day, kept saying things like, "This is the closest I've been to a swan in MY WHOLE LIFE!" and "This is the closest I've been to a horse in MY WHOLE LIFE!" Ditto peacock. Ditto owl (and wow, the kid does a mean snowy owl call, who knew?). It's like we deprive her of animal encounters.

We loved driving around the tranquil backroads of rural England. They're timeless. Amazing. And I'm reading Cider With Rosie by Laurie Lee about growing up in a tiny Cotswolds village in the aftermath of WWI, so evocative, such gorgeous writing. If you want to read something that creates an intense sensory portrait of a time and place, read it. 

This is the Broadway tower. Just walking around on grassy hills was somehow magical. I think the sky show had something to do with it. Those clouds. Also, there were deer! Really a lovely outing.

We ended the day at our first non-animal-named inn, Charingworth Manor, outside of Chipping Campden. Loved the shambles-y atmosphere. Doesn't it look half-abandonded? It was nice inside, and even has a giant indoor pool, which we did not use. 

Clementine made a bunch of daisy rings on the lawn, and decided to try to sell them to the fairies, so she made a sign and left it on the windowsill, announcing their price at 10 p. each.

Overnight, faeries bought out her whole stock!

The sky continued crazy:

Farewell, England! We hope to see you soon!



Laurence King said...

I am living vicariously through you at the moment, you know that, right? All those travels to my favorite places...have fun XO

Anonymous said...

Wow. Laini your trip was so cool! :3

Cheyenne said...

Stunning photos! I've lived in the UK for 7 years and haven't managed to capture the Cotswolds yet :) But those clouds *shudder* ... the grim greyness that is 90% of days here is the thing I struggle with most. I miss NY summers and Northern California winters. Hope you had an amazing time!

June said...

Nice photos.Next time you must see Norfolk, Stratford Upon Avon, Cambridge and York. Loving the third book right now. I'm getting nothing done at the moment because I can't put it down. Thank you for this beautiful story!

June said...

Also please make the film as close to the book as possible! I pray they won't screw it up like the Mortal Instruments film. Even Jonathan Rhys Meyers could save it :'(

amy said...

Oooh! So much fun to see and read these travel posts!

June G said...

Oooh...I went to England a few years ago and it is picturesque and awesome. I hope to make a return there again too. Thanks for the gorgeous pictures.

Anonymous said...


MariaB said...

You went to Sudeley ! I live about 2 miles from there. You all could've popped over to my house for cream tea :-)
Glad you enjoyed the Cotswolds

Kyz said...

I love your travel pics and cant wait til you come to New Zealand!

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