After being distracted because unpredictable things happen in life, and some you can’t avoid, we decided a break was in order. So we decided to take a trip to the Cotswolds for a rest and to escape the demands of everyday life. The beauty of living in Britain is the ease with which we can easily slip from one style of architecture and landscape to another in a relatively short distance. The colour of buildings very much dictates the county one is in and the whether hills or dale each one has its identity. We were looking for softness and a gentile escape and as a visitor we found it.
I’m sure if you have ever trolled the internet for a Bed & Breakfast you will have found it a nightmare! Each possibility is considered with trepidation and fear of getting it wrong! Afterall this is not a cheap option in the UK, therefore it has to be right. But we got it right, or should I say Alistair Sawday, the oracle of wonderful places to stay did! This is our second venture into Alistairs world of exquisite place to lay your head and we were not disappointed. Wren House is in Donnington just outside of Stow-on-the-Wold and is a little piece of tranquil heaven. As soon as you arrive a calm falls upon you and it’s time to relax. There was nothing to complain about here, everything was perfect, the house, the decor, the wonderful bed and gardens to die for, and the breakfast…..I could go on! Kiloran, our lovely hostess, has just the right amount of helpfulness, but respects your privacy, but is also interesting to chat to, and if you love dogs there are two beautiful friendly labradors, Gigha and Ailsa to welcome you.
After breakfast on our first morning we decided to go to Oxford to visit the Pitt Rivers museum. Oxford is known mainly for its architecture, and rightly so, for this City has an essence like no other I have visited in Britain. Perhaps it’s because it is dominated by the abundance of academic buildings – Colleges, all intermingled with the business of everyday life. Black gowns flowing from the students walking or cycling through the streets, all eager to get to where they need to be. It’s easy to see how one could be captivated by such a place in all its gentle grandeur. We have been to Oxford before to see the magnificent display of snakes head frittilarys (flowers) at Magdalin College but this time we wanted to see the Pitt Rivers Museum. It has interested me for some time because it is like no other Museum I have been to. Sometimes Museums can be a bit boring but this one is a gem crammed full of curiosities.
First of all you are struck by the design and structure of the building, the vast pillars of steel and wood offering the visitor different levels to view the oddities contained within. On the second level the skeletons of prehistoric beasts hang as if in flight from the roof of the building. The sheer size of some of these mammals is breath-taking and there are so many I have never seen or heard of before! If all museums had this much imagination they would always be full!
We spent sometime looking around the area you can see above, the earth sciences section, un-aware that there was so much more a few steps down at the back of this picture. Upon entering the semi darkness which is in contrast to the bright space above, the enormity of the lower part of the building came as a complete surprise. It is crammed with fascinating anthropological curiosities on three levels, the second two looking down to ground level. By now we were tired and did not spend as much time as we would have liked exploring each cabinet. My camera struggled with the light and its not advisable to use flash in such places, but my phone coped well, so pictures from this part of the museum are on my Instagram pages.
I could never do the Pitt Rivers Museum justice, but if you ever have the opportunity to go I would recommend it, it is truly an experience not to be missed. After our long day in the City we headed of towards the park and ride bus but were taken by a restaurant called Nosebag, recommended by a lovely lady stood close by as we were looking at the menu. The meal was excellent, vegetarian lasagne and aubergine tagine, both with lots of interesting salad. Full and tired we set off home for a good nights sleep ready for another day of adventures.
Our next day we decided on a more leisurely day and headed for the Village of Chippen Camden and took a walk around the church there. The gates were the most interesting and very grand, although the church also was large for a small town, though I suspect it has always been wealthy.
It was a pleasant walk, although the wind was keeping the warmth of the sun in check but we still walked around the grave yard and found a gravestone which I loved. The simplicity of design is beautiful and although old, seems so contemporary with the owl carved at the top on an off centre curve.
We drove through the countryside and saw fields full of poppies and rapeseed and as the sun came down the light was enchanting, like a scene from The Darling Buds of May!
So many beautiful scenes around every corner!
The evening was drawing in and it was time to go for a meal at one of the Inns Kiloran had recommended but not before Andy caught me windswept amongst the nettles whilst trying to catch the evening light, please forgive the hair!
There’s so much to tell you, but for now it’s time for a cup of tea and a cuddle with Alfred……oh yes, and the man in my life!