Sunday, October 19, 2014

Bournton on the Water

Yet ANOTHER idyllic village I could move to in a heartbeat...that is, if I could afford to buy even a scrap heap over in yonder expensive England!

 The weather was on my side once again. After ditching my stuff at the B&B (my least favourite of all the 10+ places I stayed at) I headed downtown. I was looking for a place with wifi. My hostess at the B&B didn't exactly give me a warm welcome. "I wasn't expecting you this early" she said. (It was 3:30pm.) She was outside her house and went inside the front door closing it in my face. (I went in anyways). Again - "you're earlier than I expected..." I stood at the bottom of the staircase while she continued to vacuum upstairs. I was tired and wasn't about to go away. I spotted my suitcase in the kitchen so started hauling it up the stairs. The first thing I usually do is put something to charge on my international charger and also test the internet. I couldn't get the internet to work but my hostess didn't seem too concerned about it. I changed and got the hell out of Dodge!
 I was looking for someplace to have a spot of tea while using their wifi. I found a Tourist Info place and for 10p I purchased a list of restaurants/pubs and tea shops that had free wifi. I found a nice tea shop and had my first and last cream tea. Sorry, I didn't think to take a photo. But oh my, talk about creamy!! A large scone cut in half, a large bowl of clotted cream and another bowl of strawberry jam. It was all I could do to swallow all that richness down...thank goodness for endless cups of tea!
 I caught up on messages with Kazi (poor Tisky had been cremated at this point) and explored the village. It was filled with tourists, mostly Asian for some reason.  The light was heavenly shining on the limestone buildings and bridges.
 The entire length of High St. and beyond was bisected by the stream and connected to the other side by numerous bridges. There were ducks galore and benches under weeping willow trees and I sat for awhile and just enjoyed the ambiance.
 I had been getting emails from my tour organizer, Mr. Guppy, and he wanted to buy me dinner to make up for not getting the maps and route maps to me on time. He recommended a couple of swanky spots but wanting to stay connected to Kazi I chose a pub that had wifi instead. To be honest I knew that after that heavy cream tea I wasn't going to do justice to a swanky meal!
 Can you sense my love of these bridges??

 I had spotted something about a "miniature village" in a brochure and then noticed a sign while walking pointing back to this little alley behind the main street.

 Fortunately there was about an hour left before they closed so I paid the fee and went to have a look around.  First I was greet by these two little people :)

 Inside there was a miniature replica of the entire village of Bournton-on-the-Water. What an incredible amount of work and attention to detail!! These building were between 1 and 2 feet tall - they even had the stream flowing down High St.  The same limestone was used for all of the miniature buildings as was used for the real things.

 There were a couple of churches...
 There's the tea shop where I had my cream tea!!
Isn't it amazing?!?

 Tiny tractors...and horses...
 When I got close to one of the churches I could hear a choir singing...lo and behold a tiny little church service was going on inside :)

 What a great idea!

Scroll back up and you'll see that this is where I entered, right down to the statues of the even littler people!!
And as if that wasn't enough there was a model of the village inside the model of the village!!

 I think this was my only meal of fish and chips while in England complete with mushy peas, of course, and one of my favourite beers - Hobgoblin:) I was very pleasantly surprised to find a pub serving this beer - my lucky night!
 This is my B&B - beware!! Don't arrive "early"!

 This is the pub where I ate - you can see the sign for Hobgoblin beer!

 And another sign...can you tell this made my night?
 By the time I was finished dinner it was dark outside and had turned quite cool. I had memorized my way back to the B&B so I headed back. During the evenings I would always write up my journal and watch some BBC and get my clothes and toiletries ready for the next day.

My breakfast left a LOT to be desired the next morning. There was a HUGE black sausage on my plate that smelled rather RANK - it made me feel nauseous so I hid it on another plate under a bunch of napkins so I wouldn't have to look at or smell it.  Even the peameal bacon looked like it had been around for a few days! And the egg was undercooked! I moved things around a bit and ate some toast - that was the best I could do! I was really glad to be on my way!! (I'm sure the yucky sausage was offered to someone else the next day!)

So I am now headed out of the beautiful village of Bournton-on-the-Water. One of the landmarks heading down the road was this B&B called The Mousetrap Inn. I wonder if they serve days old black sausages!

 The directions to get out of town were much easier to follow and as you can see the sun shone down on me once again. I was feeling rather blessed once I got the smell of that sausage out of my nostrils!

 I followed the stream along the road...

 The view in the direction that I was headed was very green, lush and inviting...

 I'm definitely getting out of town now...

 Goodbye Bournton-on-the-Water!!   I'm on my way to Guiting Power with a stop for lunch in Naunton!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Finding OUR Way in Lower Slaughter

Yes, there are villages called Lower and Upper Slaughter! Yesterday I left you while I was sitting on a stile having a snack. The reason I chose to stop there was because there were a few people on the trail and I decided to stop and let them get ahead of me. That, and there were very few places to sit along the way so when I saw one I would take advantage of it.

One of my goals on this journey was to do it all on my own. Find my own way, interpret and follow the maps and route details on my own. Be independent. Build some confidence in myself. Show myself that I can do it. And I did...mostly...though this time I did actually need some help. So...I guess I also learned that it's ok to ask for help when I need it! 

I just loved this tree - it was across from me while I had my snack. I wandered around the field a bit taking photos. 

 Photos of these cows, for example. It's hard to tell but they are on the other side of a fence.
Another view of that amazing tree from straight on and a little closer...

 Off in the distance a lovely farmhouse.
Yet another tree - a friend has told me these trees on their own are called "wolf" trees! I didn't know that!
 Going through a gate - you can see why sometimes it gets confusing - I was on the Heart of England Way but there were 2 other "ways" intersecting at this point. MUST stay on the RIGHT path!!
 You can't see it very well in this picture but the gate isn't just standing on its own - there are wires you can't really see - ohhhhh, an electric fence!!
 To keep these guys contained... I guess I'll keep to the gate!

WOW, another fantastic tree!!
 And there's another gate I think I need to go through but I've been so busy with my camera that I'm not 100% sure I'm at the right spot...
 oooooooh I need a picture of THAT tree!!
 Oh look, the cows are on the move!
They're headed back to their barn I guess, follow the leader!
 At this point I realized I was lost. Well, not really lost...just not exactly where I needed to be. I had walked through a number of fields and a number of gates but my focus hadn't been completely on my map! And I wasn't sure where I had gotten off track!

 I think it was somewhere in the 3rd paragraph:
"Go through FG (field gate) and head towards a KG (kissing gate) (see pic left X) on the far side (ignore track leading to the farm buildings); go through KG by a track; cross the track, through a second KG and bear left to FG. Head across the field to KG in the far right hand corner; in the next field bear right and follow the path towards the field boundary ahead. Before the FG turn left and follow the hedge for 30m to a footbridge on your right into the adjacent field......"

Usually when a photo is inserted into a map it's to help clear up vague instructions and that should have signalled me to pay closer attention! One of the strategies they tell you if you think you're lost is to backtrack until you see something that you recognize from the map and then start again. Well, I didn't really feel like doing that.  After a few minutes of wandering around I saw a couple on the other side of the field. I went over to them and they were trying to follow instructions from his GPS on his phone. They were looking for the hedge and the footbridge too and weren't quite sure where they were.

Between the 3 of us we managed to find a recognizable landmark but we never did find the hedge OR the footbridge.  But it wasn't long before we found our way to Lower Slaughter and were all back on track. We had a nice chat (they were from Colorado) and continued our separate ways (they stopped for lunch and I explored Lower Slaughter before heading to Bournton-on-the-Water).

This is beautiful Lower Slaughter. A lot of the "ways" or "paths" are also "bridlepaths" so horses are allowed on them. I saw LOTS of horses in this area.
 An idyllic little village - I just loved it. I took a little detour to explore...
 Once again I was blessed with sunshine and warm fact it was HOT!!
Wish I could have joined the ducks for a swim - I was hot and sweaty from my journey and carrying my pack.
 This little footbridge has likely been here for centuries!
 I followed the stream....
past this gorgeous cottage...

and found a restored mill!
On the other side of the millstream lay one sheep resting comfortably under a tree...
There's the ancient mill wheel...

 and lo and behold if they didn't have homemade organic ice cream!! Exactly what I needed!!
 and yes, it WAS orgasmic!! I had strawberry cream - nom nom nom :) What a treat after my hour of wandering in the hot sunny fields!
 Time to move on to Bournton-on-the-Water. Today's hike was the shortest but because of getting off the path time was slipping away. I included one more "sheep" photo because of the bird flying upside down near him...

 So many cute cottages...all with their own name...

 The instructions to get to Bournton are very simple - follow along beside the water! I can do that!
And what a lovely journey it was...
I came across such a quintessentially  British scene I just had to snap a photo - there was a fence between me and these croquet players but I zoomed in and snuck the shot! (sneaked?)

Following the stream out of the village...

 Lots more horses along the way...both on and off the path...

 Civilization ahead!
 And now to find my way to High Street - think these folks can tell me the way?

 Getting closer...
YES!! I have arrived!
 How lovely it is here!

 And VERY popular with the tourists. The busiest spot I've been to so far.
 Tomorrow - the sights of Bournton-on-the-Water!!