Monday, June 25, 2012

Merry Old England, Revisited

 Burford is one of the wonderful villages where we stayed in the Cotswalds. This is our hotel, The Burford House, located on the High Street. It is a beautiful 17th century building, and we were treated wonderfully. We were the only guests, as it is a small hotel, and they were so very gracious to us. Our dinners were elegant. I have to admit that a couple of ladies did put the napkins on their heads. What can I say? They looked like crowns. The owner even brought a life size cardboard Queen Elizabeth out to dine with us. One of the best things was seeing every town and storefront decorated for the Queen's Jubilee. Banners and pennants were everywhere.
 This is the view from our room. We had a stairway that was our own entrance to the courtyard. We stayed for four nights at the Burford House. It was our own little home!
Shopping was delightful. I am always drawn to the bookstores and here I found one of my favorites. This is the Madhatter Book Shop. Who could imagine-a book shop and hatshop in one place!! We could actually try on English hats-big,luscious,flowery hats, and dainty little fascinators. How I wanted one, but being a milliner in my past life at Living History Farms, I actually can make my own. But where would I ever wear it? I think that would be my dream store, if I were to be a shopkeeper. Hats and books-my idea of a perfect combination. I loved the shopping in Burford. I really didn't do a lot of shopping. Now that I am back, I think of things I wish I had bought. My  friend, Gerry, and I had a great time in the charity shops. And the little pharmacies. I am fascinated by the everyday papers and envelopes. I know, easily pleased. Needlework shops are another favorite of mine. I really wanted to buy some yarn as a remembrance of the trip, but didn't find anything. Most shopping was in little bits and pieces, except for the entire day along this street. And of course, there were the gift shops at the historic houses we visited. I found myself spending as much time admiring the buildings and the people as studying the merchandise. I will never get used to the idea that so many of the houses and shops are centuries old. I love it and would live like that if I could. My own little cottage was built in 1918 and always seems very old here in Iowa.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Oh, To Be In England.....

Yes, I was there. Off to England to visit the Queen, and a wonderful visit it was, though she didn't even know I was there. Right off the plane, we went to the Chelsea Garden Show in London. And flowers, we saw. People everywhere, and acres and acres of plants, and flowers, and buildings, and arrangements. Amazing.

This was a large block of foxglove. Almost every flower I could think of had a giant display. I have lots of photos of masses of garden glory. Amazing. Oh, I may have said that before. But it was. Amazing.
The chandeliers were part of a large display designed for the Queen's Jubilee Dinner. I'm not sure which was the winner.

After the show, we had a little tour of London on our coach and then off to the first of many little villages. For the first three nights we were in the village of Inkpen-at the most charming hotel and pub. We were the only guests staying at the Crown and Garter and the hosts couldn't have been nicer.
This was a coach inn in the seventeenth century. I am entranced by the history. In Iowa, we can't even consider the age of buildings like this, yet in England, people actually live in them. Every single day. By now, you must all know what a history geek I am. I am still swooning to think that I was able to walk on floors and touch walls where people actually lived and loved hundreds of years ago. It's the continuity, I suppose. But it gives me a thrill. It really really does. This was the perfect trip for me. I loved every thing about it and I will be sure to give details for weeks so please come back and visit me again as I revisit the Cotswald villages. Some of it is already a blur as I wonder where I was and when. "Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen." (Benjamin Disraeli)