Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Stow-on-the-Wold

We ended up spending most of the day at Blenheim and by the time we got back to Stow everything was close to closing time.
Me: "What time do you close?"
Store Clerk: "Half five."
Not half past five. Just "half five". That's another British thing I guess--leaving out words when telling someone the time. I'm not complaining. I love British accents--all the different ones. I could listen to them all day. Sometimes I almost do, like if I'm on a Doctor Who binge or catching up on Masterpiece.


I couldn't get enough of the phone booths. This is not the last picture you'll see of one. I promise.


The town square.




Anyway, we walked around a little bit, bought Mom some bananas, looked in a couple of gift shops and then decided we should go check out St. Edward's before the church gate got locked up for the evening. The vicar told us we were just in time.

Stained glass window from the 12th century at St. Edwards.

St. Edward's Parish Church


The church itself is a beautiful little parish church (apparently nice enough for the funeral of The Who's bass player, John Entwhistle). It dates back to the 12th century which I think it pretty amazing, but the coolest thing is the ancient yew trees that flank the north door.

Speak friend and enter.
J.R.R. Tolkien used to hike the Cotswolds with a sketchbook and it's said that this door was the inspiration for the Doors of Durin: the entrance to Moria. Yeah. I was pretty geeked out about it.

One of a million pictures just like it.
After taking a million pictures of the door and the yew trees that all pretty much look the same, because I couldn't help myself, we decided it was time to eat again. Once again we were on a weird schedule from the rest of the country and there weren't many options available. We ended up buying some meat pie type pastries and raspberries and a container of double cream (which is not as delicious as it sounds) from the food co-op which we took back to the b&b and ate in our bedroom.


Our sitting room at The Pound. I didn't take any bedroom photos. 
Mom needed to put her feet up, but Anne and I wanted to explore so we decided to go try to find the public footpath that Rick Steve's mentions in his book. We followed the directions precisely: down the alley, through the pea patch, but when we got to the cemetery the gate wouldn't open. Apparently other people had the same problem and had just hopped the wall. It was already crumbling down, but Anne felt like we were doing something really disrespectful by hopping the wall of a cemetery. We couldn't figure out what else to do besides turn around and go back, so hop it we did. We followed the directions the rest of the way and came to a locked gate. Undaunted we headed back the other way to see if we had somehow gone too far. We stopped and asked directions and found out that we just hadn't gone far enough, so back the other direction again.


They used to run sheep down the alleys to the town square on market days.



Community pea patch.

 We finally found the footpath. It went by a field of some green grain that we couldn't figure out what it was, through a cow pasture, past a badger hole, through a couple of fences and into a horse pasture and then we had to turn around because it was starting to get late and we didn't want to be out in dark.


Anyone know what this is? 

There were cows in this field we waked through. It made me slightly nervous, but none of them charged us.


Horses.

The views were unbeatable.



 On our walk back to town we decided to take a different route and we passed the actual gate to the cemetery (not the stuck one). It was wide open. We had to laugh at our own ridiculousness.



Sheep Street, Stow-on-the-Wold
The next morning was Sunday. I had forgotten to print out directions to the church ahead of time and wi-fi was hard to come by in Stow. Our hostess was kind enough to print us out directions and we bid a fond farewell to the Cotswolds. This is one of the areas where I just didn't have enough time to see everything I wanted to. If I ever get back to England I hope I can visit again.

To Be Continued. . .

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