Notes from an English Country Village


I’ve been experimenting and there is either 2 photos above or a lot of gobbledygook. If it’s 2 photos then one is a photo of our hotel in Limpley Stoke, the other has Cheryl posing in the window of our room with a cup of tea in hand.

If it’s gobbledygook, then don’t worry.

Yesterday we made a traumatic exit from Bath, heading for our B&B in Boughton-on-the-Water. Traumatic because we had no idea which way to go, we only had large scale maps and we didn’t trust Geeves (our GPS).

We circulated through the city 2x before we decided to give Geeves his head and followed him – somewhat nervously. Surprisingly, he actually got us out of the city. Wherein we rewarded him by ignoring him for some time – to our cost.

At one stage, when we thought all was going well, we came across a sign saying the road we were heading North on was closed for repairs and we needed to take the M4 – that’s a major highway with trillions of cars on it!

It said take the M4E – but we only had 100 yards in which to make a decision, so we veered in true Toad of Toad Hall style onto the M4. Only trouble was it was the M4W. We then realized that E = East and W = West. Oops, 180 degrees the wrong way. Suddenly we were headed for Southern Wales!

We managed to find a service centre and there Cheryl asked for directions (well, I wasn’t going to was I?). A significant detour and about an hour’s worth if extra driving later and we were closing in on our destination. Cheryl insisted on buying two bottles of Shiraz and two straws – we both needed and deserved them!

After a good night’s sleep we ventured onto the narrow roads in the Cotswolds again, with much more faith in Geeves, and he didn’t let us down. Today we visited Chipping Camden – don’t they have great names. Here’s some of them:

Upper Slaughter, Lower Slaughter, Stow-on-the-Wold, Moreton-in-Marsh, Nether Westcote, Ampney Crucis, Shipston-on-Stour, Upper Swell, and many more…

CC was wonderful, had coffee then on to Hidcote Manor. You should Google it. We were introduced to HM by my friend and former boss Angela King and her husband Brian via a DVD they loaned us. It was brilliant.

Cheryl walked around in a daze, sketching madly things she seen in paintings, photos and in film for years.

We thought we’d finished the day with a visit to the town Broadway (lovely), then Cheryl accidentally sat on her glasses. An emergency dash to Eversham, some TLC from a very helpful Optometrist and we relied on Geeves to get us home again.

A stressful end to a wonderful day requiring the application of medicinal Jacobs Creek Shiraz. Thank goodness for medicine!

Tomorrow we visit Upper & Lower Slaughter. If I show Cheryl as much sympathy again as I did when she sat on her glasses, then the towns may well live up to their names!


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17 Responses to Notes from an English Country Village

  1. Alex Wegman says:

    Sounds like you’re having a fun time, guys.

    Sat Navs (a.k.a. GPS gadgets) are useful things to have, and a good complement to old fashioned map reading skills. The M4 is widely regarded as one of Britain’s more boring motorways, offering fantastic vistas of Slough, Swindon and Ikea Bristol. Those who travel between London and the south west may choose to take the slower but slightly more scenic A303, past Stonehenge (Live in the UK for any length of time and some degree of `road-geekiness’ soon builds up).
    Somerset and surrounds is a nice area. We live in Poole in Dorset, bordering Somerset, Devon, Wiltshire and Hampshire – close to the fantastic walking on the Jurassic Coast – and in my various travels I’ve seen a good bit of the area around Bath, Bristol, Yeovil, and have done some caving in the Mendips (but I’ve not actually been to Wookey Hole). My wife Emma has grandparents who live in a thatched cottage in an old village in between Yeovil and Dorchester.

    • jimrobwilson says:

      You’ve certainly picked a magical place to move to Alex. We love it here and continue to be surprised at how open much of the place is. Driving through the Cotswolds yesterday was just like driving around the back of the NW Coast of Tassie. Undulating hills, green paddocks, lambs all around the place and the fresh profusion of growth and riot of colour of Spring.

      Thanks for the driving tips.

  2. Jennifer says:

    Take the S off Slaughter and what do you have ?
    And lots of it from learning of Cheryl”s mishap with her glasses.
    I’m sure it wasn’t all that funny at the time but I”m laughing .
    Said I”d pray for no pain in your teeth Cheryl !!!!
    Take care xox

  3. Tim O'Loughlin says:

    Arrr Jim, interestingly only 1 photo with the story, the one of the building, no gobbledegook. Perhaps over ministration of the medicinal shiraz via straw led you to head west rather than east! Always trust your gps in strange places! Sounds like a great holiday so far, hope your cold is better and that Cheryl has enough sketch books!

    • jimrobwilson says:

      You could be right Tim. Once posted I realised there was only the one photo, maybe a tad too adventurous for the 1st attempt! Thought cold was getting better but had a bad night last night, fingers crossed that it was the cold’s last hurrah! C has already said she might need to limit sketches to fit them all in. I said, get another book! Sensible lad I am….

  4. BILL PERRY says:

    You two are having a great time. Part of the adventure is to ocassionally wander off the planned route. (except on motorways). What’s this business about taking the mickey. I never do that to you Jimbo! Have fun, relax and stuff the GPS!

  5. Janet says:

    Just wondering where one would wear a Nether Westcote…

  6. Greg Bain says:

    Geeves… Of course a GPS with a name like Geeves should be trustworthy!! I’m surprised he failed to discreetly inquire about possible roadworks in the area.

    Glad you are thoroughly enjoying all that you see and experience.

  7. Pete says:

    Hi J&C

    ‘Tis great reading of your marvellous adventures each day, maybe a Bill Bryson-like travellogue is in the making….?

    I reckon you should trust Geeves implicitly, we have found him to be a marriage saver when in highly stressful unknown climes!

    Have a great time. Not at all envious, not at all…..

    P&C x

    • jimrobwilson says:

      Very astute of you Oig. We loved the comment above your marriage saver – a GPS no less!

      I’m pleased the descriptions of the wonderful time we are having is not making you jealous. That would be the last thing I would desire for you…

  8. Tim O'Loughlin says:

    Helen here, it’s 4.30 in the morning & I can’t get back to sleep! What better time is there to comment on your blog! I am really enjoying reading it . I almost feel like I’m there with you. You have a most entertaining writing style Jim. Glad that your glasses were able to be mended Cheryl & that you are keenly sketching. Look forward to seeing them. Yes aren’t the place names so eccentrically english!
    Keep on having fun on your marvellous adventure & trust in Geeves.
    love Helen

  9. jimrobwilson says:

    G’day Helen, it’s 9:50pm here, just back from an excellent pub meal with Jean & Alastair Richardson. Thank you for the kind comments re my ramblings, you have impeccable taste and I can think of nothing better for you to do than read the blogs at this time of the mng!!!!

    Cheryl sketches on, make sure you make her show them to you on our return. She tends to hide her light under a bushel! Off to Tintagel tomorrow – Camelot Castle. You should Google it. Also visiting Port Isaac – Doc Martin country.

    Now to sleep and hope you get back there too!

  10. esther smith says:

    Dear Jim and Cheryl,
    Am most envious of the photoshot taken with Martin Clunes; I’m surprised Jim didn’t try and get one of the ‘wench” who is the secretary!! Great reading the blog especially in conjunction with Alistair’s! Send some more piccies Jim… We especially laughed at the first comment sent after 40hrs flying and no sleep…:) Continue to have fun and keep us posted. EJ and Allan

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