Thursday 15 May 2014 69 °F
Today was our first quiet day on the road. No museums, no castles, no cathedrals. Just the countryside and the bleating lambs.
We are staying in the charming village of Chipping Campden. It's still on the tourist circuit, but not really a destination town. More of a "drop off a huge busload of tourists for one hour" kind of town. At night and in the morning it's delightfully quiet. Except for the sheep.
Yesterday we mentioned that we are staying in a B&B that is a manor from the 1600's. This is no gut and rehab job. It's the real deal with cracks in walls, huge stone fireplaces, and floors so slanted it would be impossible to play a game of marbles. The home and property have been in the same family for centuries, and in fact, it's a branch of the family who lives in Highclere Castle of Downton Abbey fame. We keep expecting Maggie Smith to enter the room and judge our casual attire with pruned lips.
Downton Abbey, but with a trampoline in the backyard
The manor has a slightly antiquated showering system. The huge cast-iron tub comes with a handheld showerhead that resembles a telephone receiver from the 1900's. It has required that Henry and Dave figure out how to take a bath. No, Henry. Skipping is not an option.
This morning all five of us took a walk across the English countryside on the Cotswold Way, a famous hiking trail that connects Chipping Campden with Bath 100 kilometers away. We hiked only for the first three hours, but the walk took us to a lookout on a hill with a fabulous 360-degree view of farms and villages with Wales in the distance.
At this point, we should give Pearl some credit. Even though she can sometimes pull the grumpy routine, without fail, she is a fantastic walker. Pearl never complains about distance or speed walked. And that's impressive considering that we are a long-legged, fast-walking people, and her legs are, well... short. As long as she can chat your ear off, Pearl is a happy girl on a long walk.
In the afternoon, Dave and Henry continued the walk through the bucolic countryside, and Sue, John, and Pearl stayed back at the manor for clarinet practicing and relaxation(?)
Vacation from our vacation. A quiet day is a good thing.