Around England

Cotswolds – ‘magical uniformity’?


We’re on a carpet jaunt (B’s laying a carpet for a monkey. I’m the mate). So good to get out – been in Suffolk exclusively for too long.

A leaflet says of the Cotswolds:  ‘Above all, the local honey-coloured limestone, used for everything from the stone floors in the houses to the tiles on the roof, has ensured that the area has a magical uniformity of architecture.’

The magical uniformity is bizarre, not only the ‘honey-coloued limestone, but they’ve all used the same Farrow and Ball Cotswold green for the paintwork. And it’s not compulsory – they must all like it. May be their community village shops do not struggle with the ‘not everyone likes marmite’ syndrome, we in un-uniform suffolk are blessed with.

All the women are blond. You can imagine them on horseback, with their long legs. Men dressed in sand coloured trousers (matching the limestone). (My own belly feels huge.)

We walk along the Windrush – a tributary of the Thames. Climbed up a single track lane to a generous green sword of grass, which led to a church sitting peacefully in a landscape field. St Oswalds. Opening the door, the heady church smell – mix of old church and wild flowers, picked and placed by unseen women’s hands.

Box pews, presumably one for each family and one had a feeling caste would be adhered to here. Servants at the back.

We passed by two creaking willows, pollarded and ancient, with a hazel and wild rose growing out of their semi hollow trunks.

All around us, the sweet smell of the Linden trees. They line the entrance road to Burford – famous for it’s Costwold beauty.

Our evening meal was one of those Barry Disasters – wrong from the start. Wrong menu, food arrving too fast. Indeed our Belly of Pork was an expensive dogs dinner. (He naturally did not complain)


We walked from Lower Slaughter – where we shopped – to Upper Slaughter where we churched. Upper Slaughter is one of the ‘thankful villages’. It’s men served loyally in two world wars but there were no deaths. So there is no war memorial.

Saint Marys Swinbrook – where the Mitfords lay: Pamela, Diana, Unity, Nancy. Inside an amazing bizarre three reclining men, fully clad in armour, laying on their sides, hand supporting head, pointed beard.

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