Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Lost In The Cotswolds

Today was definitely an adventure. Our plan was to drive our rental car around the northern part of the Cotswolds. It turns out that getting a rental car in England is a bit different than in North America. One of the problems differences is they have inconveniently placed the steering wheel on the wrong side. Melissa was our designated drive since she had some previous experience driving "UK style." They wanted a second driver signed on, so I reluctantly agreed to be the back-up driver but made it quite clear the only way I was getting behind the wheel was if Melissa fell down and broke both her arms.

Another difference was the place where we rented the car. The building had the date it was built carved into the stones on the outside.

Kath had reserved an automatic car months ago, but somehow they had lost the reservation and all that was left was a standard. Not good. Driving on the left is enough of a challenge without having to think about using the opposite foot and hand for the clutch. Melissa gets an award for courage. I think the guy at the car hire was even more nervous than us. He kept showing us features of the car in a way that made me think he didn't really want us to drive away.

This next bit is somewhat embarrassing, but for those of you who have been reading my blog for awhile, probably not a big surprise. We got a bit lost. Melissa was the driver, Kath was the navigator, and I'm not sure what my designation in the back seat was, but clearly I wasn't any good at it. We kept looking for names of villages we should have come to, and road numbers we should have been on. It turns out being lost is very similar to knitting on a project with a serious mistake in it. We just kept going, hoping it would get better. About two hours into it (this would be the knitting equivalent of knitting about half a sleeve before admitting to yourself it really is too big for your new granddaughter since it fits your own arm), we decided to stop at a gas station and ask for help.

It turns out the station we picked had a crazy lady working at it, but she did manage to direct Kath and Melissa over to a nearby garage for help. When I saw them come out of that garage I knew it was bad. They were both laughing so hard they could hardly stand up. Here's why.

See Kath's finger at the top of the map? That is roughly where we thought we were. See Melissa's finger at the bottom of the map? Way down there in the southern part of the Cotswolds? That's where we actually were. The good news here is if you have to pick a place to be lost, the Coswolds would top the list. We saw a little more of the area than we had planned on as we made our way back north, but it was all so beautiful we really didn't mind.

We drove through picturesque villages with names like Stanton,

Chipping Candom,

Stow on the Wold,

Upper Slaughter,

And my very favourite, Lower Slaughter.

 

 

We were introduced to a new food.

We saw a Sheep Street, and a field of sheep.

There were churches and old cemeteries.

It was a day spent driving down country lanes,

A day filled with laughter,

And most especially a day filled with beauty.

 

 

36 comments:

  1. Wow, what a beautiful place! You may have gotten lost but look at all the wonderful things you saw. I'm intrigued by the cob nuts; my husband was just looking at the photo with me and we were struck by how much the hull looks like an ear of corn. Were the nuts like corn in some way? We wondered if that could be why they were called cob nuts. I can tell you're having a great time on your trip and I can't wait to see more!

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    1. The cob nuts were sort of like hazel nuts, but raw. I haven't had time to research them yet. We got back late last night and it was midnight when I wrote that post! You are right - they look very much like mini ears of corn when before they get peeled. But it is a nut inside. The guy had to get a hammer to crack it open.

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  2. What gorgeous photos! I did have to laugh at your 'adventure' I would certainly be the same. And I have heard some great stories of people blindly following GPS' as well, and ending up stuck down pedestrian lanes... so no guarantee that would have been better!

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    1. Ha! Well, we were in direct competition with those people who follow their GPS and end up in pedestrian lanes. :-)

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  3. Those are all the places we went to in the Cotswolds last year! So beautiful - Lower Slaughter was indeed my favorite. I'm so glad you got to see them all - that's exactly where I'd have taken you if I'd been with you! Thanks for the lovely stroll down memory lane :o)

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    1. I remember you telling me about Upper and Lower Slaughter! It's one of the reasons we decided to go there. :-)

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  4. At least you are getting to see something of the beautiful countryside, and you know what they say, never lost just temporarily misplaced. Have fun

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    1. That's great Sue - temporarily misplaced! I am going to keep that on mind as we head out today. :-)

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  5. My mum and dad did their courting in the Cotswolds during the war - and because of the war, all the road signs had been removed - but as you discovered, the Cotswolds divulge their best bits to the intrepid traveller.

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    1. I bet they had some interesting stories to,tell from that time!

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  6. I don't remember how I found you, it must have been the title - you seemed to end up getting lost near to Cirencester according to your map, about 10 miles from my home. As long as you found yourselves again, getting lost can be a bit of an adventure. I am following you now on your further Cotswold adventures, it is interesting to see it from a different perspective.

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    1. Yes! That was the source of the trouble. It's funny to think I was just afew miles away from your home. It's nice to,have you here as a reader!

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  7. The Cotswolds are gorgeous, and your photos bring back memories to me too of the time we drove around that area. Beautiful pictures which will make great memories for you, despite the getting lost bit. We also found in England it was difficult to get an automatic rental car last time we tried it but persistence won out! And, yes, with all those cute, quaint English lanes, we managed to defeat the GPS and get ourselves thoroughly lost too. But it is all so lovely, you don't really care! Looking forward to the next chapter of Kristie's adventures in the UK... xx

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    1. I can see how even a GPS could be defeated by the small country roads! I'm glad you had better luck than us getting an automatic transmission. Kath had reserved one ages ago, but there aren't that many so when they lost our reservation and tried to locate one that day the only one they could find was at a shop many miles away.

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  8. For all the times I've been to the UK....never have I been to the Cotswolds.....but they are at the top of my list now...absolutely gorgeous! I bet you are glad you got lost now :).

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    1. You would love it here Anne! And I think you would like the B&B we are staying at, too. Email me when I get back if you want more info.

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  9. You're there already! And having all sorts of adventures by the sounds. Your pictures are fabulous, such gorgeous countryside. Enjoy!!! Mel

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    1. We are here, and having a wonderful time. I'm sure there will be many more stories and lots more laughs before this holiday is finished! :-)

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  10. Love, love the pictures, Kristie. Have more adventures!

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    1. Thanks Elizabeth! There is no shortage of things to take pictures of so don't worry - there will be lots more! :-)

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  11. "Oh, cobnuts!" I've only ever heard that word as an expletive - had no idea there was actually such a thing as a cob nut, let alone an edible thing.

    What beautiful scenes. Keep them coming!
    -- stashdragon

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    1. I had no idea it was used as an expletive. That's hilarious! Maybe I'll use it next time we get lost. :-)

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  12. You're so brave... well, Melissa is so brave to drive in the UK! LOL. I would be very nervous that I would revert back to my North American driving tendencies behind the wheel. It looks like you're having a lovely trip. The scenery is beautiful!

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    1. Yeah, it is Melissa who is the brave one. I am watching her closely though, hoping to pick up some pointers because when Kath and I get to Shetland I will be driving. Yikes! :-)

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  13. Double yikes to driving in the UK, and driving standard! You guys are brave!
    Don't you love it when getting lost = seeing beautiful places? Somehow it makes it a little less frustrating :)
    Love the photos. Thanks for sharing!

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  14. lol, I was going to ask if there was a Lower Slaughter, but then there it was! I like the "keep going" approach to being lost, for just the reason you mentioned....you get to see places you wouldn't have. I don't think my misdirections have ever taken me through someplace so beautiful.

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    1. I think misdirection can only take you to such beautiful places in the UK. That is pretty funny that you were going to ask about Lower Slaughter. Ha!

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  15. Cobnuts. Here http://www.kentishcobnutsassociation.org.uk/technical-information.aspx and it is Chipping Campden. So lovely, but oh so busy especially during the school holidays. Did you find Bibury? That is very picturesque and the photos are on many a guide book and calendar. Our daughter got married there and we had to elbow our way round the coachloads of visitors inside and outside the church!I often wonder where in the world those photos of an English wedding went.

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    1. Thanks for the link Judith! And sorry about getting the name wrong. I think it might have been one of those nasty auto-correct moments on my iPad. We didn't make it to Bibury, and it sounds lovely. It will have to go on the list for next time!

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  16. You can't really go wrong in the Cotswolds, north or south. It is so picturesque. The Slaughters particularly, and Stow, are much visited by folk from all over the world.

    PS I used to live in Bath :)

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  17. It's terribly easy to get lost in the Cotswolds, even for us British who aren't driving on the wrong side of the road. The great thing about getting lost is that you ended up in such a beautiful part of the Cotswolds, which DH and I know very well, as his mother lives only 3 miles from Stow on the Wold. We've gone for walks around the Slaughters many a time. :-) These are splendid photos, Kristie.

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  18. Our country lanes must be so different to your Highways. Even though you got lost you manage to see lots of the Cotswolds. My grandparents used to live there and your pictures brought back happy memories.
    Sarah x

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  19. I'm so enjoying your trip around the Cotswolds Kristie as you're taking me to some special places too that I remember well but had forgotten briefly until I read your post. Enjoy the rest of your stay.
    Patricia x

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  20. What a great place to get lost! I'm loving your journey!

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  21. Just found your blog, it all seems very familiar as we lived (until a year ago) in the Cotswolds near Tetbury, for 15 years, and before that in the Northern Cotswolds between Tewkesbury and Evesham. all those place names are home! I must say, I hate driving automatic cars on the RHS of the road, I am OK in my own car driving in Europe but put me on the other side and I'm lost!

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