Greeting from the UK on Easter 2018
After almost eighteen months of planning, we’re finally off to Jolly Old England. A couple of small going away parties preceded our Thursday afternoon departure from LAX.
Our flight was uneventful and on time. We arrived at Heathrow about noon on Friday, and despite it being a “bank holiday” (more on that later), the crowds were pretty light. We shuttled off to Hertz to pickup our wheels, which turned out to be a very nice and brand new Vauxhall Mokka X 1.4, sort of like a Honda CRV. Six speed manual (on the wrong side of course, but at least the pedals are correct). Driving it was not too bad, my “stay left” instincts kicked in pretty fast, though I have to watch the tach for shift points as there is no Jag exhaust note to warn me when it’s time for an upshift (instead a little light on the instrument cluster does the job).
Out on the motorway was a different matter. Seems all of England enjoys a three day holiday at Easter and everyone is going somewhere. The traffic reports on the radio pretty much said it’s jammed from London to Manchester!
What should have been a 90 minute drive to the Cotswolds took almost three hours. Oh, and did I mention it was raining cats and dogs?
Upon reaching our cottage, we were pleased to find the heat on and things remarkably cozy for a two hundred year old schoolhouse.
Negotiating the very narrow driveway required folding the mirrors in to pass the ancient bread oven (above left) which apparently was installed when only a small carriage had to pass through. Nosing out into the traffic is a matter of “a hope and prayer”. Seems the locals know of this blind entry and mostly drive carefully along our street. The picture above really doesn’t do the tight squeeze justice. In actuality the clearance is less than an inch or two on each side.
That’s the landlord’s place above, complete with thatched roof.
Our little cottage, above, looks a bit forlorn at the moment, but should be beautiful once the ivy begins to grow back. There are few signs of spring here, except for beautiful patches of spring daffodils which are starting to show. The next few weeks should bring a big change.
For dinner we toddled over to the only pub in town, the King’s Head. Fortunately, this place is rated one of the Top Pubs in England for both food and atmosphere. Unfortunately, we were informed that it was “fully booked” for Friday dinner! We played the “silly American” card and they fed us anyway. Good thing, as we were totally without supplies at the cottage.
Saturday we were off to find the necessities for our little house. Our landlady pointed us to Daylesford, which turned out to be an extensive organic farm market with a vast array of locally raised food, including meats, breads and a wide array of fascinating snacks. After another stop at Tesco (a more traditional supermarket in Stow), we were fully stocked and prepared to hold out until Monday when things at the King’s Head should be back to normal.
So much for our day to day activities, mundane, but necessary. Despite more rain on Saturday, Easter Sunday dawned without a cloud in the sky. Surely today will require a road trip. We passed so many cute villages on our way in, we will have no problem entertaining ourselves today.
More later in the week. Saturday I am attending a Jaguar XKE “Tech Session” at the British Motor Museum in Gayden, about an hour up the road. A report will follow.