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Ross Kemp said, “When the weather’s good, there’s no better place to be than the British Countryside.” Last fall Mr. Arnold and I were lucky enough to be blessed with a day like that. We were driving past the rolling deep green hills on a crisp cool autumn day of a bright blue sky filled with fat puffy glowing white clouds while roaming around the Cotswolds.
The Cotswolds are a rural countryside comprising of six counties in Southcentral England about an hour and forty-five minutes outside London. A visit to the Cotswolds can easily be a day trip. Since the Cotswolds are very romantic and cover an area of 2,038 square kilometers, Mr.Arnold and I opted for a long leisurely visit that would allow enough time for sleeping in, wandering around, extended English ale and Gin, and Tonic sessions with plenty of flirting. We chose our base in Bibury, England and stayed in the Cotswolds for a week.
The Cotswolds have so many little villages and towns to explore it can be difficult to pick and choose. A good place to start is Burford, often referred to as the gateway to the Cotswolds, also ranked sixth in 2009 by Forbes magazine as one of “Europe’s Most Idyllic Places To Live”. The picturesque setting of Burford provides the perfect place to get acquainted with the Cotswolds.
As Mr. Arnold and I were blessed with beautiful weather in the English countryside. We headed to Burford. Situated in the center of the town was a restaurant- pub, The Mermaid at Burford, and with a gorgeous blue sky, we couldn’t resist the outdoor picnic tables. We ordered English ale, wine, and “the best around Steak and Ale pie”.
Mr.Arnolds golden hued English Ale glowed brightly as the sunshine passed through while we waited for our steak and ale pie. We were entertained with the local legend of the little town. The local tale is a story of Sir Lawrence Tanfield of Burford Priory and his wife flying around town in a fiery coach. A curse is cast on anyone who sees see it. Supposedly the visitations of Sir Lawrence and his wife ended when a man of the Clergy performed an exorcism and captured Lady Tanfield’s ghost in a glass bottle, corked it, and threw it into the River Windrush. During times of drought, superstitious locals would fill the River Windrush with buckets of water so that the corked bottle full of Lady Tanfield’s ghost would not rise above the surface and free her spirit.
When our billowy flaky steak and ale pie arrived. Mr. Arnold and I took one bite and agreed it is “the best around”. As we enjoyed every last bite we surveyed the area. Burford is full of tempting shops. Our shopping started at The Oxford Shirt Company, and the helpful dapper salesman provided me with some delightfully amusing lessons in the British culture, which I dare not quote because in the main culture of my participation it would be highly inappropriate to use his words. Nevertheless, the extremely entertaining salesman was completely charming and helpful. I am so immensely appreciative of him to share his culture with me in such a colorful light. I will never forget it! After Mr. Arnold bought the most swanky very expensive feather bowtie from the salesman, we bought a Larry Cake from Huffkins bakery and checked out the wine, beer, and cheese at the cheese shop.
As Mr. Arnold and I wandered around the town popping in and out of shops, we didn’t see that fiery coach of Sir Lawrence, but we did see plenty of charming little houses and stumbled upon a church flanked with a graveyard extremely along in years. For a moment I almost thought I was in a Hugh Grant Movie or a real-life Christmas village that gets put on display as Christmas decorations. We kept walking and hit a dead end and we weren’t willing to swim. Mr. Arnold and I were standing at the edge of the River Windrush, staring at an incredible panorama of the British Countryside. I thought to myself “thank God the river is full! I wouldn’t want Lady Tanfield to be released from her corked bottle!