July 6th till 10th, 2014
Day of These Days
by Laurie Lee
Such a morning it is when love
leans through geranium windows
and calls with a cockerel’s tongue.
When red-haired girls scamper like roses
over the rain-green grass;
and the sun drips honey.
When hedgerows grow venerable,
berries dry black as blood,
and holes suck in their bees.
Such a morning it is when mice
run whispering from the church,
dragging dropped ears of harvest.
When the partridge draws back his spring
and shoots like a buzzing arrow
over grained and mahogany fields.
When no table is bare,
and no beast dry,
and the tramp feeds on ribs of rabbit.
Woke up on our first morning in glorious Cotswolds, England. The Cotswolds, designated as an area of outstanding bueaty, where time has stood still for 300 years. A chance to recuperate and enjoy the wonder of the English countryside.
We were in Kings Stanley in the boys’ Great Uncle John’s new home. Graham and the older boys had slept in the backyard tent. Prunella and Felix in a bedroom upstairs. Down to join Roxy the Dalmatian and John for breakfast. Then we all set off for a little walk around the peaceful green village of Kings Stanley. On the public walkways we came across a children’s cross country in full swing. A picture of idilic, country life in a quaint setting.
King’s Stanley is a village in Gloucestershire, England, situated southwest of the town of Stroud. The village is part of what is known locally as ‘The Stanleys’, along with its neighbours Leonard Stanley and Stanley Downton. Marling Close, which contains the local playing fields, were donated to the village by local magnates The Marlings who also helped found Marling School, and is now in the care of the Marling Trust. The village is overlooked by Selsley common. The village is home to the oldest Baptist Church in Gloucestershire that started meeting in 1640. – wiki
Eighteen inhabitants of King’s Stanley were mentioned in 1086. In the 13th century Adam le Despenser created a borough in King’s Stanley, probably in 1253 when he was granted a market and fair. A small green at the south-west corner of the triangle was formerly larger, and the main village well was there. Old Castle House to the south was built or remodelled in 1563 by the clothier William Selwyn. The house was the Old Castle Inn in 1891 and until 1960. Several houses in the same part of the village were pulled down and replaced by modern ones in the late 1950s.
Another focal point of the village was at the northern point of the triangle of roads. There is a green on the west of the road there where the village stocks formerly stood; their use was revived c. 1850 but apparently only for a few years. The King’s Head Inn, recorded from 1766, stands opposite facing up the road to the church, and the ‘Red Lion’, mentioned from 1838, is one of several cottages set back to the west of the green. Britannia Cottage and adjoining buildings, part of a long range south of the ‘King’s Head’, include a formerly cruck-framed house with a gabled cross-wing on the north; only one cruck blade apparently survives intact, although there are the remains of others, and the walls have been faced in stone or rough-cast.
The attempt made in the 13th century to establish King’s Stanley as a trading centre by the creation of a borough and a grant of a market and fair proved unsuccessful, presumably because of the competition of other market towns and the absence of an important through route. After the 16th century, however, the growth of the clothing industry enabled the parish to support a large population, and a number of fairly wealthy families mostly connected with the trade owned estates there. – british-history.ac.uk/
Later we met friendly local couchsurfer Irvz for dinner and a pint at The Anchor pub in Epney. A lovely cool evening where the boys played ball for hours with the local kids whilst we chatted and watched the stunning vista as the sun lowered in the sky.
A relaxed day wandering around Stroud. We have volunteered, worked and lived in this market town before and still feel a fondness for this friendly, unique and rebellious town. It is one of the communities that began the organic movement. Little has changed, since we last saw it eight years ago, here at the meeting point of the five valleys.
Stroud has a significant artistic community that dates back to the early part of the twentieth century. Jasper Conran called Stroud ‘the Covent Garden of the Cotswolds’, the Daily Telegraph referred to it as ‘the artistic equivalent of bookish Hay-on-Wye’ while the London Evening Standard likened the town to ‘Notting Hill with wellies’. – wiki
Prunella and the boys relaxed while Graham and John had a long walk around Leonard Stanley. Prunella cooked up a large pasta bake which we enjoyed before heading to bed.
The morning brought a walk with Roxy up to Penn Hill. Later we drove to Uley, and had a quiet tea at the Prema Arts Centre before setting off to view the scenic Uley Hill Fort.
Today we were aboard Johns fine canal boat, Gonzo. A tasty picnic beside the canal at Slatt Bridge, followed by a pretty walk and drink at Frampton on Seven. The Domesday Book mentioned the manor of Frampton in 1089. The parish church of St Mary the Virgin was consecrated in 1315 but partly dates from the 12th century, while the congregational church was built in 1769. This picturesque town is famous for it’s 22 acres of village green – the longest in England. Then a slow cruise home for a cosy family BBQ before bed.
The boys and Graham were super excited as they watched the newly released “How to Train Your Dragon 2” at the cinema.
Valka: You came early into this world. You were such a wee thing, so frail, so fragile…. I feared you wouldn’t make it. But your father, he never doubted. He always said you’d be the strongest of them all. And he was right…. You have the heart of a chief and the soul of a dragon. – Rottentomatoes.com
There was a poignant scene where the Hero’s father died which reduced all four to tears. Meanwhile Prunella enjoyed some time alone, browsing the op shops and chatting to the locals.
A wonderful week with John, enjoying the delights and beauty that is the Cotswolds. Whenever we leave, we miss her hilly paths, rolling wolds countryside, ancient honey-coloured limestone villages, dry stone walls, historical delights, radicals, farmers market, colourful literature and whimsical art. No doubt these delights will draw us back time and time again.
On Friday, Prunella and the boys left for new adventures in Oxford. Graham stayed to go to the famous Royal International Air Tattoo. His adventures are detailed – Here.