Our last day in England and we wanted to get in a last walk, but the weather is bad today. We had breakfast at our favorite Winchcombe Tea Room - The Old Tea House - a perfect place on a blustery day. It is a cosy tea room with only 9 tables in a very old building on the High Street. The ceilings are beamed and low. The room is beautifully decorated with cute tea memorabelia, the tables and chairs are comfortable and are kept spotlessly clean, and - - the food is great! We have had several breakfasts here - poached eggs on toast, a mug of coffee (sometimes a second one), and a toasted tea cake. (We are going on a wheat-free diet as soon as we get home.) 12.20 GBP for the two of us (not cheap, but nothing is here).
It was overcast and cold, but not raining, although rain was predicted. We bundled up and drove ten minutes up the road where there is a selection of those perfect Cotswolds villages. We parked in Stanton and did a very short walk (just over an hour) from Stanton to Laverton, then back along the hillside. We did this same walk a few weeks ago when Stephanie was with us.
Half way through the walk, as we reached Laverton, it started to rain. Not heavy rain, just a light drizzle. We put on our rain jackets.
It was in the second last field on the hillside approaching Stanton.
If you walk in the Cotswolds, you must not be afraid of farm animals. The fields are full of sheep (who run away if you get near them, but stare at you from a distance as if to say "what are YOU doing here?"), cows (who like to have their noses rubbed and will form a line to follow you as you walk across their field), and those bad-boys of the farm world, horses.
You must also not be afraid of walking through the shit from all these guys. That is not just mud you are walking through, it is mud enhanced with sheep, cow or horse shit.
The horses sometimes ignore you, sometimes watch you and every so often come over for a nose scratch. Our mugger was big and beautiful and grey and he came over enthusistically as we entered his field (climbing over a stile). We patted him and perhaps got too friendly. His "hey how are you doing" soon turned into a very aggressive "have you got APPLES in that pack?". I had forgotten about the apples (I keep them in case of emergencies - no tea rooms!!). I was patting him, he was trying to snap at me, I was giving him a kiss, he was trying to nuzzle my jacket.
Then Steve walked on down the trial and I tried to follow, but this horse would not let me pass. He backed me up against the fence even. Luckily, I had horses for several years when I was a kid, so I know how to deal with them (mostly). I pushed him back and made my way past. He followed close behind, now nuzzling my back pack. I made it across the field to the stile, but he was right behind me and came right up to the stile, not letting Steve get by.
It was then that we figured out what he wanted. I got the apples out of the pack and gave him one. He loved it. I threw another one to Steve who lured him away from the stile with it. Then Steve was able to get out of the field.
It was Steve who turned to me as we were walking away and said "we just got mugged!".
We have been in England for five weeks and I could stay for a year. I don't want to leave. I love it here. I love being outside for so much of the day, doing hours of walking every day and being on the hilltops, in the fields and in the woods. I love the rain and the cool temperatures. I love the huge trees and the beautiful views and the villages.
Monday we leave for France. 12 nights there, then back to London for 3 nights and then home.
Here our some last England photos from today - walking in the rain at the end of our walk.