Stow on the Wold

 Stow On the Wold Cotswolds 

My recent & first ever weekend away with The south Bank rambler group 

Pubs in Town Square Stow on the Wold

We took a train from Paddington heading towards Stow on the Wold .It’s not far from Oxford so under 2 hours  to get to Morton on Marsh where we caught a 10 min bus ride to Stow on the Wold; 10 of us were sharing a cottage .

Away we go!
Away we go!

At the cost of £70 which included food kitty for breakfast and one evening meal it was a good deal. We had three nights there and two full days for walking. I hadn’t previously given much thought to the Cotswolds area, hadn’t heard of Stow on the wold and no idea where it was exactly. I didn’t bother googling it. My job involves too much staring at a PC. Tired and blurry eyed, a wake up from my winter slumber I stumbled out of bed & reminded myself it was for my own good and go I did.

See the massive feet of the tree.. Awesome..

Tree Trunks at church door Stow on Wold
Tree Trunks at church door Stow on Wold

 

Sign to Lower Slaughter
Sign to Lower Slaughter

 

I was taken with The Old Mill at Lower Slaughter  “voted most beautiful village in the Cotswold.

http://oldmill-lowerslaughter.comA shop created by Gerald Harris (well -known Jazz Singer and Crooner) is to create an environment that is a blast from the past,  it’s like walking into a different era, with the music of Ella Fitzgerald and other old jazz  artist playing in the shop..I would have loved to have bought stuff but I wasn’t really prepared for this and didn’t want to be walking for another 4 miles with cast iron door knobs or whatever!

Shop / Museum/ Cafe at Upper Slaughter
Shop / Museum/ Cafe at Upper Slaughter

 

Current Stock Includes:

Sheepskin Flying Jackets-Wool Caps (Patchwork)- Oil Paintings-Selected Furniture Pieces-Wooden Chopping Boards-(Kitchenalia)-Leather Handbag-,Not to mention!, :Staddle Stones, Books of Interest, Local Walking Books MCotswold Garden Stoneware, and much much —much more…..

view of Upper Slaughter
View of Upper Slaughter

 

MILL IN LOWER SLAUGHTER amazing shop gallery and village
MILL IN LOWER SLAUGHTER amazing shop gallery and village

 


Monarch’s Way to Broadwell

On the second day we went along the Monarch’s Way to Broadwell, then via Donnington to Longborough where we stopped for a drink. After that we went south to Upper Swell for lunch, onto Lower Swell and back to Stow

Walking in space!
Walking in space!

A beautiful sunny peaceful day on Sunday. Daffodils in full bloom, sheep grazing peacefully blue sky, lovely.

“It is a designated as an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the largest in the country, and its quintessentially English charm predominantly spans the counties of Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, while also reaching into parts of Wiltshire, Somerset, Worcestershire and Warwickshire.

Longborough a perfect spring day for a lunch time drink. Beautiful.
Longborough a perfect spring day for a lunch time drink. Beautiful.

 

Cycling to work every day from Brixton to Camberwell ,I’m used to ambulances and police sirens for company. Usually I go to sleep with the sound of police cars a few blocks away,the occasional helicopter hovering over head in the early hours,and not long after I’m awake there is usually the presence of a siren or two, the planes joining in with the early morning chorus. So I have a fully orchestrated background at all times really ..be it a noisy one.

The desire to escape is strong at times, But—-saying that, it can be extremely disconcerting to be somewhere as quiet as the Cotswold, it was Pre- tourist season. Spring just about to break, and I must admit I felt a bit anxious as I often do in the country away from the din…

After a couple of days I started to relax a little  after a a couple of long walks and a few drinks in one of the many pubs in Stow- and then it’s back to London.

 

Mushroom seat
Mushroom seat

Next walk is with the map my walk extraordinaire the Cockney Mole. We are trying a new walk from Lewes to the coast…. So until next time, put one foot in front of the other and keep on keeping on.. 

 

Julie

 

 

Learning to lead & the Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

 

Sticking To The Plan

There’s a lot to be said for sticking to a plan, but then again, it can be a total pain and I prefer an open-minded approach to life. I recently did the leaders walk in the freezing snow. Personally a 8 mile walk in the freezing cold is not my idea of fun, and I don’t hold the No pain no gain attitude. But in this case I felt like I had to stick to the plan, because if I didn’t I would have missed the chance to get together with the group and learn something.I met up with the South Bank Walkers Group on a Sunday morning and we discussed the roles of being a Walk Leader and Map reader. It was interesting and I have put my name forward to do my first walk later in the year. The next newsletter comes out in July so I will be in the July to October issue and I’m going to lead the Seven Sisters Walk. For this walk you need reasonably good weather. I haven’t decided the date yet, but his year at some point!  Now that Spring seems to be here I can get out on some decent walks and will be out next  Saturday and be writing about that next Sunday.

In the meantime, I am enclosing a very short book review, a novel about someone who went on a very long walk.!

 

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry Written by Rachel Joyce published by Black Swan 

A tale of a walk of 627 miles in 87 days from Kingsbury to Berwick

book cover Harold Fry

I would describe it as an old-fashioned English story; quaint, sweet, innocent & sad.In short the main character the elderly retired Harold is living an intolerable existence, his wife barely speaks or looks at him, they live separate lives both thwarted by the experience of their son’s suicide. The story takes off really when Harold gets a letter from someone called Queenie to tell him she remembered his kindness and wanted to thank him and that she was dying.

He wants to do the right thing but isn’t sure what it is.  Initially he is going to post a letter to her but just can’t face it and feels, in the light of someone dying a letter was nowhere near adequate.He starts walking to a letter box not wanting to post it after meandering past 3 or 4 post-boxes he gets the idea to keep walking and personally visit Queenie, starting in Devon where he lives, to Berwick where she is dying in a hospice. We are not too sure who this character Queenie is at this point.

A lot of the background isn’t revealed until midway in the walk, when Harold is extremely undernourished and ill prepared for the distance walking the 600 miles from Devon to Berwick.The story of how his life became so unbearable becomes clear as the walk evolves.He meets waifs and strays along the way, and even becoming a minor celebratory with many people jumping on the bandwagon with their own reasons for being out there!

There are pleasurable aspects and a newfound joy to be discovered in the simplicity of walking, and living outdoors under an English sky and countryside, that still holds many beauties, something he had forgotten to take time to appreciate.He encounters both a painful recollection of what it is he is escaping and the joy of not knowing where he is going, the unknown future he is moving towards.

It unravels during his walk that Harold’s father was an abusive alcoholic and his wife blamed Harold’s past for the demise of their son, who had turned into a layabout, drunk and a drug addict before hanging himself.

The relationship with Queenie is one of two alienated souls who manage to find solace in each other while working in the Brewery. As Harold is of a time, so is Queenie, an unassuming secretary without the usual attire and personality associated with a secretary, she is humble and conscientious which does her no favours under the rule of the chauvinistic factory owner who try’s it on with her and intimidates her constantly in front of the rest of the staff.

Harold offers some support to Queenie in terms of old fashioned friendship with no strings attached. In turn she takes the blame when Harold goes off the rails when he as he had reacted violently and wrecked the bosses office, whilst still in shock and grief hearing of the death of his son.

The end of the road offers Harold reconciliation with his wife after bearing his soul having witnessed the demise of Queenie who had simply wanted to say thanks; she could no longer actually speak as her tongue had been cut out in an operation relating to her brain tumour. It was a moving end to the story and really the end had to reconcile him and his wife, additionally it is moving to read about the encounters with hangers-on he meets on the road and the different types of people, each with their own stories and grievances slightly lost in need of an awakening, they follow Harold and also contribute to his own healing.

JULIE C©

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ÓJulie Connelly