What a difference a year makes!
About this time last year, I was in England with my travel gals, in celebration of a significant birthday. We have had the incredible opportunity to do a fair amount of traveling together over the last 14 years, something I am so grateful for, particularly now with our current state of affairs.
One of the key things travel has taught me is that no matter where we are from or what culture we practice, for the most part, we are all just people sharing very similar desires in life. The desire to live in a safe & peaceful environment & the ability to provide for our families and those we love. It’s pretty simple really!
I live in hope that we shall once again have the good fortune to travel to far away places together, for there are so many yet to discover.
Until that times comes, I thought I would satisfy (or feed) my wanderlust by sharing some of the places I have visited and have yet to write about.
I invite you to join me in taking a journey to beautiful places we have had the opportunity to visit, whether they be near or far. Feel free to join in, using the tag Armchair Travels & sharing a link in the comments section.
Together, may we share & remember what travel means to us.
England you say?
Because this trip was in celebration of one of the girls turning 60, her desire was to mark this milestone somewhere near the sea. With a limited number of days we could travel due to other commitments, we needed to look at a reasonable timeline allotted for flying in order to maximize time spent at our destination of choice. After considering a few options, we decided upon England, developing an itinerary that initially took us to the Cotswolds, then heading south down to Cornwall along the sea & eventually back to London for a few days.
Interestingly, I found when I told people we had chosen to travel to England, I was often met with the comment, “England? Really!”
I suppose compared to some of the previous destinations we have had the opportunity to explore, jolly old England may have seemed a little less exotic to some, but do not let that dissuade you from visiting this beautiful part of our planet.
The Cotswolds – Arriving in Blockley
The first leg of our adventure took us to the Cotswolds, located in south central England. Known for its beautiful rolling hills, quaint little market towns & charming English cottages, the most challenging decision was in deciding which stunning little village to stay in.
We settled on the small village of Blockley, an easy commute to the various towns we hoped to explore and a little off the beaten path, which is typically our preference.
After arriving at Heathrow in London, we picked up our vehicle, set the GPS & all took a deep breath before venturing out on the wrong side of the road!
After a couple of missed attempts at getting out of the airport on the main roadways, circling a few roundabouts more than once, we finally managed to get on the motorway and safely made our way from London to Little Forge in Blockley. We couldn’t have chosen a more beautiful property to stay in.
Blockley was once known for its wool industry, converting to silk production in & around 1860. Although silk has not been produced here in some time, it hosts a lovely collection of buildings reflecting that era.
Now a much quieter village, it is known more for its beautiful landscape & easy access to country paths for lovely walks.
After getting all settled in, we ventured out for a wee walk to stretch our legs, get our bearings & grab a few groceries.
Just behind the property we rented, there is a beautiful mill stream that winds all through the bottom of the valley. Between the sound of the water & the sheep in the farmers field behind the property, it certainly provided a lovely way to be lulled to sleep each night.
If you are looking for spectacular night life, you won’t find it here, although there are a couple of local pubs. However, if you are looking for a lovely tranquil village with quiet pathways & picturesque vistas for your eyes to take in, there are so many options here!
One of the buildings that stands out in this beautiful village is the Church of St. Peter & St. Paul. While out on one of our walks, we could hear music coming from within, so being the inquisitive souls we are, we popped our heads in to have a listen.
We were greeted by a very friendly chap, explaining they were rehearsing for an upcoming local concert later that week & suggested we might like to join them. The highlight was a performance from the Blockley Blokes Men’s Choir.
We did end up attending as we love to immerse ourselves in the local culture as much as we can & had a delightful time! A local gathering, some music & a glass of wine? What’s not to love!
Fun fact about this church- a number of episodes of the loved British series, Father Brown, were taped here.
Lastly, when I reflect on our time in Blockley, I shall always think of Margaret, a local resident we met.
We stopped to compliment Margaret on her beautiful tulips & ended up sitting & chatting with her for over an hour one day. A resident of Blockley for 57 years, we learned that this crackerjack of a woman was 88 & still working 4 hours a day for her son, declaring herself the oldest secretary on the planet.
She shared with us how much the area has changed over the years. Once a very busy hub, Blockley, she said, is much quieter these days, with a number of people only living there part time and in many circumstances, using their residence as a vacation property.
To that end, she suggested, with some annoyance, that they come there thinking if they put on a pair of green wellies & acquire a dog, they somehow think they are from the country.
We laughed ourselves silly over the next number of days when spying quite a few people walking their dog in their green wellies.
I think Margaret may have had a point! She was such a hoot! I hope she is well & safe.💕
I hope you enjoyed a virtual visit to Blockley. Next week I hope to introduce you to some of the other beautiful villages we ventured to! I hope you’ll join me.