“…. what rotten fruit falls down.”

Stumbled upon this magnificent specimen of a tree in the picturesque village of Castle Combe during my trip to the UK, back in the summer of 2010. One of my all time favourite photo shots.

George came to the Grand Hotel anticipating a concentrated examination of the evidence in his case. The conversation has taken several unexpected turns. Now he is feeling somewhat lost. Arthur senses a certain dismay in his new young friend. He feels responsible; he has meant to be encouraging. Enough reflection, then; it is time for action. Also, for anger.

“George, those who have supported you so far—Mr. Yelverton and all the rest—have done sterling work. They have been utterly diligent and correct. If the British state were a rational institution, you would even now be back at your desk in Newhall Street. But it is not. So my plan is not to repeat the work of Mr. Yelverton, to express the same reasonable doubts and make the same reasonable requests. I am going to do something different. I am going to make a great deal of noise. The English—the official English—do not like noise. They think it vulgar; it embarrasses them. But if calm reason has not worked, I shall give them noisy reason. I shall not use the back stairs but the front steps. I shall bang a big drum. I intend to shake more than a few trees, George, and we shall see what rotten fruit falls down.

Julian Barnes, ‘Arthur & George’.


Villages of Britain (more of the Cotswolds charm)

After putting up my post on the Cotswolds last week, I just felt that one post was insufficient to do the villages proper justice. And since I still have quite a few pretty pictures to share, I thought I will continue with that today if you don’t mind. 😉

I have also pulled out my much-treasured copy of Villages of Britain by Clive Aslet to go with this post. This was one of my best finds for last year and quite unexpected too.  I had been keeping a lookout for a copy of this for quite some time after having acquired another book of his, The English House : The story of a nation at home, at a sale last year. That is one of the most physically beautiful books I have ever owned. I just love the dust jacket and the illustrations in there!

Anyway, back to the Villages of Britain, which although was found without its dust jacket, is still a rather beautiful specimen to add to your shelves. I love dipping into the book and picking on a village to read at random. The book tells the history of the countryside through the stories of five hundred of its most noteworthy villages and settlements.

On to the photos …..

Trout fishing in Bibury.
The lovely Swan Hotel.
One of the best Club Sandwiches we ever had was found in the Swan Hotel.
Snowshill Lavender.
Can you spot the bees?

The view from the top of Broadway Tower. It is said that the view surveys an expanse of up to 16 counties.
The animals round and about the tower grounds.
The Model Village of Bourton-on-the-Water.


Lovely shopfronts at Bourton-on-the-Water.

A Book… A Place… A Time… (The Cotswolds)

The Book(s) : Cider With Rosie by Laurie Lee / The Well-Loved Stranger by Valerie Grove

I was set down from the carrier’s cart at the age of three; and there with a sense of bewilderment and terror my life in the village began. The June grass, amongst which I stood, was taller than I was, and I wept. I had never been so close to grass before. It towered above me and all around me, each blade tattooed with tiger-skins of sunlight. It was knife-edged, dark, and a wicked green, thick as a forest and alive with grasshoppers that chirped and chattered and leapt though the air like monkeys. I was lost and didn’t know where to move.

Thus, begins one of the most evocative and poignant memoir of a boy growing up in a Cotswolds village in the 1920s. We get to see a vivid and moving portrayal of village life through the innocence and wonder of the young Laurie Lee. The book managed put a smile on my face almost as effortlessly as it could move me to tears. It also transported me back to a place and time that had yet to be touched by the modern amenities and inventions which we now so easily take for granted. It was a truly enjoyable experience reading this little gem.

The book has sparked off my interest in Laurie Lee, and am looking forward to reading his biography, The Well-Loved Stranger as well as his most famous piece of work, As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning which accounts for his travels in Spain.

The Place : The Cotswolds, England

I had actually read the book not too long after coming back from my trip to the UK, which included The Cotswolds. Although I did not get to visit the village of Slad (the village where Lee grew up in), I think this photo below reminds me most of how I would imagine Slad to be.

Arlington Row, Bibury
A closer look.

Every little village and town has a unique flavour and charm of its own.

Our base, at Bourton-on-the-Water.
Bourton-on-the-Water, also known as the Venice of Cotswolds.
Pretty as a picture.
Happy ducklings.
Chipping Camden.
Don’t you just love the bicycle?
Broadway Tower (once a country retreat to WIlliam Morris).
I never knew there were such lavender fields in England.
Snowshill Lavender (we were there just in time before the harvest!)
The Old Post Office in Castle Combe.
A tree grows in Castle Combe …..
One of my favourite photos, taken at the Minster Lovell ruins.

The Time : Summer of 2010

Thomas at My Porch‘s recent blog posts on his travel adventures to the Cotswolds have stirred up memories of my own to the old world charm of the villages and towns that make up the Cotswolds. It lays claim to being one of the most ‘quintessentially English’ and unspoiled regions of England, a place where time has stood still for over 300 years.

I couldn’t agree more.