40. The England My Mother Dreams Of

Trip Start Apr 19, 2011
Trip End May 25, 2013

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Flag of United Kingdom  , Wales,
Saturday, April 7, 2012

When I tried to tell my mother that I didn't like England, she jumped to its defence.

"No Sarah. I know there are some LOVELY places in England. I just KNOW it. Lovely little quaint little villages made from honeyed stone, thatched rooves, and centuries old wisteria."

"Yeah, yip, okay..."

But Mum, you are right. Small though it is, that England still exists. An England that isn't blighted by tracksuits and poor attitudes. Arriving in the villages of the Cotswolds, I knew instantly what my Mum had been talking about. Country scones with clotted cream, dainty teacups, posh dogs in raincoats, and spring flowers. The iconic red phone boxes serving nowadays as home to the village defibrillator. The Cotswolds is where it's at.

We wound our way through tiny lanes, fingers and toes crossed that we wouldn't meet a car coming the other way. Through Chipping Campden, Blockley, Stow-on-the-Wold, and the Upper and Lower Slaughters, the charm continued as the roads became narrower. At every twist and turn I thought of my Mum and how much she would enjoy this trip. So nice it was, I could almost imagine myself living there.

Racing our way across the pages of our map book, we were struck by how small the UK is and how easy it is to get around, despite some of the roads being more suited to sheep and jeeps than our rear-wheel camper.

Signs such as "Fyfyaglwch" and "Llanystymdwy" heralded our arrival in Wales. The 17th country we've visited in this past year! Passing castles and sheeps that still had their tails, we arrived in Hay-on-Wye, the town of books, just in time to make a pilgrimage to a couple of creaky bookshops. You just can't beat the smell of comfortable old books.

Doors closing, we made the most of the last light, and hit the road again in search of somewhere to sleep. Our camper Arden arrived quickly at the top of the pass in the Brecon Beacons National Park. With traces of snow on the hills, and hints of home in the air, we pulled over and set up for the night.

In a word: Wllgwyngyllgogery
Rating out of 10: 9
Something interesting: The Cotswolds are for the rich - Jaguars and Range Rovers only!

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