We are visiting “The Cotswolds” in the town of Chipping Campden, hosted by our cruising buddies, Norm and Trish. They live in the Cotswolds in a typical Cotswold town called Chipping Campden. Is there a better way to see and experience the Cotswolds than with Cotswoldians? I think not.

Norm and Trish hosted us for three days of superb sightseeing of everything Cotswold, from old churches and cemeteries to lavender fields to pubs (of course), to photogenic cottages and even to a tower that helped guide the Luftwaffe to their bombing targets.

We couldn’t wait to get started, but we passed out early due to jet lag. “We’ll leave out the keys to the front doors in case you want to do an early walk,” our hosts said as we stumbled up the stairs. No way, I thought, I am sleeping as long as possible.

A few hours later, we woke up to a crow and a few pigeons. The crow sounded his “caw caw caw caw caw” just prior to sunrise, a totally unacceptable time as it is just after 4:00am. As soon as his cawing stopped, the pigeons began to coo. A few moments later, the cooing subsided allowing our sleep to take hold. Just as we drifted off, the crow announced himself again. Five caws later the pigeons chimed in and Kas had had enough and she closed the bedroom window. We tried to settle in for another couple hours of sleep when the crow moved to the window in the bathroom. He laughed and sneered five more excruciating caws. He knew he had us. And, we knew that he knew that he had us.

We would sleep no more. With the sky brightening we could see some fog in the distance, partially enveloping an old church (are there any new churches in England). We decided to go for a photo shoot. With our hosts tucked away in bed, we slinked out of the house, negotiating two front doors that were locked in different and interesting ways. Still half asleep and without proper caffeination, I fumbled with each door, making more noise than necessary. Norm and Trish must be up now. No matter, we were off for a shoot at an old church (with an equally old cemetery) in the fog.

Unfortunately, most of the fog burned off by the time we got here. But, it was still great shooting.  [photo by Kathryn]

The thatched roof (makes it look like a Hobbit house) is comprised Norfolk Reed if you are of tradition. But now, the thatch is imported from Poland. [proper reference to Jill who had the Hobbit observation]

The Holly Hocks were in full bloom.

The lavender fields were in full bloom. If only, we got here at sunrise. Not bad for a daytime shot!

The town of Chipping Campden – in my view the best of Cotswolds.

The villages of the Cotswolds do not easily give in to modern conveniences. They still have telephone booths.

The Cotswolds are everything we had hoped for and more. We had an amazing time with our friends, so gracious to open their house to us. Norm even taught me the derivation of “Cotswold.”  The name Cotswold is popularly attributed the meaning “sheep enclosure in rolling hillsides”, incorporating the term, wold, meaning hills and cots, meaning sheep enclosures. There certainly were a lot of sheep grazing about. And, many rolling hills. The name not only sounds great, it makes sense too. How often do you get that?

Everywhere we travel, I like to experience something cultural. This time I learnt how to dip my soldiers into dippy eggs. I swear it’s not “X” rated.

Remember, it’s all about the light!