Friday, February 12, 2021

The Story Behind the Painting

Thanks for all the wonderful comments on the art post. I'll have a few more things to show you soon but I'm working on a borrowed computer and the photos aren't uploaded! So many of you said especially nice things about the cottage painting that I thought I'd tell you a little more behind it.


This is Morgan's Forge, a cottage owned by friends from Michigan in Midford, about three miles outside of Bath in the UK. When Rick and I visited in 2018, we rented the cottage for a few days. We wished it had been more!


We had been on a long trip (you can see it in the tab on the menu bar if you're new to the Gypsy and want a little armchair travel). I was struggling with ruptured tendons in my foot and we had been on quite a pace. So when we opened the door and saw this lovely cottage, it was like a special gift.


After we settled, we walked down the hill to the Hope and Anchor pub for a lovely dinner and back up the hill (not so easy!). We would walk that hill each time we took the bus to Bath, a short ride away!

 
It was especially pretty on October afternoons!


Each walk up and down that hill brought such beautiful sights. I am a big fan of sheep and there is no place better to see them than in this area of England. 

From the upstairs windows you could look out onto the patio (oh, I wished it had been warm enough to settle out there with a good book!) or, from the other direction, over the hills. It was like something out of a Jane Austen novel.

Of course, there were other directions to walk than just down the hill and on one day when my foot seemed to be doing a little better, we did just that! After passing a few homes, we were on a path through the woods, between stone walls and hedgerows.

It led us past a castle, actually a folly castle built in 1775, but impressive nonetheless. It had once been owned by actor Nicolas Cage. It has a fascinating history which you can see here in this short wikipedia article.

Soon after that, we passed the cemetery of a country church, where we noted the grave of a WWI soldier, Harry Patch, whose remarkable story I wrote about HERE. You can see the red poppies marking the grave, just to the right of Rick.

I know I've watched too many British mysteries on TV (and will continue to do so!) and read far too many Agatha Christies and more, but I wouldn't have been surprised if Midsomer's Inspector Barnaby had shown up! After all, the vicar of a country church is almost always a key player in a mystery! (Anyone else watch "Grantchester"?)

We ended up at The Wheelwright's Inn, a pub in the village of Monkton Combe. And since it was a tad early to imbibe, we enjoyed tea and read the newspaper till a sudden burst of rain ended.

Rick and I said farewell after that for a few hours. He made his way one direction, me another.

But soon he was back in time for dinner and a cozy fire and a little British telly before we had to pack.

For several days, this place was our haven. After a long day of sightseeing -- a bike ride for Rick, a Cotswold tour for me, time exploring Bath together -- it was a welcome sight to see the blue door and wooden gate welcoming us home. 

The morning we left, the hills that had been so green before were now touched with frost. This was really the first "real" cold we'd experienced on the trip -- and considering it was nearing the end of October, that wasn't so bad. We headed down the hills with our bags and back to Michigan, carrying with us special memories. Some time into the next winter, the owners of the cottage posted a photo their neighbors had taken during a flurry of snow. It enchanted me.

I had to paint it. Being able to share the original with Mark and Martha gave me great joy, thanks to all the joy they had given us.

 No matter the season, I will always look back fondly at our time here. 

And long await the day we can return.

Sharing with:         Pink Saturday     /     Love Your Creativity   /     Tuesday Turn About    /    Let's Keep in Touch       /     Timeless Thursdays     

68 comments:

Valerie-Jael said...

Wonderful photos, all places I love. Grantchester is a wonderful series! Have a great weekend, take care, hugs, Valerie

Mae Travels said...

What a cheerful post for a mean, cold day!

be well... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

Linda Sue said...

Lordie! I certainly needed this post today! AHHhh! Wonderful, jeanie, will we ever return to these sorts of adventures? Your painting is perfect!

Martha said...

Thank you for telling us more about the cottage and sharing so many beautiful photos of such a lovely trip!

Laurie said...

What an amazing life you and husband live, you truly take life by the tail and fly! Beautiful art too, such a wonderful painting, it’s beautiful!

Barb said...

I love the story of the cottage. The photos made me feel like I was exploring a new landscape.Your watercolor is charming.

William Kendall said...

Beautiful photos, and a beautiful painting!

DUTA said...

The painting is a delightful memento of the cottage near Bath!
I drink tea only when I have the Flu. This year, thank God, due to wearing a mask- so far, no flu.( I use chamomile tea of pale yellow to gargle, whenever I suspect some mouth infection, and it works).

Misadventures of Widowhood said...

What a cute little place and I love your painting of it.

Karen said...

What a beautiful place.

gretchenjoanna said...

My daughter and I visited Bath in 2005 and stayed in the Cotswolds, in a B&B from which we had views of sheep such as you show here. Sharing your little tour was like going back there, where we spent only 2-3 days before heading north. Thank you, Jeanie!

Pamela said...

Wonderful story and photos. While we are waiting to travel again, it’s good to remember past adventures and enjoy the travels of others. Rick’s hair was so short on that trip!

Salty Pumpkin Studio said...

Your painting captures all the delight and charm of the cottage, and your trip there.

Joyful said...

That cottage does sound like just the perfect haven for you and Rick at the time. I remember when you went on that trip and was concerned about your comfort and how you would get around. You are a real trouper.!

Rustic Pumpkin said...

I don't know why so many people love sheep, but they do. Ah, if only you were on Instagram you'd love fell_flock_feathers with the beautiful Lincoln Longwool photos Holly shares, and the photos are well composed too. My friend in the Preselis has her own small flock of sheep who are kept just for their fleece which she harvests once a year, then a local mill spins it into yarn and she weaves magnificent scarves and throws on her hand loom.

Happy Valentine's to you and Rick
Deb in Wales

David M. Gascoigne, said...

It is a wonderful part of Britain, and one that I have enjoyed several times, Jeanie. Not the best area for birding, but I am told there are other things in life! It's a damn shame that travel has become impossible, but no one can take away the memories, and you have many great pictures to help you relive it all. Perhaps by next year you will be able to go and do it again.

Rita C at Panoply said...

This DOES look enchanting, no matter the season!
Tell Rick I miss his short hair. ;)

La Table De Nana said...

I remember when you stayed there.Idyllic ..sometimes we happen upon it andI love that!!!
A positively Susan Branck postπŸ™‚πŸ™‚πŸ™‚

Penny from Enjoying The Simple Things said...

Love the story to go along with the sweet cottage!

Joanne Huffman said...

What a wonderful memory! It looks like a truly enchanted cottage. Your painting of it is delightful.

Lynne said...

Lovely . . .
Story, photos . . .
and your creating . . .
I hope there will be a time for you to return . . .
The paths, hills, stone . . . cottage . . . lovely.

My name is Erika. said...

It is an amazing little village and almost looks to perfect to be real. I think I should like to visit! October seemed to be the best time to visit. Thanks so much for sharing these images and the story of your visit too. Seeing arm chair travel is about all one can do right now, this was a wonderful little journey. Hugs-Erika

NanaDiana said...

What a lovely, lovely story. How lucky you are to have had the traveling in your life -the one that filled you with joy and adventure. We had hoped to do quite a bit of traveling but it doesn't look like that is going to happen now. Life is unpredictable and I hope people grab happiness and adventure awhile, and as, they can.
Your painting is beautiful..but so is the mental picture you painted here. xo Diana

Arti said...

What a beautiful painting, and a wonderful memory! Your two posts have made me want to visit Bath, no, all of England again. Glad you have the photos, and the art work to reminisce and share with us, despite the cold and Covid. On a rosier note, I wish you a Happy Valentine's Day! :)

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Oh my gosh that cottage is just delightful. I read those travel posts when you posted them but it was fun to be reminded of that beautiful home. What a fun home to stay in for awhile. That is my kind of spot. Beautiful with fun things to do in the area. As I get older, I am more drawn to places like that. I will always love trips to Paris but I crave something quieter when going on vacation as day to day life here in Minneapolis l can feel kind of exhausting!

gigi-hawaii said...

October 2018 was only 2 years ago but how things have changed since then. What a wonderful memory you shared with all of us! I love your painting.

Rain said...

That's such a lovely area, so charming. I wouldn't have wanted to leave either! Thanks for sharing your trip! You both look so happy in the photos! :)

Sandra Cox said...

What a wonderful spot. It's like stepping back in time.
Thanks for sharing:)

Sandra at Maison De Jardin said...

Jeanie, I am sure you do look back with fond and wonderful memories of your beautiful trip. And, your painting of the cottage is spectacular. I hope you have a copy of it for yourself. Jeanie, you are so smart and talented and to that I will add brave. You were certainly brave to start on such a trip with a hurt foot.
Wishing you and Rick a Happy Valentine's Day!

Anonymous said...

Jeanie, I love the stories you tell especially about England. What a treat and a supreme joy it must have been to stay at that beautiful little cottage and your painting in the snow just tells that story remarkably. Have you watched Escape to the Chateau. It's on HGTV about an English couple that bought an old chateau in France and have been fixing it up. They hold destination weddings there and it is so interesting in a beautiful setting and the couple are enchanting. On Saturday nights, so you will get this just in time to watch it..I know you will love it..Stay well..xxoJudy

shoreacres said...

I remember that place now, and your stories about it. Thanks for posting the photos again. I really enjoyed seeing them -- especially since I'm sitting here dressed in layers and shivering because I'll be darned if I'm setting the thermostat above 68. We're going to have almost-Michigan temperatures the next two or three days: highs around 20, lows hitting 14 or so. We are verklempt! especially since it's coming with ice and power loss. Maybe I shouldn't have written so glowingly about winter! I may have tempted fate.

Pam said...

Thank you for sharing that. I really did love that painting. Nicely done. Great memories to always have and hold dear.

coffeeontheporchwithme said...

I wonder if people there know what a beautiful place they live in? I've only been to England once, but we travelled around the Costwolds for a week and I just couldn't get over how quaint and charming and beautiful everything was. I cried at Castle Comb because it was the most beautiful little place I'd ever seen. -Jenn

Sami said...

I loved to read the story behind the cottage painting Jeanie. Beautiful photos of the area, great memories.

Evi Erlinda said...

A sweet memory in the beautiful places.
The painting is so beautiful!

Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Hello Jeanie,

This is such a beautiful part of England and your post has brought a welcome warmth into a bitterly cold winter's day here in Budapest.

Such a delightful cottage, one can well imagine that you did not want to leave. And, beautiful countryside all around to explore. What is not to like. But, how perfectly you have captured not only the look but the essence of the place in your painting. The joy and happiness of days enjoyed there fill the work and make it so much more special.

We have enjoyed our visit to you and shall return for more.

eileeninmd said...

Hello Jeanie,

I love the pretty cottage and your story. You have beautiful trip memories, except for the foot pain of course. I love the sheep too, beautiful views! Your photos and painting are beautiful. Take care, enjoy your day! Have a happy new week!

Dawn said...

I love your story and your painting. Would love to be able to return to England one day. Be safe.

Pam Richardson said...

Jeanie, oh how I enjoyed this post! You made me feel as though I was there. I have so missed travel over these long months and this read was just what I needed. What a lovely cottage and beautiful memories. I love your painting of the cottage in snow. Thank you my friend!

Lisbeth @ The Content Reader said...

How wonderful to have memories like this during times like these. Just love English cottages. Maybe we think we know them all so well after all the lovely British TV-series taking place there. Your painting is wonderful.

Divers and Sundry said...

I appreciate the opportunities you provide for virtual travel. I clicked through to read about Midford Castle. Cool!

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

I enjoyed all your UK adventures. It's fun to live vicariously with others as they travel and explore. Happy Valentine's Day!

Sketchbook Wandering said...

Special memoires and a haven, indeed! How wonderful your time there was and I can see why the cottage inspired you to paint it!

The Joy of Home with Martha Ellen said...

I love reading your memories of beautiful times in England, Jeanie! I miss our travels so much. Your cottage painting is a perfect remembrance of your special holiday in England! Hopefully we will make more memories in the future in beautiful Great Britain.

Cindy said...

I love everything about this! That gorgeous cottage, what a great opportunity! The area is beautiful too. And your painting is so pretty! You are very talented. Such a beautiful keepsake of your time there.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Thanks for sharing your memories of a favorite place, Jeanie. One day in the (distant) future, we would like to visit England, Scotland and Wales and since that isn't happening for who knows when, it's fun to see the country through your memories. Yes, we have enjoyed all the British shows you mentioned and more. Your painting was wonderful and should be much appreciated.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

What a delightful cottage and beautiful bucolic countryside! I can see why you were enchanted, Jeanie. I love the cottage painting you made--so gorgeous.

I have never been to England. I've been to Ireland for times but never England and I think I have to rectify that. I watched every Midsommer Murder show and a lot of other BBC shows--they are so well done!

Bella Rum said...

Just love these photos. I wish I could walk right into them. Glad my job is not counting those sheep.LOL

Carola Bartz said...

Your beautiful photos brought back a lot of memories of this wonderful part of England that I visited many times. Staying in a little cottage adds some extra charm. I always loved the view of the sheep as well, so I can totally understand your fascination. Your painting is lovely - the place reminds me a bit of Iris' cottage in "The Holiday".
We watched Grantchester for a while - we liked the first season, the second season already less and then stopped watching it. Maybe we should try again. My favorite British mystery series are "Unforgotten", "Shetland" and "Silent Witness".
Please remember to give me your address so I can send you the giveaway you won.

Susan Kane said...

My gr-son says he wish he could rope up and pull them to Switzerland. I feel that when looking at that painting!

Hope your foot is doing better.

R's Rue said...

😊😊😊

Prims By The Water said...

What a charming cottage, and to be able to walk to town and enjoy a good meal makes it even more charming. The beauty of the hills with the sheep made me think of my uncle Billy's sheep farm. I so love the countryside scenery. Thanks for sharing your wonderful trip with us! Janice

Marilyn Miller said...

This is the sort of thing that makes travel so extra special. We have a cottage memory that we just talked about recently that made our last European trip so extra special. I need to write about it sometime, in fact, I have thought about painting it too. I love, love, love your memory of this special place.

Linda @ Life and Linda said...

Such a beautiful painting. The cottage is lovely. I especially love seeing the natural beauty. Thanks for sharing aeanie.

Debbie-Dabble Blog and A Debbie-Dabble Christmas said...

What a wonderful story about a wonderful place....You have such great memories and that is something to be cherished!! Love the picture and adore your painting which is so charming....Thanks so much for stopping by!! stay safe, healthy and happy!
Hugs,
Debbie

handmade by amalia said...

A wonderful story. I'm enjoying your art and this 'peek behind the scenes'.
Amalia
xo

Tracy said...

Happy tears... thank you for taking us back to the UK, Jeanie! Been missing travel and especially the UK--land of my heart and heritage. And I do remember this place you shared... So wonderful, every bit of it... *sigh*... ((HUGS))

ashok said...

Wonderful post...love the place

Lowcarb team member said...

Yes, a lovely post.
Lovely, lovely, lovely.

Such a wonderful part of the UK your photographs and look back was so enjoyable.

All the best Jan

Lowcarb team member said...

I'm not sure if my comment came through?
I had an oops error message!

This was such a lovely post.
I enjoyed the look back and the photographs.
Such wonderful memories.

Let us hope we can all start travelling again soon.

My good wishes.

All the best Jan

thepaintedapron.com said...

Beautiful painting Jeanie! I remember that trip, I loved revisiting again, and thinking of bright fall days warmed up this very cold winter one!
Jenna

Becca said...

Amazing! You are such a talented painter :-)

Becca

Beside a babbling brook... said...

Ohhh what a delightful experience!!!!

How lucky you were!!!!!

and a lovely painting you made!

Iris Flavia said...

"a little armchair travel" is a very nice saying and all the travel we have "at the moment"...
Love sheep, too!
Oh, beautiful pics, glad you could do that despite the foot making trouble. Cute pics of you, too (two, too).

Victoria Zigler said...

I hope you can do more traveling, and return to the UK again, soon.

We've got lots of sheep not far from here. Actually passed a few fields of them on the way between my house and the vet yesterday.

creativeseconds.com said...

What a fantastic place ~ Beautiful inside and out. I love all the scenery shots, just wonderful! oh and that castle is something out of dreams :)

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

You must have felt you were in heaven. I know I would have been. I also love that we are both fans of mysteries. Yes, I love Midsomer Murders, Grantchester, and Father Brown, too. The British have a way with their vicars and priests, don't they? Simply a stunning post, brought back memories of some posts you shared from England, and a beautiful painting to show your appreciation of the place you got to call "home" for a few days.

Stevenson Q said...

That painting you made Jeanie, oh my heart! Straight out of a fairytale storybook! Thank you so much for taking us with you on your walks and cozy times!

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