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.