The highlight for today was clearly hitting a bird and then realizing that not only did I hit it, the dead bird somehow managed to lodge itself behind the grille on the front of the car. So now I’m driving around with bird feathers sticking out of the front of the car. Fortunately, it is in the lower front by the fog lights, so I don’t think it is doing any damage. Don’t ask me how it got there either. It must have gotten flung up through the wheel well when I hit it. I figure the worst that can happen is the rental car company will charge me to remove it. Goodness knows this isn’t nearly as bad as the time I had to exchange a rental car because I rear ended someone and the whole front end was destroyed. But that’s a whole different story…
Back to today’s (less dramatic) highlights. I returned to Snowshill to try to get my picture of the church with the red phone booth. The lighting was better than yesterday, but still not great. Then it was on to Bourton-on-the-Water. I wanted to love this village. Maybe if I had been there before seeing many of the others, or if it was my only taste of the Cotswolds, I would have felt differently. But it lacked all of the charm of the smaller villages and felt very commercialized. Bourton-on-the-Water is called the “Venice of the Cotswolds” because the River Windrush runs right through the middle of the village and is crossed by a series of stone bridges. It made for a pleasant, albeit short, morning walk, and then I was off to other places.
I debated whether I wanted to go to Bibury (about a half hour away) to photograph its famous Arlington Row. I’m glad I made the choice to go there. While the controversial yellow car is still parked in front of one of the cottages (see this article to read about it!), the scene was just as I’ve seen in so many other people’s pictures. The clear blue sky and beautiful stream running by made a perfect morning stop. At this point, my stomach was starting to growl a bit and I knew afternoon tea was on the agenda. I drove through the villages of Turkdean, Notgrove, and Naunton on my way to Stow-on-the-Wold. I had stopped here on Sunday, but most of the shops were closed then. Today, everything was open and the town was hopping with tourists. I quickly found the Old Bakery Tearoom and enjoyed another delicious cream tea. Afternoon tea has to be just about the greatest British tradition.
After a short walk around Stow, I headed for Lower Slaughter. The Slaughters are actually named for the old English word “slohtre” which means “muddy place”. Upper and Lower Slaughter are only about a mile apart, and connected by both a road and footpaths, so I decided it was a good time for a walk. I parked my car in Lower Slaughter and stopped by a small art show before finding the path to Upper Slaughter. The well-worn path between the two villages follows the River Eye and crosses several pastures before ending in Upper Slaughter. At this point, it was starting to get a bit cloudy, so I made a quick loop around the village before heading back to my car. A drive through Upper and Lower Swell rounded out my day of village-hopping. It was then off to the Lygon Arms in Chipping Campden for dinner where I had two more ciders (neither one noteworthy), a toasted ham and cheese and (finally!) sticky toffee pudding.