Deep in the Wilds of Wiltshire

Thatch[1]

I’ll miss Wiltshire when we leave here in a couple of days, even though I didn’t realize until last week that this peaceful little village is really a den of iniquity. Oh yes, you wouldn’t believe the goings-on here.

Sirens in the village! Being used to sirens blaring in the States, we didn’t rush outside when we heard them, and did not discover the cause until the next day when we walked to the village shop. The thatched roof on two old, connecting cottages up the road had caught fire. Fortunately, it did not spread much before the firemen raked off a lot of thatch and doused the flames. We feel sorry for the people who own the cottages who, it seems, renovated one and were living in it, and intended to renovate the second –the one which caught fire – and lease it.

This is a tiny village, and you know, or can guess, what village gossip is like. Rumor has it some teens were growing an illegal substance in the cottage’s attic and accidentally started the fire, but I can’t imagine how the residents could miss teens galumphing about in their attic. But just think, we could be in the middle of a crime zone! Is that nice neighbor a drug czar? Does everyone grow poppies simply because they are pretty flowers? Is my mum safe here?

Or is she in on it?

Also in the news – well, not exactly – we had a little adventure in the Wigglybus. Heading for home, it suddenly veered along a dirt track between fences, wound between piles of manure and into a farmyard. “If you mean to abduct us,” I said to the driver, “nobody will pay the ransom.” But it had stopped to change drivers at the Wigglybus depot. The “depot” is a farmyard, and the little buses are housed in a barn which is nothing more than three wooden walls with a tattered canvas roof. Apparently, the council which now finances the services won’t go as far as to provide somewhere for the Wigglys to sleep at night, so they’re in a smelly farm.

Everyone . . . . aw.

cottagefront-smallWhile I’m (still) talking about Wiltshire, think about coming to the Pewsey Vale if you visit England. It’s beautiful, picturesque countryside and so many interesting sites are easily reachable from here. Smaller towns like Devizes, and Marlborough with its wonderful medieval buildings. Cities such as magnificent Salisbury, and gracious Bath. Historic houses abound: Lacock, Stourhead, and Wilton, to name a few. And ancient sites such as the Old Sarum iron-age hill fort, later used by the Romans and Normans, Stonehenge, and what I think is far more interesting than Stonehenge: the stone circles and village at Avebury. Need somewhere to stay? (Yes, this is a plug.) Our boys stayed in Rushall Village at “The Chestnuts” (I had a link but it no longer works) which is a British Heritage listed building. Gorgeous cottage, where they were warmly welcomed by hosts Richard and Linda Tilbury and fed copious amounts of food at breakfast. In fact I was quite envious. They loved their comfortable accommodation and how Richard and Linda made them feel at home. And did I mention huge breakfasts? And they don’t grow illegal substances in their attic.

Our adventures continued with a few days with my sister in Newbury. After riding the train to Paddington, she courageously led us through the London underground and on buses, where we would have been utterly lost without her.  We ended up at Crouch End in London to spend a few hours with our niece. Crouch End is – IMO – a horrible name which conjures images of a grubby, gray, Sweeney Todd kind of London when it is actually lovely. The niece lives in a beautiful residential area with amazing Gothic houses only five minutes from town. The town also has many Gothic buildings, and every other building seems to be either a tempting bakery or a restaurant. Definitely my kind of place. The weather was awful, bitterly cold, windy and snowing. I had to go in a charity shop and buy a cheap hat, which I gave to Mum when we returned to Rushall. I think she looks très chic in it. Anyway, we ate lunch in Monkeynuts, fantastic food! If you happen to be in Crouch End, I highly recommend the restaurant.

And my good mate Carol came to Newbury from Motspur Park for the day and valiantly walked around Newbury despite a painful knee. Husband, sister and I did enjoy seeing you, Carol, and I hope you’ve forgiven sister for calling you Carrie. :0

We’ll be on our way back to Utah on Monday. Goodbye Wiltshire. Goodbye land of my birth. Ta ta, Mum, Sis, Niece, Bro, friends, cousins, nieces, nephews, aunt, and their families. Until next time.

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