20 June 2013

Day 6: As Always, It's the People Who Make the Place

We left the cottage early this morning, worried that we might miss the 10 minute window between arrival and the start of our tour at Prince Charles' Highgrove Estate. Since it was 1 1/2 hours away from the cottage, making that target time felt a little tricky. In the end, we arrived at Tetbury (the village  Highgrove is nearest) 1:15 in advance of our appointed time. No worries. As there is no address for Highrove, the SatNav couldn't really get us there, so I felt it appropriate to stop in Tetbury and reassure myself by chatting to a local about how close we really were.

We strolled around Tetbury for a few minutes, and then we headed to the town's church, which has a rather impressive spire. It really is a lovely church, and we enjoyed our visit there.

The tall spire at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin and St. Mary Magdalen

The lovely church yard
As we were leaving, we luckily ran into a volunteer for the local gardening team, so I asked her if she could tell us how close we were to the Prince's estate. And then she regaled us with all sorts of fantastic stories, just rattling on and on. She was delightful and completely made our morning. Fortified with all of her information, we went back to the car to find Highgrove.

The main street in Tetbury

And we did find it, and it was magnificent. It is not what I expected, and I have seen a television program about it. You might think that His Royal Highness would want everything to be perfect, just so in his gardens. That's not the case here. It is a relaxed place, a complete celebration of nature. I suspect that there is some sort of waiting list for birds to find a spot there, as there were so many of them, and they sang their happiness in such full-throated song that I felt pretty great about the world while listening to them. Each garden is unique and surprising and simply marvelous. We only wished that we could come back several times in the same year. Since we have our eye on a cottage in a nearby village...

We wanted to visit another place today that didn't turn out as great as we had hoped, but luckily, on our way there, we made a stop in Fairford, largely because the welcome sign said that it had a world famous church. We decided we needed to see it. 

St. Mary's Church...the world famous church

The church was interesting, but our guide inside was far better. He took every opportunity to rip on Americans in his sarcastic way, which we thought was quite funny and charming. Honestly, though, what got us giggling like school girls was the fact that he swore quite a bit. That's right. We had a church tour guide with quite colorful language. He wanted us to have a look at the carvings on the misericord. Mom asked him if they were pagan. He said, "Everything you put your a-- on is pagan, dear." And so we giggled. Then he showed us a stained glass window that depicted sinners being taken to hell. "Notice that all of the sinners are women, of course. And take a look at the expressions on those blue devils. It's like they're saying, 'We got you, you bi----s.'" Shocked, we giggled again. Then he referred to a terrible storm that blew out the windows in one area of the church in 1703. He said it was like "that storm that went through New York last year." He wanted to be reminded what kind of storm it was. 

"A hurricane," I said. 
"And it's name?" he asked. 
"Sandy," I said. 
"Huh," he responded. "I thought that was a word you used to 
describe your a-- after you had been to the beach." 

We tittered all the way to the car. Naughty as he was, he certainly made the day quite fun and memorable. 

So, light on photos, but heavy on characters and stories and good memories today. That, I think, is a sign of a good day.


  1. I'm loving your tales of travel, Becky!

  2. All those beautiful old cemeteries! :-)