Of Lavender Fields, Swathes of Green, Cottage Gardens, Canals and Shakespeare: Highgrove and Stratford-Upon-Avon  

Posted by Heidi

We were in high spirits as we boarded the coach in Bath.  We were having a marvelous time and there was so much more to see.  However, the first sights were seen as we flew by in the coach.  One such of these not-to-be-missed locals was Highgrove, the Gloucestershire country home of Charles and Camilla near Tetbury.

This photo is one of the entrance gates (or so we were told) (at least, that's how I remember it).  (Which is to say, who knows?)

This is Prince Charles' store in Tetbury where he sells products from his organic garden.  It was still early enough in the morning that it had not yet opened its doors for the day.  I love the blue here--it was a color we saw a lot in England.

An interesting building I managed to snap a photo of through the coach window.

The Highgrove property is huge with many buildings.  This is another piece of it that we spied as we drove out of town.  Since I have been home, I have been salivating over photos of Highgrove on Pinterest.  There is nothing for it--I MUST go back.

This cute pub sign was spied on a "comfort break" in a little town called Stow-on-the-Wold. I adore the English pub signs.  My first book, Miss Delacourt Speaks Her Mind, features a pub sign for the Swan and Flute.  In Lord Haversham Takes Command, the story of Miss Delacourt's daughter with her now-husband-former-hero of Miss D, the family visits the same pub.  However, it has seen a change of hands and is now known as The Cygnet and Lute.  (The famous people in this photo were on our coach tour:  Cindy and Sean McKnight of Cute Girls Hair Styles and their daughters, Brooklyn and Bailey who have their own, even more famous, youtube channel.  Lovely people.)

Such delightful planter boxes.  This little eatery was located right by the coach park which was right by a public restroom.  Very ingenious, however, they got none of our money.  I spent the entire time waiting in line to use the restroom.

I did manage to get one or two photos as I walked back and forth from the coach.  Meanwhile, my daughter was on the hunt for something she had seen on Pinterest and knew was nearby.

If she had told me that she was going to find an old church whose gothic portals were framed by ancient yet trees, I just might have gone with her, comfort be darned.  (This is not her photo--I found it on Pinterest--it might even have been the one she saw to begin with.)  By the time she shared this information with me, it was too late to get off of the coach to see it for myself.  (Such is life.)

I wish I knew the purpose/import of these lovely little spire-like towers.

Our next stop was the hamlet of Shottery wherein lies Anne Hathaway's cottage.  She was the wife of one William Shakespeare, a rather well known chap who was born and raised a mile away in the town of Stratford-Upon-Avon. When preparing these photos for this blog post, I perused the photos from my 1999 trip to England and realized that I had gotten close enough to this to have taken a photo of it from behind.  It was not nearly as well taken care of then.  The landscaping is now much trimmer.  In neither case was there time to to go inside.  Again-I must go back!

There's nothing like a half-timbered (or black-and-white) building with a thatched roof to give you that old country English feel.

This place just screams Quaint and Charming.

I have decided that I really must find a way to install a flagstone walkway or path or 2X2 patch (my yards are both tiny) because after seeing this, nothing else will do.  (I think I shall order up a low slate stone wall, as well.)

I have never been a fan of shrub roses until now.  They are so sweet!

When the press of humanity became too obnoxious, we crossed the street to snap photos of this darling tea room.  This place is also ingeniously situated but, once again, they got none of our shillings.  (I was pretty much living on peanut fumes at this point; one can always eat later, right?)

I do so love peonies (pretty sure these are not roses but peonies) but my climate is too warm for them.  This in no way deterred me from purchasing a plant at Costco one spring. I left it in the pot with plans to plant it in the winter (as per the instructions) and I suppose it got a bit too brown as my husband (who still denies it) tossed it out.  (Alas, it was not meant to be.)

I took this photo three months ago and I can't remember its significance.  (By the time I get to the last of the second third of my photos, I might not remember what country I was in.) It is possible that it is the oldest building in Stratford-Upon-Avon.  Or perhaps I just thought it pretty.  In looking through the half a dozen photos I took of this town in 1999, I am surprised at how different Stratford looks--however, I did spot a highly zoomed in shot of the trim on this very same building.  (I am guessing I thought it was pretty back then, too.)

I have consulted with my daughter of the young and superior brain and she can't remember why we took this photo, either.  I believe it is an elementary school.  Or not.  It has a lovely garden.

I love this shot with the touring coach in the background (not our's but so colorful!) and the jester in the foreground.  There are many far better photos of this on Pinterest.  This fellow's face is just wonderful.  The quote on the base (left hand side) is from As You Like It and reads:  The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.

And finally, the home of Shakespeare, where he was born and raised.  This is quite different from how I remember it, also.  I photo'd this from across the street in 1999.  Since then, the street has been made a pedestrian walkway and it is all very much more touristy.  The photo I took shows a hedge of bright colored flowers lining the front of the house which have, for some reason, been removed.

At any rate, it is a lovely house and was probably one of the largest in the area at the time it was built.

The famous McKnight family again--and the face of our beautiful tour guide, Ann, can be seen to the far right as she tells us about the house.

Proof that the Daleks of Doctor Who have conquered the world.  (Thought of you, Jami!)

A sweetly compelling side yard.

Somebody got creative with those curvy "timbers".

Good ol' Will.  The spotlights pointed at this statue reminds me of how much I would love to see these cities at night but it gets dark so late, I was always in bed by that time.  The sign at the bottom of this photo is highly unintelligible.  The upper part was made in, I believe, 1768.  The gist of it is (or might be) some flowery words about the generosity of those who paid for the sculpture.  (Upon reflection, it is highly likely.)  The bottom section reads:  1952-1977 To commemorate the silver jubilee of her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.  Very fitting, really.

Loving (and was loving) all f the carved people on this building.  This is a lost art.  How much sculpture do we see in the US outside of a few pieces in an art gallery?

Nothing is prettier than a riot of colorful flowers against a black-and-white.

I thought this was a very Halloweeny look for July but it struck me as photo-worthy.  (Obviously.)

THIS, I can say with unabashed certainty, is a school that was once attended by William Shakespeare.  I stood across the street from this and contemplated what it might be like to go to school every day in such a building.  I think that I would be too busy gazing on all of the window tracery to learn a thing--except for the ins and outs of window tracery.

I want to believe that the gargoyle in the photo above was placed there for some applicable purpose, perhaps to jeer at those who weren't inside learning about window tracery.

My daughter and I do not agree on the meaning of the graffiti on this white door, one of three gothic arches.  There are so many things to look at in this picture that I didn't notice the graffiti until after I took the photo.  To me it looks like the trefoils (I could be making this word up) one sees all around the U.K., especially in window tracery.  (I won't share my daughter's far less lofty supposition.)

The entrance to a lovely (I assume) hotel.  I am fairly certain it would be the work of a moment to transport this entire scene to my front porch area.  No?

An adorable "The Bard" door knocker.  I really need one of these, despite the large oval window in my front door which precludes me from screwing such an item into the appropriate spot. The back door?  It's an all glass slider.  My bedroom door?  Also almost all glass (replaced with plastic panels--I just couldn't sleep thinking of us fleeing the room during an earthquake and, in our collective panic,  cutting a major arm artery on our way out).  And now I'm fresh out of doors.

I have a dear friend who used to live on Cordelia Ave.  (Hi Leila!)  It's almost as if someone put that red bicycle there just to look quaint and charming and very chic.

Such a pretty building with all of its white trim.

We were wandering on our own at this point and came across this stunning garden.

In the center of it was this monument to William Shakespeare, a lovely sculpture that proves that being born in a specific place warrants vast reverence.

It stands in the center of a group of smaller sculptures, each one depicting a character from one of his plays.

This is without a doubt Prince Hal.  (I am sooooo smart.)  I love his pose with the crown.  He is from Henry the Fifth (Hal being a diminutive of Henry) and we spent an inordinate amount of time attempting to pose Mary such that it seemed as if he were crowning her instead of himself.  Hey, we could have re-written history if only the plinth he is standing on (what does that say?  I can't quite make it out) wasn't so wide that she just couldn't get her head close enough.

And here is a very despondent Hamlet.  (I just knew it was him because of his despondency.)  Growing up, we had a Lladro version of this same scene in our home.  It was incredibly detailed and I loved tracing the veins in his hands and the toes at the ends of his pointed shoes with my fingers.  This one was uber traceable.  C'est magnifique!  (Oh, wait, he's Danish--det er smukt!) (Google Translate offers no translation for magnificient in Danish--smukt means beautiful--and, indeed it is.)

Here is Mary commiserating with the sad fellow.  She has a ton of compassion, that girl does.  (I can only assume it came from not being crowned by Prince Hal.)

Here she is making a thorough job of it.  She's the best.

Apparently Stratford-Upon-Avon is riddled with canals.  Who knew?  Surely not I who has a photo of one that I took in 1999.  (The best part about losing your mind is that everything is new again.)

I was a bit surprised to see the words on this building:  The Edinburgh Woolen Mill.  We were tempted to go in but decided we would wait until we were in Edinburgh.  (We never saw another during our 8 days in Scotland.) (True story.)

It was almost time to board the coach but I just had to get a photo of Mary by this clock.  I took a photo of of this very same piece 17 years ago and I couldn't pass it up.  When I pulled out the old photo album and compared, I was reminded that before I got on the plane in 1999, little four year old Mary begged me to take her with me.  And now I have!  (When I shared this tender recollection with my daughter, she pithily, and quite rightly, reminded me that it was SHE who took ME.)  I am the luckiest mom ever! (No pith involved in that statement.)

Another pretty view of a very pretty place.  Next time, Something Else.  I can't remember what, but it will be in England, it will be good and it will most likely involve lakes and swans and Cotswolds.

This entry was posted on Saturday, October 24, 2015 at Saturday, October 24, 2015 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

1 wise, witty and wonderful comments

Another wonderful photo tour, Heidi. I feel (almost) as if I've been there. Thanks for sharing!

October 25, 2015 at 7:06 AM

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