Yes I know this is supposed to be an Africa blog but I’ve just spent a couple of days in my favourite part of Britain – The Cotswolds. I started off in Shakespeare country – Stratford on Avon. Now as far as I know Bill never went on Safari, which is a shame because it may have livened up some of his work.
King Richard might have said “A zebra, a zebra! My kingdom for a zebra” for example.
Julius Caesar could have come out with the immortal line – “Friends, Romans, Countrymen. Lend me your binoculars.”
His sonnet No18 might have read – “Shall I compare thee to a hippopotamus?”
He may have written “The Taming of the Elephant Shrew.”
Shylock would probably have said "If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if we get out of the game viewing vehicle shall we not be eaten by a lion or something?”
But enough of this frivolity. Verily I saith to myself – Get on with it!!
Stratford oozes history from every half timbered house. There’s Shakespeare’s birthplace, his grave, Anne Hathaway’s cottage, you name it, it’s all there. Meanwhile the River Avon flows languidly by, liberally peppered with beautiful white swans and overhung by shady weeping willows. From there I drove to Evesham, another charming town on the river and well worth a visit. Broadway was next. I love this place. It’s a little less touristy than some of the other spots. It nestles at the foot of an escarpment and at this time of year – mid autumn I think it is at it’s very best. The leaves are just starting to turn to orange and red and the gorgeous apricot coloured stone buildings seem to glow with an inner warmth in the late afternoon sunshine. It is all heartbreakingly lovely.
Then on to the sinisterly name Slaughters. The tiny hamlets of Upper and Lower Slaughter are about a mile apart. A nice little stream runs through Lower Slaughter and there is an interesting museum there along with the usual collection of fairy tale houses. There’s a bit more to see at Lower Slaughter but it’s a pleasant walk on a nice day to Upper Slaughter.
My last stop was Bourton on the Water which is only two or three miles from the Slaughters. With it’s fish filled stream running through it’s centre it looks like a full size version of those model Olde English villages you see everywhere. There were quite a few tourists about, people from pretty much every corner of the globe. There were Japanese, Spaniards, Dutch, Aussies and Americans. (“Say Hank! Why couldn’t these damned limeys build this place closer to London?”)
Then I found that I’d run out of time on my Cotswolds Safari and I hadn’t even got to Stow on the Wold – another of my favourites. And there are dozens of other wonderful places to explore in this part of the world. Even on a cold, wet day it’s lovely just to sit in a Broadway pub with a blazing log fire inhaling both the history and a pint of Bishops Finger.