Saturday, 6 August 2016

Blue sky, white clouds

Steeple Ashton

I love living in a tourist town. I remember the awful lonely feeling when living in towns which emptied in the Summer.

There are, though, far too many photographs taken these days, especially since digital cameras have taken over. Maybe they should put a tax on photography and have uniformed marshalls patrolling the streets and extracting the duties from snap-happy tourists. Selfies would incur the highest penalties, if I was the M.C. of Bath.

All in all, this has been - so far - a good British Summer, with just the right amount of wind and rain to remind us where we are, along with periods of swelter just long enough for us not to get aclimatised to them.

Sometimes, when I am driving through Cotswold countryside past clouds of white cow-parsley with the distant downs on the horizon, I really do think that there is nowhere else on earth I would rather be.

To stop off at a gabled little town and book into a 17th century room above some place which has been used as a hostelry since the pious made pilgimages to Canterbury is my idea of escape. Funnily enough, it reminds me more of the 1930s and 40s than the 17th century.

There is a little village near here called Steeple Ashton. It is almost too pretty for its own good, but thankfully far enough away from any main route to be visited by more than a handful of people on the tourist track. I think it is on the list of locations for film productions though. You may have spotted it in one or two flicks.

You can tell I am in a weekend frame of mind, and this one is augmented by the finishing of one weekday project with the prospect of another good one at the end of the month. I am in the rare mental state (for me) of feeling that I am very lucky, and  - for a fleeting moment - all is fine with my little bit of the world.

The work I have just completed involved tinting some new stonework to make it look as though it has been there for a lot longer than the few months it actually has, and the project on the horizon is the restoration of a rustic and ornamental bridge which was designed and built by 'Capability' Lancelot Brown. This involves a material which is so difficult to obtain these days, that I have ordered two tons of it to be sent from Canada (via the USA), and it should arrive in a week or two.

Everyone else who is employed by this estate arrives at 6.30 in the morning, has a half hour lunch break and leaves at 4.30 in the afternoon. I drift in and out, almost as I please, and my excuse for this laziness is my age and experience. I am in the process of getting my patrons to view me as a hands-on consultant. Like I say, I feel lucky right now.

H.I. finishes her last Summer School this week, and I am contemplating us getting into the car and spending a night or two in one of those 17th century hostelries before our dear friend Thomas arrives from Germany in early October.

If only I could pay off my credit card bills (accumulated when I could not afford to drive off for a couple of days, but did anyway), things really would be very agreeable.

25 comments:

  1. You are very lucky indeed to be where you want to be. If I ever make it back to GB, I'd love to visit just such places as I never made it out of London. I was wondering where I could find a place to order a box of terra cotta and how much the shipping would cost, then read about the tons of material you are ordering. That boggles the mind.

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  2. There are so many pretty villages near you, aren't there Tom ? ...... get in the car with H.I. and bugger the credit cards ..... we're supposedly in for a few days of nice weather.... all work and no play etc. etc. I know there's nowhere I'd rather be and I don't live in as pretty a place as you. XXXX

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    1. The Boy said I should 'live in the present' more, and I said it was doing that which got me into this mess.

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  3. I like living where I live too. I have some days off and a friend coming to stay and a few heavy drinking sessions ahead of me. Life is okay in a simple way I was thinking today. I wanted it to be more complicated like I thought other people might have but what is the point if I am happy I thought later and they probably aren't anyway. Have a lovely evening x

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Don't be too hard on him..

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    3. I got a bit worried there when I saw Jacksie and root vegetable and stick it up !!! XXXX

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    4. Well it was only a joke, but I've taken it down in case it gets taken seriously. To tell the truth, I am envious of his flower shows.

      Anyway, no chance of me and hard ons getting mentioned in this context.

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    5. He and I have an understanding - we mercilessly take the piss out of each other.

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    6. No .... You've got the wrong end of the stick .... I was thinking jacksie was Jack@ !!!! XXXX

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    7. And I was replying to Rachel. Jack@. Maybe it would be less confusing if you created your own thread, but it's good to hear from you nomatter when and where.

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    8. Sorry .... I will try harder with my blogging etiquette !!!!! XXXX

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    9. I'm really not offended - any comments are always appreciated!

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  4. A stopping point for a little vacation. Sounds super. Perhaps some day...

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    1. When you have settled in to your new home? Maybe you should take a break soon - house moving is tiring and stressful!

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  5. Lovely village - shame about the credit card.

    Did you get me query about whether or not you ever came across small silver boxes?

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    1. Yes I did Weave, and I answered your question. Let me know what sort of thing you want and what sort of price you are thinking about, and I will do my best to find something. Just to warn you, silver still fetches high prices, especially as loads of lovely Georgian silver was melted down a few years ago by unscrupulous scrap dealers when the metal prices were high. Criminal behaviour.

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    2. P.S. If you email me here: tjstephenson@talktalk.net
      I will give you my real email address!

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    3. I've just sent you an email, Weave.

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  6. My husband and I are just about to have a week's vacation in your part of the world (Cotswolds). My first time, but he has been there before with his family when he was much younger. I am so looking forward to it! -Jenn

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    1. It really is a very pleasant place, for all sorts of reasons. Where are you coming from? (Sounds like a line from the Smurfs).

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    2. Ah, Ontario - which part? I know Grand Bend and I know Toronto... a little...

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    3. We are three hours north west of Toronto in the Grey / Bruce counties area. Grand Bend is farther south west of us.

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  7. I have been lucky to visit various parts of the the UK that are very touristy, and not very touristy, and really enjoyed the mix. These travels began in the mid 1970s, but really got underway in the early 80s, and so I do have somewhat of an idea about the parts that I hope will never change. Stop the clocks! And do enjoy your current relaxed pace.

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