The following is an excerpt from my travel journal…
Day 11, Friday December 20, 2019
H& J left super early to head up to Glasgow so we said our goodbyes (for now) last night. We’ll catch up with them again in Tetbury on Monday evening.
We took our time and had brekky at Cambridge Street before retrieving the car from the parking station we’d left it at last Sunday. Thankfully, it was in the same condition as when we parked it. Extra gratitude points for the pre-paid voucher working as it should. As an aside, I still can’t get over how it was cheaper for us to park the car for 5 days than it was to drop it off and pick up a new rental. I get that it was all because of Christmas demand, but whatever.
It took us ages to get out of London this morning – and, judging by the chaos at the motorway services, it was because we weren’t the only one escaping the city for Christmas.
Our lunch stop was at a pub, of course. This one was the Three Crowns at Brinkworth in North Wiltshire – just 12 miles south-east of Tetbury.
Brinkworth’s claim to fame is that it’s said to be the longest village in England. Just like the oldest pub in England claims, there are other villages who would beg to differ. At 1.5 miles long it is, however, a long village indeed.
I had the pheasant breast burger (£10) which was dry and ho-hum. Sarah and Grant both had the venison pie (£10) with veggies. Sarah pronounced it the best pie she’d ever eaten. #bigcall
Being too early still to check in when we arrived in Tetbury, we stopped off at Tesco to get some Christmas supplies in – and watched the sunset. This photo was taken at the Tesco carpark…at 3.37pm. Seriously. These short days are beginning to do my head in.
Our cottage in Tetbury is narrow, smaller than I expected from the pictures, but cute. The cottage is just one room wide – I think it must once have been part of the property next door – and three (and a half) floors high with the half-floor between ground and first being the bathroom. It’s beautifully styled and they’ve even left a small Christmas tree for us.
Our bedroom and ensuite is at the top of three steep flights of stairs, and Sarah is one floor down from us. Let’s just say that dragging our suitcases up was interesting.
There are plenty of books lying around. I found this classic by Nancy Mitford that seems appropriate for the season.
After settling in we took a walk through town.
Tetbury is well and truly dressed for Christmas, with most stores in town competing in the Christmas window display competition.
Aside from more antique shops per head of population than anywhere else I’ve been, Tetbury also has a Highgrove Estate store.
Highgrove Estate lies behind a massive stone wall a few miles out of town and is home to Prince Charles and Camilla. The estate store in town sells Highgrove (and Duchy of Cornwall) branded food and wine, prints of Charlie’s watercolours, books, gardening implements, hats and capes and jackets, and lots of other fabulous things. I tried to persuade Grant to try the plaid cap on for size. With an oilskin jacket and a carved walking stick, I could see him striding through the estate like a laird. He wasn’t impressed by that idea.
As well as being one of the biggest stores in town, it’s also one of the friendliest. A couple of the proprietors in other stores looked down their noses a tad when they heard our Australian accent – I’m not mentioning any names. It was the first time I’d come across that sort of snobbery this trip and it did make my colonial hackles rise more than a little. I suppose that it’s due to the high net worth in and around the town but that’s no excuse. Thankfully the experience in those two establishments was the exception rather than the rule.
Dinner tonight was at the Spice Merchants just outside Malmesbury. After the disappointment of last Friday night’s curries at Bakewell, this was really, really, good Indian.
I have a terrible cough and Sarah is full of a head cold. Grant says he’s fine but every time he lies down he starts to choke too. Life on the road I guess. Whisky will cure it…or wine…or both.
Tomorrow we’re off to Bath.