Honeymoon Crashing in the Cotswolds (Laura)
A year ago Mike and I were honored to play in our dear friends’ wedding on a beautiful beach in Point Reyes, CA. Little did we know that twelve months later we would be crashing their year-delayed honeymoon in the Cotswolds AND that Brittany would be six months pregnant! Life is full of awesome surprises.
Colin (although he admits his mom did a lot of the work) planned a wonderful three-night trip through a couple villages in the Cotswolds, and we reaped the benefits of their careful planning. We got an early start in our rental car and drove from London to a beautiful manor in Broadway where we had 1:00pm reservations for a traditional English Sunday lunch. As soon as we got out of the car and walked up through the gardens, we all knew the next three days were going to be AWESOME. The English countryside is stunning, the company/conversation the best, and somehow we lucked out with sunshine and blue skies the whole time. The lunch was fabulous, and included things like smoked duck salad, red pepper mousse, and beef roast with Yorkshire pudding. And the most delicious earl grey panna cotta we’ve ever had, along with port wine and coffee. Yeah, we were doing England right.
After lunch we walked around the gardens and took lots of pictures, especially because we were all obsessed with Brittany’s big belly. Then we made our way to our B&B that would be our home for the next two nights. Originally an old school house, Wendy has kept the original structure and charm of this place and added to it unparalleled hospitality…and a chicken coup for fresh eggs in the morning. She even publicized our presence to all the establishments so that when we, for example, walked into the local pub, the bar tender said to Colin, “you must be Colin!” Weird, or charming, or both.
We spent the two days there walking around the countryside, crashing a private party at an old estate (and promptly getting kicked out), exploring the little towns of the Cotswolds, and consuming at least 3,000 calories a day. Between the full English breakfast at the B&B, then the English tea with scones, cakes and cream, and then the massive booty of cheese and wine collected from the towns that we brought back for our dinner, we were doing the heavy version of the Cotswolds.
Here’s a few things we learned from our time there:
1) People from the Cotswolds will insist that it is easy to find _______ (insert extremely difficult-to-find Cotswoldsian town here). Also their map is impossibly detailed and too large to be of use (see photo)
2) Pregnant people are still fun! Especially Brittany.
3) English people end every statement with a question, as if they are too polite to actually insist on anything. Ex: “oh yes, we came to this B&B last year, didn’t we?” Or: “I just hate when Americans call these strumpets instead of crumpets, don’t I?”
4) In general English beer is actually underwhelming. Not that flavorful and served tepid.
5) All attractive blonde British men look like Matthew Crawley from Downton Abbey
6) Don’t touch the chicken coup (or God will unleash the plague of mites on you)
7) Clotted cream is way more delicious than it sounds
To finish off our trip, we drove to Bibury for one last night of old school luxury. When we pulled up to this place were giddy– giant old mansion surrounded by a huge estate complete with rolling lawn, sheep, river, and stone bridge. With some champagne we walked along the grounds and then enjoyed a delicious dinner. Reluctant to go to bed on our last night together, we stayed up late talking in the salon and FINALLY got their stubborn baby to kick for us.
The next morning before rushing off to the airport, we enjoyed one last walk where we came across the most beautiful tree I’ve ever seen and three ducks with their butts in the air– it doesn’t get much better than that. We definitely couldn’t have asked for a better trip with our friends, and are so happy they let us crash their honeymoon, aren’t we? ;o)