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  • Writer's pictureJane Ritzenthaler

The Cotswolds

My home for 4 nights in Stow-on-the-Wold, which means "meeting place on the hill", No. 9. The 200+ year old B&B is owned by a gifted young couple, Jon and Merlyn, who purchased the building and began gutting and refurbishing it just as the Pandemic hit. Construction stumbled along, and they lived with no heat or bathrooms for far too long! But the results are amazing. This is the living room:

I arrived Friday afternoon, just before the rain started. And believe it or not, that was the only rain I've experienced so far! Saturday dawned sunny and cool, and I decided to embark on my day-long hike through the hills and villages of the Cotswolds. I was following the Gloucestershire Way, a Public Footpath that winds through farms, meadows full of sheep and picture-postcard vistas, separated by a variety of gates. The meandering path is marked by tiny little markers usually imbedded in fence posts, but too much gawking can cause you to miss one! Which I did. But a friendly woman with a sheepdog steered me in the right direction. Here are some highlights:

I finally arrived in Lower Slaughter (and no, it doesn't refer to what they do to those cute sheep. It's derived from the Old English term "slough" meaning "wet land"). The charming village has a working water mill, a church, and a hotel and restaurant with beams so low even I ducked a couple of times. I fortified myself with soup and crusty sourdough bread before continuing on to Upper Slaughter. Not much to see there (other than the iconic red phone booth now repurposed to hold a defibrillator) so I walked the mile back, attempting to find the bus back to Stow. After seeking directions from the gal behind the desk at that hotel where I'd had a late lunch, I struck out for the main road where the bus stop was supposedly next to a garage. Pronounced "gare-age." But when I rounded what I hoped was the last bend, the only building I saw was a Texaco station. There was a bus stop sign across the road, but it was on the wrong side for vehicles going to Stow. I went into the mini-market and asked the cashier, a man from India, where the bus stop was for Stow. He frowned and said he never heard of Stow. Trying not to roll my eyes, I headed across the street and perused the bus schedule posted on the pole. Nope. No Stow listed, only towns in the opposite direction. At that point, my feet were hurting, the day was waning, and I was out of options. I sent up a quick prayer for help, and before I even got to an Amen, a young blond gal dashed across the street. She'd overheard the discussion with the cashier, and we puzzled together where the bus stop for Stow could be. Finally, she said, "Why don't I just drive you there?" "Seriously? How much?" "Oh, nothing at all, it's only 5 minutes up the road." My angel was 21, just graduated from university with a degree in History, but had no idea what she was going to do with it. But she wanted to travel. So when she dropped me off in the market square of Stow, I insisted she take a 5 pound note for her travel fund. Thank you Lord! Below are some photos of the Slaughters.

Tomorrow I'll tell you about my Sunday...and attending St Edward's, an Anglican church here in Stow.

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Oct 03, 2022

You look wonderful and relaxed.

Praying for your safe journey.


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