UK trip
April 3, 2018

We left last night from Cape Town for the UK.  It is my Mom’s 80th birthday on Sunday and we decided to come over and celebrate that with my parents.  It is actually the first time for a while that just the family is traveling together.  The flight over was pretty uneventful except for Chloe being asked for her ID to prove she is of drinking age when she asked for champagne before take off. That is the first time any of our kids have been asked for proof of age when having alcohol on a flight (and some of them ‘might’ even have had before age 18!).

It was usual English spring weather when we arrived.  10 degrees C and raining. After having showers and breakfast in the BA arrivals lounge, we went off to find the shuttle bus to Hertz (who we were renting a car from). Standing outside waiting for the bus for 10 minutes in 10 degrees was a slightly shock to most of the family.

We had decided to spend 2 days in the Cottswolds on route to my parents. The last time we had slept in the Cottswolds was when we only had one child and he was in a pram still – probably around 20 years ago. The drive from Heathrow to the Cottswolds takes you past Oxford and takes about 2 hours.  We could only check in to our hotel at 2pm and given it was about 10:30am when we arrived in the area we decided to do some sightseeing in the area to kill some time.  We drove to Upper & Lower Slaughter & Stow-on-the-Wold.  Slaughter is really a strange name and makes you think the name must have come from some kind of killing spree.  It actually has nothing to do with that at all.  It comes from the old English word ‘Slohtre‘ which means ‘Muddy place’.  And that is exactly what the Cottswolds are right now – muddy. We were quite amazed by how many pheasants we have seen and even stopped to photograph one or two.  They really are beautiful birds.

We had tea & coffee in a quaint tea shop in Stow-on-the-Wold and walked around that town as well. Helen had remembered there were stocks in the town square.  The stocks are now somewhat weather eroded (only the bottom section was still present) but it is a quaint little town.  By this time it was nearing 1pm and we took a chance and headed to our hotel in Bourton-on-the-Water.  We had booked into the Old Manse Hotel which is exactly the same hotel Helen and I stayed in with Stephen 20+ years ago.  Fortunately we could get 2 of our rooms immediately so we unpacked and then went to find a lunch restaurant in the town.

After lunch we all felt the need to catch up on some rest/work/sleep and then at 5pm we went for a walk around Bourton-on-the-Water.  Unfortunately many of the shops had closed (or maybe fortunately) but we walked down the river well into the residential part of the town and then turned around and walked back up the river again in the other direction.  We walked for approximately 40 minutes which was probably good for all of us especially since afterwards we went into the pub for pint (or half-pint for most of the family).  We had dinner in the hotel and are all now settled in our rooms for the night.  I think we will all sleep well tonight.

Until tomorrow

P, H, S, M & C

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