We are all happily ensconced in a spacious cottage outside of the classic northern cotswolds village of Broadway, after a lovely day that began for me when I met Marion at Paddington station. We took a two hour train ride to Evesham. Merida came running towards us with outstretched arms on the platform and whisked us off in a spacious car driven by her husband Chip, who is unexpectedly joining our girls weekend which is just fine. He’s an Anglophile like us and good company and a good driver. Our original plan not to have a car was not wise. Tonight we drove on narrow lanes lined with trees or dry stone walls into one gorgeous little village after another with creamy yellow limestone homes with thatched roofs and lavender, roses, and hollyhocks climbing up the walls. (Stanton, Buckland, Snowshill!) I forgot how completely charming the English countryside is. In Broadway, we ate outside on a picnic table at a lovely place called Russell’s, eating fish and chips and drinking cider. Chip and I wandered around the famous Lygon Arms Hotel which dates back to the 1400s, with old timber beamed ceilings, dark stone floors, beveled glass in casement windows.
At one point, we pulled off a dirt road by a farm and parked beside a pasture where sheep were grazing, high above a valley with the sun setting over gentle hills and we just stood silent listening to the sheep and the birds and the wind and I felt incredibly lucky to be alive and to have England and these friends as a near constant for the past 35 years.