Today I could well have done with another day of rest but we’re away for so few days that I thought I must make the effort! We had a lovely drive around various Cotswold villages and I slept in the car for most of the driving time. There are some villages called “The Slaughters” which sounds awful, but they are the most beautiful of Cotswold villages with the houses uniformly built of the warm mellow golden Cotswold stone – houses in different styles and intriguing arrangements that probably would not be approved by modern planning laws!
We spent a long time in Lower Slaughter, and met the junior vicar outside the church, riding her bicycle, and she stopped to chat with us. We also met some delightful Chinese students studying in the North of England and spending their vacation exploring other parts of England. Here are some pictures of Lower Slaughter.
A detail shot of a beautiful wall in Lower Slaughter.
We then drove on to Bourton-on-the-Water, which is one of the most famous of the Cotswold villages. Although it was very pretty, I didn’t take to it so much as it was very touristy and a lot of the shops were pretty grotty, although we did find one little road with some more interesting ones. There were lots of ducks on the river, over which were many small footbridges. In this village there is a model village (of itself) but we didn’t go – we had both visited it in the past and wanted to move on to the next place. We had lunch in the company of three delightful retired Irish ladies in the open air but the food was rather mediocre, but nice and cheap!
Pictures of Bourton-on-the-Water:
This sweet little boy was fishing in the river, with the water almost over his wellies! His young parents were delightful and had no objection to our photographing their son, and were pleased that we enjoyed watching him so much. What the ducks thought of him, we weren’t sure!
In the afternoon we went to Chedworth Roman Villa, now the property of the National Trust. It is an important archaeological site, being a large and opulent Roman villa from the heyday of Roman Britain, with some very fine mosaics. A long building has been constructed over the exposed mosaics to preserve them, and to make viewing them easier – there are slatted walkways to look down through, and a couple of observation platforms. There are extensive baths and a hypocaust (for under-floor heating) with a clever arrangement of a number of hollow pillars which took the hot air up to the second storey. There are numerous reception rooms where the owners would have impressed their guests with the quality of their mosaics. Apparently there is still quite an area to be excavated and no doubt more mosaics will be revealed in time.
This is the latrine at the villa, situated outside the main building.
The villa was discovered 150 years ago this year, by the Victorians, who for some reason built a hunting lodge smack bang in the middle of the site! They obviously wanted to impress their visitors, too!
Some restoration work being carried out on the mosaics.
The mosaics feature figures from Greek mythology, animals and birds, and geometric patterns.
In the visitors’ centre, they had a selection of replica artefacts that had been found, and fun and educational things for the children to do, including some of the mosaic patterns in brass which they could use to make rubbings from. I did some myself, and we met a mother with two young daughters, and I encouraged the girls to make rubbings of other things as well, such as the interesting texture on the stone tiled floor of the building. One little girl said “We could do this at home! There are lots of things we could do, like trees!” I love to see people beginning to think outside the box and using their imagination like that.
One of the baths at the villa. They had cool baths to begin with, and progressed through the warm bath to the hot bath, and then a cold plunge pool. Slaves would be there to minister to their needs, and would scrape off the sweat and dirt with a metal strigil – most useful before the invention of soap!
Bathing (and use of the latrines) was communal.
The hypocaust under one of the bath chambers.
The projection on the wall in the next photo is the remains of one of the hollow pillars to take hot air up to the upper storey of the building.
This is a view of the side of the building covering a corridor mosaic in the villa. This mosaic can be viewed through the windows on the right hand side, and at the far end you can see one of the metal observation platforms.
Some of the remains of the villa outside. The Victorians built some walls and concrete pathways to indicate where the different rooms were.
The tops of these little walls were capped with tiles. I love the pattern they made at the end of the wall.
These are the small pillars which would have supported the floor over the hypocaust.
Finally, a picture of the beautiful little model of how the villa would have looked in its heyday.
Another sleep in the car on the way back to our B&B, and then a quiet evening in their lovely conservatory (where the best Internet signal is!).