Saturday, September 20, 2014

England, Day 6: Kelmscott Manor

No scary fire alarms were hideously set off, and no youthful feet came stomping the hallways. The SconeLady is deeply grateful for this small favor. She had a night's sleep of utter peace. And as such, ready for an adventurous day of finding, and visiting, Kelmscott Manor.

I had heard of this interesting spot during a satisfying FaceTime call with friend Rosie, who is always eager to help when help is needed. She highly recommended the Manor because she knew that I, her American friend, love seeing Manors just as much as she does. I knew it would be smashing.

Kelmscott Manor

But I had to get there, and this was the challenge. Kindly bus drivers had tried to help, and a tourist information clerk had rattled something off about going to Faringdon but not being sure there would even be a bus to Lechlade-on-Thames, a village 4 miles from the Manor. Well. Some of this was helpful, up to a point. I walked last night down to the bus station to get it all sorted. The agent said he thought I should go to Swindon instead of Faringdon because...oh, just because. It's too complicated to type it all out on an iPad using only two fingers.

Pastures green

But I can briefly report that I did indeed find the Manor, and did indeed love it. Besides the bus, my travel included an hour and a half of walking, each way. This was fabulous because I was once again on the familiar ground of a walking tour in England! This walk was right along the River Thames, and therefore beautiful. Everything you love about the English countryside was out there today - people fishing from the river side, families walking together on a Saturday, friendly bovines who couldn't care less, and green, green grass as far as the eye could see.

Carrot and Coriander soup!

When I arrived, a beautiful lady approached and explained about Kelmscott Manor, which 
was the Cotswold retreat of William Morris. He first saw the Manor in 1871 and said he was 'delighted by this loveliest haunt of ancient peace'. He lived there until his death 25 years later.

To fully appreciate this place, you really do need to know something of the man. I spent 
the day thinking he was the famous industrialist who created the Morris motor car in the 
mid 20th century. I searched around the house for car sketches, or photographs of a Mini. Instead, I found things like textiles, and beautiful wall hangings, and sketches of his wife Jane, who was gorgeous. 

Both William Morrises were from Oxfordshire, so the confusion is not surprising. Kelmscott Manor reflects the qualities of a successful textile designer, with not a single hint of any car. My favorite spot was the attic. I would love to hide out in an attic like this one:

And - I had a lovely bowl of carrot with coriander soup in their tea rooms! No scones, though. They didn't look as nice as the soup did and I can never resist a good soup.

As I walked back along the River Thames, among the swans, the ducks, and the lazy cattle along the way, not a drop of rain drifted down. Not a cross word was heard from any person I saw or heard. It truly was the 'loveliest haunt of ancient peace', just as the man himself would have wished for.

A perfect English day.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

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