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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

From my English Country Diary: The Slaughters after Christmas.

This past December I was really determined to capture the beauty, creativity and inspiration that fill the Cotswolds at Christmastime. But during Advent I've been so busy with my new designs for Atlanta Show, all of the stress for my hubby's surgery, and also because of my high sensitivity I always avoid busy places and busy hours, in the end it was just at the end of December, when things calm down, that I decided to go for another wreath- hunting expedition. That very day, I awoke to everything white. Jack Frost had popped by for a visit overnight... in the beginning I didn't realize that the roads were all icy and slippery too (and I had never driven in such conditions before), but then I decided to be brave and go anyway. So glad I did!

I love to follow the sat nav in the middle of nowhere- this has been a big leap of faith the past year for me, and a powerful epiphany, when I realized I just had to trust! You point the sat nav and then you follow the directions, even if you have no idea of where on earth you are, and sometimes even believe that it's guiding you to the wrong place! You simply have to trust, take deep breaths along the way, and savor the journey (of course, you know what I mean in a wider, more of a methaphysical, sense).

This is how I found myself in this little village, that lies in the open countryside somewhere between Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire (update: the name of this tiny village is Cornwell). From the car, I spotted just a coreography of frosted roof tiles, stone walls, apple trees... and I immediately knew I had to stop and have a look. These hidden gems, where everything is silent and the time definitely has stopped somehow, are the very reason why I love living in the Cotswolds!

The roads were incredibly slippery, and even wearing Timberland boots, had to be extra careful. So didn't venture far away from my car, but managed to take some interesting shots anyway, and I will surely come back with better ground conditions.

While I was itching to walk along those alleys, I decided to not linger any further and reach my destination, the Slaughters, in Gloucestershire.

I arrived in Lower Slaughter, a nice village not far from Stow- on- the- Wold, hoping to find a plethora of Christmas wreaths on the doors... and finding instead the broom in bloom! :)

I found some wreaths on the doors in the end, but the village was totally missing the festive atmosphere I had hoped for. In England, looks like many keep the decorations up just for a couple of weeks, no longer, and that's it. All gone just after Christmas or first days of January. Boo hoo (... by the way, my hubby was veeery pleased to hear that there's something that I don't like at all in this Country! te-hee). 

The views were stunning, though... so different from those I'm used to in the Summer! This is one of the places that I like to visit every now and then, camera in hand and sketchbook in my bag...

The cottage with a blue door by the old mill was the very reason why I visited the village that day, but unfortunately... no signs of Christmas at all!
I felt like a child whose icecream had fallen down to the floor :(

From Lower Slaughter, in less than one mile you can drive along a narrow country road and reach Upper Slaughter (hence these two villages are referred to as The Slaughters) one of my personal favorites in the Cotswolds! Maybe it's the place that I love the most, of those that I've explored since I'm living here. Coming back is a breath of fresh air, each and every time.

Looks like old telephone boxes are used now for defibrillators. I've bumped into several lately.

One very creative wreath, I think my favorite I've seen this year!
Loved the richness and contrast with dark green.

I had to brave the river, as the road was so slippery that this was the only way to reach the other side of the village!

And each and every time I come here, I stop in front of these windows, likely of a painter's studio. Oh I wish I could sneak a peek in there! :)

While during summertime you can meet several tourists along these roads, in the Winter you have them all for yourself. What a treat!

Monica x


  1. The Slaughters are so beautiful, I haven't been there for ages, so it's been lovely to see your photos as a reminder. Glad you enjoyed your visit there.

  2. Oh what beautiful pictures. I would love to see these homes in person some day. Thanks for sharing. I like you went out looking for wreaths. I have been know to do similar things. Just love all the stone buildings. Be careful on the ice.

  3. Monica - What a wonderful place to take your camera and take all of those gorgeous photos! I visited your Etsy shop and you have some beautiful things. I am your newest follower.


  4. Oh you were so brave! I was unsure what you were talking about at first….here we call it the GPS…..I am not so fond, only because it would take me onto highways….which I don't mind if I am not driving! If I could drive country roads I may be more apt to use it!

    I adore taking photos in frosty conditions. In fact, I photographed the last flowers in my garden in gorgeous icy conditions this fall. Seeing you exploring in the villages looks like a delight and an adventure!

    Thanks for sharing these gorgeous photos!

  5. A perfectly lovely post..
    You are so good to step out and take those photos!
    Why am I reluctant to get up close and photo?
    Without your doing so I would have never seen these delicious sights..

  6. Your photos are absolutely beautiful! I would love to visit the area...if I ever venture across the ocean. Thank you sharing your adventures with us!

  7. Loved seeing your part of the world. A pretty change form all the concrete, steel and flashing lights now days. Thanks for sharing. Wouldn't you love to see inside of some of those old cottages/buildings.

  8. Love your photos! You make me so envious that you live in England. What a dream come true it would be. I so enjoyed your photo journey of your trip. What a delightful treat!

  9. What a beautiful place. Such lovely photos. The long shadows across the village are so picturesque.

  10. Beautiful scenery and gorgeous photographs. You have captured the frosty look in a lovely way.
    Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

  11. What a lovely wreath on the green door! I hope that makes up for the fact that we tend to have a bare January here! I think the yellow flower might be winter Jasmine. It's lovely I have some outside my door. The first colour I have seen other than the berries! I think using the old phone boxes for first aid is a great idea. We have an abandoned one at the end of our road with a question mark on it! What to do with it! We have to keep them of course. Take care on the roads, Heather x

  12. You must be completely ecstatic to be able to visit these places so easily, Monica@ An artist's dream!!! Thank you for bringing us along with you!

  13. Its all so peaceful and I love that we get to see it through your eyes, I love the bare bones of winter.
    You must have to pinch yourself every once in awhile that you are getting the chance to live there, its so beautiful :)

  14. You have taken me back with this post Monica... back to charm, and old stone, and quiet ways... I miss it so much, you can't know. Well, perhaps, maybe you can...I am glad for you that you are where you are meant to be, but I did laugh at Marco's comment about something finally that you don't like about England. It's a small thing though, and I think you will be setting an example for your neighbours, about how to celebrate a season...
    And remember, next year, go earlier!


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