Browsing Tag



Running Away to the Circus

One of the pleasures of living abroad is being in a time zone that’s inhospitable to watching live television coverage of key events in America’s presidential election cycle. Having missed the circus that was the Republican National Convention, I made up for it yesterday by spending the afternoon under the not-so-big top of a real circus, one with clowns and acrobats and animals whose sole aim was to do the exact opposite of what appeared to be the objective of America’s Grand Old Party: to make people smile.

Giffords Circus is a summer institution in the Cotswolds, touring village greens and commons with its distinctly throwback-style of entertainment. This year’s show, The Painted Wagon, is a wild-west themed extravaganza—a metaphor all too fitting for behavior last week at the RNC in Cleveland. Dodge City Saloon proprietress Sarsaparilla Sal was our hostess for the afternoon, while the house band led by Handsome Eddie provided the musical accompaniment for a variety show that included a lassoing cowgirl, juggling barkeeps, and gasp-inducing aerial hoop dancing. Tweedy the Clown and his pet iron, Keith, were also on hand to keep the laughs coming. There was even a baddie sheriff who tried to arrest the whole audience for eating gold chocolate coins that had been robbed from Wells Fargo by El Gifford. Perhaps in Cleveland he could have been deployed to arrest an effigy of Hillary. It’s as if the Giffords—the circus is the brainchild of Nell and Toti Gifford—anticipated the political climate in America and built the perfect antidote of an afternoon. Now if only they would consider touring it in the states.

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The General and his do-si-do-ing horse

Looking at my blog posts from the last year, it occurs to me that my afternoon at the circus fits a theme of how I like to spend my free time these days. From Kelmscott Manor to the whimsical Welsh village of Portmeirion to the London Tweed Run, I’m most interested in those activities who have no higher aim than happiness. I’m drawn to the creators of the world who’ve embraced this, from William Morris to Welsh architect Clough Williams-Ellis. A look over the headlines for the past month explains my newfound affinity for pursuits unburdened by any objective other than delight. More than ever, we need the Giffords of the world. An afternoon at the circus deserves a permanent spot on the curriculum for being human, especially if you’re running for president.

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An Atheist Goes to Church

The War Memorial in Northleach

By luck we were back in the Cotswolds last weekend for Remembrance Day, so we joined our village for the ceremony at the local war memorial followed by a service at our church.

While I’m an atheist for all intents and purposes, attending church in the Cotswolds has always been a non-issue for me. Perhaps because I was raised Presbyterian or perhaps because village churches are intricately woven into this Cotswold landscape I love, I’ve always found a sense of comfort in their drafty Anglican sanctuaries.

On this Remembrance Day I attended church out of respect and to sit for an hour in a still, sacred place.

If my use of the term “sacred” jars, allow it. I mean it in the dictionary sense of something that is both highly valued and important, and deserving of great respect. Of course we all know the reasons religion isn’t to be highly valued nor deserving of great respect. The list is as long as my arm, as old as the crusades, as recent as the ISIS massacre in Paris last night. But on this occasion church was sacred. It was also a reminder of how much work we have yet to do to create secular institutions that replace the sacred functions historically provided by the church.

These sacred functions were laid out in the major sections of the order of service: The Gathering, Listening for the Word from God, Praying Together, Remembering, and The Act of Commitment. With some secular adjustments—changing “Listening for the Word from God” to simply “Listening,” and “Praying Together” to something like “Sharing Hopes and Burdens”—it’s a blueprint for a secular approach to community.

During “Remembering,” the group of people bearing the poppy wreath moved to the church’s War Memorial by the south door and, as The Last Post sounded, we, the congregation, turned to face them. An elderly gentleman, the leader of the wreath party, kept silence for a long time. Long enough to feel the grief of those long-ago wars and the grief of the world today. Long enough for me to appreciate the rare opportunity to grieve with others.

And of course there were hymns. Speaking on behalf of the tone deaf of the world, one of the unparallelled benefits of church is the opportunity to sing with abandon. And for anyone who loves language, it’s hard to beat hymns. I don’t remember the name of the hymn in question, but I do remember marvelling at seeing such an elegant use of the underused word “concord.”

Perhaps the most striking part of the service was the last, “The Act of Commitment,” in which the congregation is asked to say out loud that “we will” seek to heal the wounds of war and work for a just future of all humanity. I know they’re just words, but there’s a simple power in asking that people speak them in front of other people, without the virtual veil of Twitter or Facebook. And I know of nowhere else that I’d be asked to say aloud such radical things.

Cotswolds Cycling

Playing Dress Up with The Guvnors’ Assembly

All about the details: custom fenders and champagne-cork-topped handlebars

Lastweekend we made a special trip back to Cotswoldia to take part in a “sporting event” I’ve had my eye on since last year: The Guvnors’ Assembly’s annual Jolly in the Wolds. The Assembly is a group of cycling enthusiasts who hail from all over Britain and distinguish themselves with sartorial elegance. This elegance begins with the choice of bike—a Pashley Guv’nor for the men and a Pashley Princess for the ladies—and extends into every other imaginable detail, from cat-eye sunglasses to the waxed tips of a mustache.

My love affair with Pashley cycles began in 2011 in Berlin—somewhat ironically since Pashley Cycles’ headquarters is in Stratford-upon-Avon, which is more or less the north Cotswolds—when I purchased a periwinkle-blue Pashley Poppy. She cost more than was strictly necessary to transport myself around the city, but, at roughly the same price as a designer shoe and infinitely more practical, the purchase was easy to rationalize. I like to think of her as the Jimmy Choos I’ll never own. My Poppy has followed me as we moved from Berlin to Boston and finally back to California, turning heads everywhere she goes. Sadly, when we moved back to Berlin this time around, we left Poppy in our California garage to enjoy a brief sabbatical.

A collection of Pashley Princesses

This left us in a dilemma over what to ride when we joined the Assembly at the weekend. We were in possession of some rather garishly colored road bikes, but we worried they would tarnish the aesthetic of the collective. The Assembly may have been worried about this possibility too, because, despite the fact that we were complete strangers, a longstanding member, Mr. Corky, offered to lend me a Pashley Princess and my husband something he called the tweed steed: a completely custom affair hand-upholstered in the finest Harris Tweed.

Bikes secured, we moved on to the question of what to wear. Berlin does vintage well, and it didn’t take me long to secure a 1950s-style sundress of yellow gingham with a cheerful cherry print. Husband relied on a more traditional Cotswold clothier, Pakeman Catto & Carter, acquiring a pair of tweed plus twos in their summer sale. (Curiously, shooting apparel does double duty very well as vintage cycling apparel.)

1950s me

Despite our efforts, when we arrived at our point of embarkation—a very fine pub called The Royal Oak Tetbury—husband and I were cowed by the collective splendor of the Assembly. The ladies didn’t just have elegant vintage dresses. They had gloves and hats and flowers and bunting strung through their baskets. They wore heels! Standing there in my sundress and very sensible white plimsolls, I felt like Sandy at the slumber party in Grease, only instead of The Pink Ladies I was surrounded by a gang of early-Mad Men Betty Drapers.The Rizzo of the group (I’m only calling her that since she organized the event with her husband, thus making her the gang leader of the Betty Drapers) soon put me at ease by offering me a lucky dip from the assortment of mini-cans of G&T and Pimms residing in her wide-mouthed bicycle basket. Another of the ladies, who goes by the moniker of Sussex Bob, offered to lend me her cycling cape (yes, a cape!) should the weather turn inclement that afternoon.

The men were equally as welcoming and well turned out. There wore braces, flat caps, cravats, and a smattering of the Assembly’s very own custom-made, vintage-style wool cycling jerseys. The bikes wore accessories, too, from bespoke wood fenders to a honking loud horn that, unfortunately for the ears of all those visiting the countryside that day, was attached to husband’s borrowed bike. One of the founding members of the assembly, Gent Cyclist, chose a more subtle attention-getting device: a cylindrical chrome police whistle attached to a perfectly patinated piece of twine.

The Guvnors’ Assemby assembles outside The Royal Oak Tetbury

After posing for pictures, we were off on our jolly. And it was a jolly—speed is not the point of an Assembly outing, although at 35 miles it wasn’t exactly a dawdle either. Manhandling a Pashley Princess up a Cotswold hill in blazing sun is serious business. These substantial bikes are elegant if not agile, squeaking on the ascents like a group of convivial mice at a tea party. Luckily for me the Assembly abides by a policy of “no man or woman left behind,” and regular stops ensured everyone could catch up.

The Assembly waits patiently for me

One such stop was for lunch at the Red Lion in Cricklade, where husband and I chatted more with G., one of The Pink Ladies/Betty Drapers, and learned her commitment to looking this good extended into everyday life. “I get dressed like this to walk the dog,” she told us. “My neighbors think I’m mad.”

Lunch stop at Red Lion Inn Cricklade

Seeing our group trundling around the Costwolds wearing woolen clothes and hats and heels as the temperature swelled into the eighties, you may well have thought us mad. But mostly people who saw us smiled and honked and waved and took pictures. The Assembly seemed to make people happy and the feeling was mutual. Maybe it was the just the tight bodice on my sundress, but as I rode my Princess I found myself sitting up straighter than usual, head held high. The air was filled with streamers of hay from passing trailers piled high with the
stuff and the occasional burst of dandelion confetti. Riding with the Guvnors’ Assembly felt like being in a countryside ticker-tape parade.

The Details

The Group:
To join the Guvnors’ Assembly for a ride, check out upcoming jollies on their website here.

The Gear:
More about Pashley Cycles here.

The Guide:
Our 35 mile loop started by heading southeast out of Tetbury on the B4014, tracing a shallow bowl of a route through Minety and up into Cricklade (about 15 miles). Leaving Cricklade we headed west through the beautiful village of Ashton Keynes, skirting the Cotswold Water Park before passing through the charming village of Oaksey. We continued up to Culkerton before turning left on the main A433, which brings you out just north of Trouble House. Turn right out of Trouble House and continue for 2 miles back into Tetbury.

The Grub:
We lunched at the excellent Red Lion Inn in Cricklade, which conveniently has its own microbrewery, The Hop Kettle Brewery.
Red Lion Inn
74 High Street
Wiltshire SN6 6DD
+44 (0)1793 750776

Refreshment was taken at the best-named pub in the Cotswolds, Trouble House. I stuck to lager and lime, but will be returning to taste the delicious-looking cakes.
Trouble House
London Road
Gloucestershire GL8 8SG
+44 (0)1666 502206

Supper was back at The Royal Oak Tetbury, where both service and food was outstanding.
The Royal Oak Tetbury, aka TROT
1 Cirencester Road
Gloucestershire GL8 8EY
+44 (0)1666 500021


Garden Party

Our visit to the Cotswolds last weekend happily coincided with Miles’ annual-ish summer garden party. It was a perfect Sunday afternoon for that kind of thing: blue skies and sun bright enough to warm but not wilt the men in attendance, most of whom would deem it unseemly to remove their linen blazers no matter how high the mercury soared.

Summer scene in Cotswoldia

Miles always makes it clear in his invitation that the party’s occurrence depends on the whims of English summer weather, issuing a go or no-go in an email sent out the day before. His excuse is that is his cottage is too small to host the party in the event of rain, but I’m not so sure. As anyone who’s ever hosted a party in their first shoe-box-sized grown-up apartment knows, it doesn’t take a lot of space. I think it’s more that a garden in English summer requires only a bit of bunting to look festive while hosting indoors would require Miles to actually clean his house.

To be clear, I’m incredibly fond of the disheveled interior of Miles’ home. The route to the bathroom—the only reason you’re allowed to enter during the course of the festivities—includes a walk past a small kitchen where the tap is broken and, as a result, constantly running. It’s been this way since at least 2011 when I was last at his house for one of these soirées. In drought-riddled California he would be locked up for this offense, but I suppose it’s less of an issue in this perpetually sodden part of the world.

Next you go up dust bunny-strewn stairs with pairs of his shoes laid out neatly every few steps, each pair pointing in the downstairs direction as if to make it easier to dress on-the-run as he exits the house. A presumably dysfunctional shotgun rests in the corner at the top of the stairs, it’s barrel half hidden behind a white curtain billowing in the breeze. In the current climate of mass shootings in America its presence would be threatening; in England it’s merely decorative, as is the salon-style hanging of photographs and prints and paintings in the interior of the loo. If I wasn’t sure he would like it so much, I would be tempted to call Miles a bohemian.

Who needs a glass?

At first it seemed that Miles’ laissez faire attitude towards housekeeping extended to the selection of hors d’oeuvres, which were strictly limited to squares of plain buttered brown bread with smoked salmon or egg salad. (At one point I did spy something mayonnaisey-looking—prawn?—resting in a fluted edible cup. It seemed out-of-keeping and I demurred on that basis.) On reflection, though, I can see that the choice of food and the timing of its appearance served a very specific purpose, which was solely to absorb the copious amounts of rosé and white wine in constant circulation. One type each of rosé and white were the only options and why not? The whole affair was a lesson in the elegance of minimalism for any hostess who’s ever struggled with being the most-est.

Of course the success of any party depends not just on free-flowing chilled wine and fine weather, but on the congregants. It was as if the characters of Americashire had reassembled unwittingly on my behalf. Amongst the usual suspects of Cotswoldia was a farmer who wore a pith hat without irony. He also wore a rose in the buttonhole of his canvas blazer, and when I complimented him on it, he expounded at length about his daily selection process from his garden and his exasperation with his gender for failing to realize that a flower is exactly what a buttonhole is for. Other topics of conversation included an obligatory WWII story—this one about attempting to blow up Hitler’s bunker, a long ago road trip to a game fair in the Loire, and whether or not the pattern of lips on my dress was indicative of the fact that I would like the gentleman inquiring to place a kiss in every spot where the lips appeared. Charming and creepy is a blurry line, but he meant no harm. There was also a puppy, whose antics provided a useful escape route from at least one conversation.

Escape route to the side garden

Calling on the old adage that it’s best to leave while you’re still having fun, Rupert, Ralph, and I eventually managed to persuade husband it was time to go. As Rupert, our designated driver, chauffeured us back home in his convertible through the nearly harvest-ready countryside, there may have been several wine-soaked exclamations of delight: “Now THIS is summer in England!”


An Evening at Longborough Festival Opera: Glasto for the Middle-Aged

Opera-goers mill outside the theater, a former barn, during the interval

Last Saturday night I finally did something on my Cotswold bucket list: attend a performance at Longborough Festival Opera. (OK, it’s not actually on that list, but it should have been.) If you haven’t heard about Longborough, it’s in the vein of Glyndebourne’s country house opera and one of those Cotswold gems you wouldn’t believe until you pull into the grounds and see it for yourself.

One of the “guests” roaming the grounds

Upon arrival we were greeted by a rooster strolling amongst the other festival-goers, many of whom—unlike us—were wearing black-tie as they sipped pre-show glasses of wine. Nobody gave our casual dress a second glance, though; they were all too busy taking in the stunning views of the countryside in show-off British summer weather.

Even if the climate hadn’t cooperated, the show would have gone on. Longborough has its own permanent theater in the form of a converted barn complete with seats salvaged from a remodel of the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, a pink stucco facade, and statues of Wagner, Verdi, and Mozart. The barn sits right across from the home of the couple, Martin and Lizzie Graham, who are responsible for the whole endeavor and seem to fit the mold of the stereotypical British eccentric rather well (read more about them here).

Despite my enthusiasm for the setting at Longborough, I confess that I’m not particularly interested in opera. Yet for reasons I can only attribute to the lingering effects of my bourgeois upbringing, I keep dragging husband to performances. Most recently we saw A Rake’s Progress in Berlin, which proved to be an excellent opportunity for him to catch up on his sleep. Occasionally he would wake up long enough to wonder aloud if the admittedly bizarre performance had licensed the use of the Disney characters whose likenesses made random appearances on stage. Thankfully the Longborough production of Rigoletto had no such ethical quandaries, not counting the cheating-on-and-murdering-of-an-innocent-young-woman aspects of the plot.

Our new hamper after we’d demolished
everything in it but the Eton Mess

The point is that the draw of an opera at a country house in England is not just the opera itself—which turned out to be stunning even if husband did have a little lie down in the box in the second half—but also the atmosphere: the grounds, the breed of very serious spectators making opera buff small talk that goes way over your head as you murmur affirmative throwaways, and, weather willing, the interval picnic.

Nobody does summer picnicking better than the British, a fact I attribute to the abysmal weather for much of the rest of the year. What else could motivate people to pack up most of the contents of an indoor dining room and transport them to a field in the middle of nowhere? (Things I’ve seen produced out of a British picnic basked include an eight-armed silver candelabra and a garland of paper lanterns “for atmosphere.”)

Rather than be mocked for my lack of proper kit, as I once was when I arrived at a Cotswold picnic carrying ice in a plastic Tesco bag, I opted to order our dinner from The Old Butchers in Stow-on-the-Wold. As if the nuts, olives, charcuterie, smoked salmon, potato salad, Chinese chicken salad, and Eton Mess weren’t enough, I am now the proud owner of the hamper in which it was delivered: a polka-dot-lined affair complete with tea cups, silverware, and china plates. It’ll be just the thing to disguise a Tesco bag filled with ice—and maybe even a candlestick or two—on our next visit to Longborough.

Picnic with a view

Summer in the Cotswolds

Summer in the Cotswolds means Giffords Circus, an old-fashioned village green circus that’s the brainchild of Nell and Toti (yes, Toti) Gifford. You can read all about it here and, better yet, book a ticket. Here are a few pictures from our visit last weekend to see Moon Songs, the title of this year’s sublime show, on the grounds of Sudeley Castle in Winchcombe.

Circling the wagons under the horse-chestnut tree
Dog and a bear on a horse. Just because.
Tweedy the clown gets loaded into the canyon
Europe Uncategorized

Life on the Rails: In praise of the road well traveled

In my last post before we left for a stint living in Berlin, I made a list of all the things I still wanted to do in the Cotswolds. Now that we would be less than a two-hour flight away, I thought I would finally get around to marking some things off this Cotswold bucket list.Our first visit back to the Cotswolds was last weekend, and I managed do exactly none of them. Part of the problem is that we like the things we usually do so much that we lack the motivation to do anything else. With walks through scenery like this just outside our front door, who could argue?

We even like the things we don’t like, or more precisely, we love to hate the same things over and over again. Case in point: we went to dinner with our old chums, Rupert and Ralph, at our local inn, the Wheatsheaf, on the Friday night of our visit. The menu featured a battered brill with petite pois and potatoes that sounded suspiciously like fish and chips for £25. Still, two of our party chose to order it, making a point of telling the waiter they would have the “£25 fish and chips.” It was delicious if ridiculously priced, and for the remainder of the weekend we revelled in repeatedly sharing our outrage. Undoubtedly we’ll eat there again next time we’re in town.

My husband’s and my travel predilections are so strong that our Facebook posts look like they’re on an annual repeat cycle, and our friend Rupert likes to poke fun at our predictability. “Back on the rails,” he’ll note every time he recognizes one of our check-ins at favorite restaurant. “Choo choo” is another shorthand favorite.

He is perhaps to blame for why I am feeling a bit defensive about taking the road well traveled. It is not a fashionable choice as anyone who knows the last three lines from Robert Frost’s famous poem will tell you.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

And everyone knows these lines of the poem because they are ubiquitous. Just yesterday I saw them artfully scrawled on a chalkboard in a Scandinavian clothing store in Berlin. This ubiquity, of course, defeats the whole purpose. If everyone takes the road less traveled, then it’s no longer the road less traveled. The road less traveled becomes nothing more than a formula, the irony of which found expression last year in the normcore movement, an equally self-aware propensity to be anti-fashion (think mom jeans, polo shirts). But I digress from my point, which is the first three lines of the poem. They’re less well known (the road less traveled, if you will), and I take my inspiration there:

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood

Of our beloved homes in California and the Cotswolds, my husband has often said how he wants to live in both at once. We long to “travel both and be one traveler,” but, in the absence of the science to enable that, we have settled on trying to craft a nomadic life so that we may spend time in both. The same applies to visiting other places we love and repeating the experiences from previous visits. In doing so, we create a routine that is nothing less than a sense of home. We are carving out a way to “be one traveler” however infrequently we visit.

One such beloved spot is Paris. We have a visit planned in May, but I can tell you now how the weekend will go. We will stay in a charming but microscopic hotel room on the Île Saint-Louis from where each morning we will jog a loop around the islands before breakfasting at the bar at le Louis IX, which seems to be a favorite of Parisian garbage collectors. Then we will rent bikes and ride to the Eiffel Tower before lunching on the terraces of Tribeca on the pedestrianized market street, Rue Cler. There we will admire the manners of small French children out for lunch with their families and envy the achingly chic French teenagers smoking Gauloises between bites of steak tartare.

Picture of Au Petit Fer A Cheval from 2011. Look on Facebook for another one just like it next month.

In the early evening we will head over to Le Marais, where we will drink a glass of wine at La Belle Hortense, a combination bookshop and wine bar. I will wander around the shop caressing the books and wishing I could read French. I may buy one anyway. Once we spy a free table outside at the bar across the street, Au Petit Fer à Cheval, we will rush over and grab it and drink more wine than we meant to before heading to the establishment next door, Les Philosophes, for dinner. The only Parisians in the place will be the waiters, who will accept my husband’s request for his steak to be “bien cuit” with a surprising lack of fuss; I will have the honeyed duck confit. After dinner we’ll stumble back across Pont Louis Philippe and collapse into bed before getting up the next day and doing most of it all over again.

And this road well traveled is how every few years we get to “be one traveler” who lives in Paris, too.


Gardener’s Delight

Last night we celebrated husband’s 49-for-the-second-time birthday in style and checked into Barnsley House, a country house in a nearby village that has been converted into a hotel. We’ve been longtime patrons of Barnsley House’s bar and cinema, but this was the first time we’ve spent the night. It’s a special place, especially so if you’re a gardener. It used to be the home of the famous English garden designer, Rosemary Verey, and the property still maintains her handiwork, as well as vegetable and kitchen gardens. Despite the fact that I have a black thumb, I still find it magical. Here are the pictures to prove it. Hope you enjoy as much as we did.

Christmas decorations in the lounge
Romantic freestanding double tubs in our room, pre-supplied
with a distinctly British idea of erotic literature
Spot the birthday boy
More Christmas decorations in
the hotel’s Potager Restaurant
Breakfast with local eggs and vegetables from the garden
Garden folly
Guardian of the garden
This is a potager. I don’t know what a potager is but I want one.
Something to come back for in another season

Cotswold Fix

I was lucky enough to get a Cotswold fix earlier this month by cramming a weekend visit into a work trip to Europe. It was surprisingly green and mild still, hardly a hint of autumn at all. My timing coincided with the last weekend of the wonderful Cheltenham Literature Festival, and I got to see a panel of the Man Booker Prize shortlistees, including Americans (first time they’ve been allowed on the list) Joshua Ferris and Karen Joy Fowler. As far as highlights go, though, it’s hard to compete with the scenery and a proper roast dinner. This ought to just about tie me over til Christmas!

View from the hamlet of Hampnett
St. George’s, Hampnett
Another Hampnett view
The old college on our lovely lane
Proper roast dinner courtesy of Rupert & Ralph

Loos of the Cotswolds: A Wee Dunnit

A few weeks ago we lent our Cotswold cottage to friends and family, which explains why our plumbing thought it would be a perfect time to go on the fritz. An emergency plumber was summoned on a Sunday, but the required parts weren’t available until Monday. Our guests were exceedingly good humored about the 24-hour toilet outage and took it upon themselves to document this guide to public loos of the Cotswolds. (Normally I would take full responsibility for a bad pun, but Wee Dunnit is so gloriously bad—by which, of course, I mean good—that I have to give credit to our guest, Julie Henderson, for it.)


A PUB TOILET at THE HOLLOW BOTTOM, GUITING POWER, with a copy of The Racing Post

A BOOKIES’ TOILET at FRED DONES, CHELTENHAM, after placing a winning bet

A DISABLED TOILET at CHELTENHAM HOSPITAL, with The Daily Mirror and an umbrella

A BAR TOILET at JOHN GORDONS, CHELTENHAM, before a bottle of Picpoul and a Pieminister pie


A SHOP TOILET at FOOD FANATICS, WINCHCOMBE, before a damson and sloe gin ice cream

THE PUBLIC TOILETS in THE MARKET PLACE, NORTHLEACH, with a smile for the BBC film crew who were there shooting J.K. Rowling’s A Casual Vacancy

A BAR TOILET at COPA, CHELTENHAM, after taking advantage of the sales in Jigsaw and Monsoon

A PUB TOILET at YATES’S, CHELTENHAM, at the top of a never-ending stairway

A PUB TOILET at THE WHEATSHEAF INN, NORTHLEACH, before a cheese soufflé and some hake

A BAR TOILET at THE OX HOUSE, NORTHLEACH, after mistakenly walking into the office

THE GARDEN at DROVERS COTTAGE, NORTHLEACH, (discreetly) with a stifled laugh