Tuesday, 27 August 2019

Caddington Bedfordshire

There has been a village at Caddington for at least 1100 years. The only time the area became important was around 100 years ago when there were two thriving brick works. Nowadays it is mostly a rural settlement and a home for many who work in Luton.

The church of All Saints is also at least 1000 years old, or at least the first version was. There are still some remnants of the original church to be seen, but most of it was razed and rebuilt in the 14th century, with further extensions and improvement fashioned some 100 years later.

All Saints Church


Sunday, 19 May 2019

Chipping Campden - Gloucestershire

Chipping Campden is a quintessential Cotswold town. Located towards the northern edge of the region it nevertheless has all the beautiful Cotswold stone buildings. It boasts a wide main street lined with shops, hotels and eating places. We had passed through on numerous occasions, and even met for a family occasion some 10 years ago, but this was the first time we spent enough time there to explore.

The impressive church of St James turned out to be well worth a visit. It attracted quite a crowd on the day we were there, and the church's guide book states:

"There was a Norman church on this site before AD 1180, though it was 
much smaller than the present one. It consisted of a squat tower, a nave
about the same length as today, but without aisles, and a lower, shorter
chancel with a pitched roof. Around AD 1260 the Norman church began a
slow transformation that was to last nearly 250 years.

The chancel was rebuilt, the North aisle constructed with arches to
balance the Thirteenth century south aisle and the south porch was 
added together with the windows and battlements of both aisles.  About 
AD 1490 the nave was reconstructed with its magnificent arcading built
on the foundations of the old Norman nave.  The great window over the
chancel arch was added, a rare feature of church architecture, which 
provides wonderful light for the nave. 

Around AD 1500, the noble West tower was built, adding much grace and 
proportion to the whole. At 120 ft. in height it ensures that the Church is a 
landmark from whatever direction Campden is approached.

There is a peal of eight bells, whose dates vary from AD 1618 to AD 1737, 
they were recast and rehung in 1987.  The clock mechanism, dated 1695, 
is now stored under the arch of the tower, having been replaced in 1962."

Saturday, 18 May 2019

Hidcote Gardens - Gloucestershire

Hidcote Gardens was a big surprise. 

Situated at the Northern edge of the Cotswolds, Hidcote became the home of Lawrence Johnston. He was an America, born in France. His mother remarried and moved to Britain, buying a manor house and large park in the Cotswolds. Johnston became a British citizen and enlisted in the Army. He served with distinction in both the Boer War and WW1. When he was injured he returned to Hidcote to convalesce. Whilst there he began to develop his love of landscape gardening and turned a large area around the house into what we see today.

Hidcote is under the control of the National Trust, and they have maintained it impeccably. It rivals the best that the Royal Horticultural Society can offer, and that is saying a lot. Hidcote is worth a visit at any time, and certainly more than once a year, so that the changes of the seasons can be appreciated.

GL55 6LR

Friday, 17 May 2019

Athena Pallas Village - Greece

Despite my extensive travelling in Europe, we had never taken a holiday on mainland Greece, only on the islands. The only reason we chose this one was because the offer was too good.

Our flight from Gatwick landed at Thessaloniki and from there it was a 90 minute journey south and then east to Elias Nikiti on the Aegean coast. We travelled passed fields and hedgerows abundant with wild flowers, plus there was the odd vineyard and hundreds of olive groves.

Everything about the Athena Pallas was better than we had expected. Every aspect of the village was pristine. The facilities were first class and the service and attention from the staff was excellent.

Guests stay in apartments spread over the complex, separated into three sections, each with an attractive swimming pool with bar service. The hotel offers more than most people could experience in a week, especially if the sun is warm and encouraging of a stint by the pool, with the ever eager bar service on hand.