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Sunday, June 8, 2014

Gleed Cottage

Naunton is a small village in the Cotswolds. The name "Cotswolds" is a combination of two old English words. "Cots" = sheep enclosures. "Wolds" = rolling hills. The little country roads go gently up and down following the undulating terrain. At some parts, where the trees' branches meet in a green bower over the small country roads, I can almost see Hobbits running across the road, chased by the Nazg├╗l. Tolkien's The Shire was patterned on the people and terrain of the Cotswolds.

The trees on either side of the path meet in the middle to form a green bower.

It is very quiet here. Back in Singapore, there is an ambient noise buzzing of cars, people and machinery. Here, there is nothing to hear, except birds. 

This is the meaning of silence, I suppose.

Only one road goes through Naunton. The village is that small. It takes barely 5 minutes to get from one end of Naunton to another. Small though it may be, the village is a collection of very old stone houses built originally to house the old crafts supporting the local wool industry - spinning, weaving and lace making. In the past, it was a real village with bakers, millers, farriers, smiths etc... Now, it is a residential area. There are no shops here. To get bread, one has to drive to Stow-on-the-Wold 15 minutes away. Property prices here are high. These traditional properties built of Cotswold stone are in high demand with wealthy retirees. Many local people have been priced out.

In the Middle Ages, the Cotswolds was well known in Europe for its wool production. Wealthy wool merchants built gracious properties here - both large ones such as Chastleton House or Chavenage House (to house themselves), and small tiny ones to house their workers. This is the area in the U.K. that has the highest density of what are called "character properties".

The cottage is the size of a shoebox flat. This tiny space sleeps 4 and is served by a single bathroom. I think it is kinda small for 4 people. 2 people is about right. I discover that Singaporeans are not the only ones acclimatised to living in small spaces. 300 years ago, I suppose the workers supporting the local wool industry were also constrained to living in small, confined spaces, with very low ceilings.  I noted also that, like our HDB flats, the houses are so close together that neighbours can stare straight into the cottage. We can also see them getting on with their lives, inside theirs. 

For The Husband and I, this tiny cottage is enough. We have to do all our own cooking, cleaning and washing up.  A larger cottage would take too much time to clean. Accommodation is expensive in the U.K. Self-catering cottages save us really a lot of money on accommodation. It is also a mode of travel that provides complete privacy. There is no service staff watching your every move attentively. One also does not have to pay through one's nose for that luxury.

"What is there to do here?" asked The Husband. 

"Nothing, really... We are here to rest and chill out. There are picturesque villages and a few old houses to visit but let's just laze around." said I.

"Could not we have done that back in Singapore?" he queried.

"There is Stratford Upon Avon, where Shakespeare lived... do you want to see that?" I asked.

"Not really, but if you want to, I don't mind bringing you." he said.

"Okay, so we get to do everything I want to do and if I wanna do nothing, it's good?" I asked.

"Yup!" he said.

Then, The Husband went to take a nap. I guess he is taking this business of Do Nothing very seriously indeed.

Our cottage is called "Gleed Cottage". It can be cleaner. There was some pet fur around.

Soft cushions by the window. I ate my strawberries and cream there, looking out onto the garden. The garden has no flowers. It is quite a sad looking garden full of gravel and a skinny plant or 2. Not quite my idea of a romantic Cotswolds cottage with garden.

The little kitchen.

Dining room and sitting room. The tiny table has 4 chairs but really, it is comfortable for up to 2 people only.

The humongous and very old fire place. I cannot figure out why the fireplace is so big for  a room so small.. unless of course, the cottage was partitioned out from an original dwelling that was much larger. The TV is so small it's almost cute. I haven't seen a TV that small since my friend laughed at mine 10 years ago.

The remains of dinner on the eensy weensy dining table. The wine was very cheap - about SGD 8. The Bramley Apple sausages and Cumberland sausages were delicious. It is the U.K. after all and this is where they invented these sausages. We didn't even buy any chi-chi brand of sausages and they were already better (and cheaper) than those awful ones sold in Cold Storage (very very very salty). We also found gluten-free spaghetti. Wah!

Review of Gleed Cottage
I would not recommend this cottage. See a better cottage HERE. Do please book a cottage through a reputable website. NEVER transfer money straight into a strange individual's account. There have been many cases of fraud where you pay up and arrive to no cottage at all. ALWAYS pay TO a reputable agency like TripAdvisor (and they will in turn pay the landlord) so that you can have a fraud-less experience. In cases where the landlords insist on collecting payment directly from me, I decide not to book their property.

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