Four Years in England

Four years ago today we flew from Denver to Heathrow with our cat and a lot of luggage, intending to spend five months in a cottage in the Cotswolds. Four years later we are still here with no plans to leave, but we have not made the decision to stay either. As each year goes by, my memory of our life in the US fades. We returned to the US each of the first two … Continue reading Four Years in England

The Summer of Mud

Cotswold Way at Edge

On April 1 it began raining and it continued raining until September. There were some good weeks throughout the spring and summer. The Jubilee Weekend in June was a washout, but anyone who watched the London Olympics knows that we had warm, sunny weather for most of those two weeks. By September it was declared that this was the wettest summer on record in England for over 100 years (or longer – it depends how … Continue reading The Summer of Mud

Jubilee Weekend

Flags and Bunting

Bunting everywhere. Long lines of traffic in and out of Stroud. Empty shelves at the Waitrose. Endless TV specials about the Royal Family. It must be the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee weekend (celebrating the Queen’s 60 years as Monarch). I wish I could get more excited about this, but after living here for two years I have decided that I am not one of the 70% who want to keep the Monarchy. I really don’t see … Continue reading Jubilee Weekend

April Showers

At the start of April, the MET Office announced that most of the south of England was officially in drought. Watering restrictions (hose pipe bans) were implemented in the south east counties. It turns out that England has been in a drought since we arrived. Friends in the US ask me how can I stand the weather in England, picturing a constant downpour of rain. It does not rain as much here as it does … Continue reading April Showers

American Small Town vs English Village

A street in Painswick

Lately I have been thinking about the differences between small town USA, where we used to live, and a village in the Cotswolds, where we live now. I have been comparing my daily life here and to my life in the US. The differences are not big, but there are differences and I think they are caused by the way the towns and villages are situated here. The physical layout of this place affects how … Continue reading American Small Town vs English Village

Moving House

Painswick, Queen of the Cotswolds

We spent much of this year looking at houses for rent. We had not intended to stay longer than a year in the first cottage we rented, but we ended up staying a year and a half because we could not find something that we liked better. I came to England with a North American sensibility towards housing. It did not matter that I had stayed in many vacation rentals on many vacations. I did … Continue reading Moving House

A Very British Summer

Ozleworth

Last year in England it was sunny and warm – even hot on some days – from mid-May to mid-September. Our rain jackets never left the boot of our car. I wore short sleeves all summer long. It rained for a few days in July, but we were traveling in France and missed it. For us it was the perfect British Summer. But people said it was not a good summer. The school holiday schedule … Continue reading A Very British Summer

The Snowdrops Are Blooming

Snowdrops in Sapperton, Feb 2008

December and January seemed to last forever. In early December a cold snap hit and lasted for weeks. We had snow in the southern Cotswolds, but not as much as other parts of England. For a couple of weeks driving was difficult and, with the short days (pitch black at 5pm), we did not venture out of the house much. By the end of the month I felt “cabin bound”. In January the typical English … Continue reading The Snowdrops Are Blooming

It’s Cold Outside!

December Frost

We were here in the Cotswolds four winters ago. January was cold and it snowed once, but it melted the next day. In February we had spring-like weather. We were test-driving England in winter and it passed. However, each winter since has been cold and snowy.┬áThis country is not prepared for snow. It seems like people hope these three cold winters are coincidence and not a change in weather patterns. The snow falls and much … Continue reading It’s Cold Outside!

Waking Up Before the Alarm Goes Off

Open space and foothills behind our house

If I have to be up early for some reason, I set the alarm, but I always wake up ten minutes before it goes off. My internal body clock keeps track of the time. It is the same with flights. We were scheduled to fly back to Colorado last week. We decided at the end of June that we were going to stay until next May (or longer), but I kept our booking in case … Continue reading Waking Up Before the Alarm Goes Off