Life has never been dull! It shouldn’t be really,. Within the regular confines of law, morals and responsibilities, I’ve always believed that life should be tasted, treasured and really lived, Lived because each day only comes once and is gone before you know it and you’re just that much older. Sad, but true.
We came to Brittany on an adventure for a year; to see what life has to offer, see what else would happen and where it would lead. Circumstances have changed and we’ve discovered that we’re a little too far out in the countryside to make it easy to add to our income. So I casually started to look on the net…same way we found this piece of paradise. And before long…I saw an advert on Gumtree. “Estate Manager needed on a large farm, Preferably a couple,…Accommodation provided”. And that was all it said. No hoo-haa of long explanations, no “Upmarket Family wanting X,Y and Z” as most adverts along similar lines say…. So, out of curiosity, I wrote asking for more details. I got a reply that afternoon which led to another reply and then a phone call and then another and then a trip to see what it was all about The trip was arranged for last Thursday and we arrived home yesterday late afternoon (Sunday). But I made sure I did as much homework as I could and this is what I learnt.
The farm is part of the Beauford Polo Club run by Mrs Tomlinson. There are 180 horses on the farm and they are bred there for polo in the UK and Argentina. Mrs Tomlinson is considered to be the best women polo player the world has ever seen and she is passionate about her horses. Her children have followed in her footsteps and are captains of the Polo Scene. Prince William and Prince Harry play there regularly and were coached by her husband and herself and the farm is neighbour to HighGrove, Prince Charles home. He and Camilla are very good friends of Mrs Tomlinson and he pops over to see her often.
Now I was beginning to be a little nervous at this point as I could almost guarantee that I would put my foot in it somehow..plus I didn’t know what I would need to do while the husband carried out exactly what he’s doing here…all I knew was that I would be needed “part time..whenever Mrs Tomlinson asked” and I could carry on drawing and doing Freelance illustrating..
Let me explain something in advance….The farm is just outside a beautiful proper Cotswold village of Tetbury. The closer the time came to going to have the interview…the more my nerves kicked in and the more I called her Mrs Tetbury when the Dear Once and I spoke about the pending visit. He laughed and said as a joke “Wouldn’t it be awful if you called her that!”
Yes indeed it would.
We caught the plane to East Midlands airport where we had hired a car. We planned to drive the 2 hours down to the Cotswolds, stay 2 nights, then drive up to Durham to visit my aunt who I haven’t see for 30 years, stay the night in Durham and go back to the airport. Easy! Ha! We got to the Hired Car place at 8.30 pm. The Not-so-Dear-One discovered his drivers licence had just expired. NO-ONE would hire us a car and where was mine? In order to keep the case we were taking into the cabin (Ryanair is very fussy) I was told not to worry about bringing a purse or bag etc so my drivers licence was sitting calmly unaware of it’s value in the drawer back home. Do you have any idea how much a taxi was for destination two and half hours away? I was very good, I decided it was really no good crying over spilt milk and the coming visit was way too important but as I still sat in the taxi at 11pm, worn out, nerves slightly frazzled, in the middle of a traffic jam just outside Bristol, I did feel the rise of hysteria more than once.
We sneaked into the BandB room at ten to twelve and we woke to a beautiful day with the most breathtaking scenery imaginable. Rolling fields divided by hedgerows and dry stone walls, black and white cows and gold stone Cotswold cottages. After a huge English breakfast, we set off to the Polo Estate..me feeling more sick by the minute as nerves took over.
All went well. What a lovely lady managing 200 acres and 180 horses all on her own apart from staff for the Polo part of the farm. The actual old home grounds, gardens and walled veggie patch are a little in need of help and organising and that’s where we enter. And as we stood surveying the veggie patch and I gave her a few ideas (thanks to my late mom who was an amazing landscape gardener and horticulturalist) and told her she could keep bugs away with aromatherapy oils, she looked happier by the minute and told me that she’s sure her neighbour would love to chat about that idea as he’s an avid gardener…the neighbour being…yup – Prince Charles. And I went all red and flustery because that wouldn’t be a great idea knowing me and yes in my fluster…I called her…Mrs Tetbury! Which made me more red and flustery and promptly tripped over a low garden wall and nearly landed upside down in a hedge. Now you understand why meeting “the neighbour” might not be the best idea!
We walked down the country lane for 1 km to the most beautiful country hotel and pub and had a much needed drink before wondering around the nearest village and heading back to the B&B. We were called back to the farm the next day to meet one of the sons. They all seem such a friendly, down to earth family and we will be living right on the edge of the farm buildings, away from all the hustle and bustle in a three bedroom Cotswold Stone double story cottage with its own small garden and a huge old apple tree in the middle of the lawn. We didn’t take any photos but it looks a little bit like the attached photo with the same roof over the front door – perfect for a climbing rose. It needs some work done to it but that suits us fine too. What an amazing cottage to turn one bedroom into a studio and look over the pastures. I can’t think of a better place to draw.
So there we have it. With a few hiccups under our belts and an amazing ten months in France added to our adventures, we start on the 1 October in “A Corner in the Cotswolds”.
What do you think I should do…
1) carry on with this blog?
2) start a new on called “Corner of the Cotswolds”?
3 …or relieve you all of having to read my mad ramblings all together and keep in contact via email?
I’d love to hear from you…I’l love to know you’re close by in the pub when I feel homesick or lost and I can’t thank you enough for all your comments and patience in reading this blog
Hugz to you all
A la prochaine