So, Northern Boy here in the Cotswolds, already had preconceived idea of what a Cotswoldian would look like, act like, vote like, speak like etc. That is, Northern Boy stereotype can spot a Southern Softy stereotype a mile off.
There were some favourite moments during our house hunt before we found our cream coloured pile. Many of the villages are justifiably deemed to be beautiful and unspoilt. The satelite dishes are more discrete – rarely above the front the door – there are trees, greenery, and people wear wellingtons in the summer when it’s not raining. I recall a classic moment when we had stopped at a local village pub to continue our hostelry research.
We had checked out a couple of houses in Quirkington and had stopped at the local pub to continue our research into local ales (equally important). I enquired of the comely young maid behind the bar as to the facilities and community spirit in Quirkington. A deeper voice chimed from somewhere out the back before she could say anything (Comely Young Maid’s Husband, apparently) “It’s ok here,” he says, “not like some of the Cotswold villages. Normal people live here.”
I was joined at the bar by a man roughly 6’ 6” dressed in butterscotch coloured corduroy trousers. The gusset sagged and flapped as he walked. You could have hidden a sheep in there. He grumped his order for two halves of Spittle & Plaster Cider and grumpily left. I furtively scanned the bar for “normal people” as I tiptoed away clutching my two halves of Fly Half’s Jockstrap Bitter.
And so it is that time moves on and little changes. I sat quietly reading my novel (Gabriel Garcia Marquez……carrying my sophistication for all to see) in a wine bar recently awaiting the delivery of my Grilled Goat’s Cheese lunch. It was early and I was the only customer. Soft easy listnin’ jazz played to silent Sky News screens. Four laden ladies (3 shopping bags, 2 turtle sweaters etc….) out Christmas shopping with hubby’s credit cards arrived and with the room empty but for me ………..sat at the very next table. I smiled my greeting.
Lunch was duly ordered and a bottle of wine uncorked and happiness and gossip descended all around as Sex and The City was played out for my entertainment.
“Are you going to the Party?” Sip, giggle. “Will Phil and Jeremy be there?” “I stuck to one drink last time, well one type, I mean, and I still had a dreadful head.” Sips, giggles.”Remember last December I saw Jeremy and Alison in the car park.” “Did Gerald know?” Oohhs, sips, giggles. “I don’t think so. They shouldn’t have been doing that there. It could have been disastrous.” “Didn’t Penny get her boobs out last year?! ” Hahahas,Sips.” Yes, just mention Nipplegate.” Sips, giggles. “Oh, Grant was so cross this morning. He rang me to say he’d forgotten his shooting jacket. Well, what did he expect me to do?”
I sipped and giggled myself at the mention of Grant leaving his shooting jacket. I fondly remembered the golden days of my childhood before credit cards were invented and Harry never forgot his ferrets when he went shooting.
Aaah, my Goat’s Cheese Salad is here. “Drizzle Dressing, sir?”
“Do you have any vinegar for my chips?” I replied.