Posted in Travel

The Green Hills of Home

From the May issue of the Hawkesbury Parish News, a post about coming home from holiday to our Gloucestershire village

Panoramic photo of hills around Hawkesbury
The Somerset Monument that towers above my village, Hawkesbury Upton

It’s always good to come back to Hawkesbury after any holiday, no matter how enjoyable. This Easter was no exception.

Gordon and Laura on path by Baltic
Somehow wed expected our first sight of the Baltic to be cold, grey and wet

We’d just spent two weeks in our camper van, touring the flatter parts of northern Europe. It was unnerving to know we were often driving below sea level, but the flip side was it made cycling a joy. Taking our bikes off the back of the van to go for a family cycle, we didn’t so much pedal as glide. The level roadways provided the perfect surface for lazy, unmuscled cyclists like me.

While we loved the candy-coloured stripes of the flat Dutch bulb fields and the novelty of exploring new, unknown territory (to us) in northern Germany and Denmark, we missed the gentle undulations of home.

My reasons were not solely aesthetic or sentimental. I had a practical reason to yearn for them. I’d acquired temporary deafness in both ears. What I needed to effect a cure was a good Hawkesbury hill.

Camper van against sunset with lake
Sorry, Denmark, the highest of your hills that we found just wasn’t big enough
Laura on ferry in front of White Cliffs of Dover
Docking at Dover – seeing those White Cliffs always moves me

Townie friends complain that all the roads leading to Hawkesbury are single track. What they don’t mind so much, as they always come by car, is that they are also uphill.

Ideal for guarding against floods, I always think. But there’s a further benefit of all these ups and downs which, unlike flood prevention, never hits news headlines. As our camper van chugged up the homeward hill, the long-awaited miracle happened. My ears popped, and, at last, I could hear. Hurrah for our Hawkesbury home!




  • I’ll be posting more about our Easter trip shortly – and also about the Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival, of which I’m founder and director, which took place a fortnight after we got back from holiday. No wonder I’m tired out!
  • I’m also writing a book about how to travel by camper van on a low budget – sign up here if you’d like to know when it’s available or if you’d like a free review copy prior to publication.



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English author of warm, witty cosy mystery novels including the popular Sophie Sayers Village Mysteries and the Gemma Lamb/St Bride's School series. Novels published by Boldwood Books, all other books by Hawkesbury Press. Represented by Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agents. Founder and director of the Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival. Course tutor for Jericho Writers. UK Ambassador for the Alliance of Independent Authors. Lives and writes in her Victorian cottage in the heart of the beautiful Cotswold countryside.

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