“Of course, the problem for us will be getting used to living in a village,” my husband says chattily to the man who will be our future neighbour.
Leaning comfortably on the golden Cotswold drystone wall, the old boy gazes at us through cautiously narrowed eyes.
“Ah no,” he says slowly. “The problem will be for the village to get used to you.”
During over 20 years as a resident of Hawkesbury Upton, a small village on the south west edge of the Cotswolds, I’ve written a number of brief memoir pieces about village life. Eventually, I’ll publish it to add to the village archive, but in the meantime, you can read some snippets here and on my blog.
Ironically, we never intended to live in Hawkesbury Upton. We were actually searching for one of the cheaper suburbs of Bristol when we took a wrong turning. Leaving Chipping Sodbury, we headed north on the A46 instead of south for the M4 back to the city. After driving for a few miles without passing any significant junctions, we spotted a signpost to the left indicating Hawkesbury Upton. We’d never heard of it.
“That’s a pretty name,” I remarked. “That would look good on a change of address card.”
So we turned left. We had no estate agents’ fliers for the village (there was no online searching in those days), but we thought we might spot some “For Sale” signs. And we did: outside a small stone cottage on France Lane.
“That would do us,” said my husband. “Let’s go and take a look.”
So we did.
Reader, we bought it. The rest is history.