Planning holidays is so exciting, and even more when I manage to combine some literary activity to go with it! Holidays are a chance to see how other people live away from our home… As Courtney said earlier about her missed encounter with New York City:
when friends return from fabulous trips and share their pictures, it’s never the fact they saw the Vatican or the Empire State Building that I envy, it’s the lives they had the opportunity to slip into, however briefly, that I covet – the quiet moments sipping an espresso near the Seine or enjoying a glass of wine in a Spanish restaurant Zagat has never heard of – those are the moments I want to make up my time in places other than where I live.
With the very same spirit, we’ve decided to go live in the “real” English countryside with Baby Smithereens, and we’re going to rent a small cottage in the Cotswolds. I love it when we have “our” house and visit the local shops for food and new habits (but I’m going to draw the line at Marmite). Choice was wide and fun, but we eventually set our heart on a child-friendly place exactly at the central point between 3 places we want to visit:
- Bath… for Jane Austen
- Oxford… well for the books, what else? Btw, I love that in my guidebook, bookshops are listed right after “Orientation” and before hotels and food, and even before “Emergency”… It’s good to have priorities set.
- Stratford-upon-Avon… for you know whom (except I fear it might be a tad too touristy, any opinion out there?)
These will be day-trips, but the rest will (hopefully) be quiet time unwinding in the countryside. I hope to have Baby Smithereens meet some English cows, just to check if they moo the same on both sides of the Channel. English readers, do you have any other (literary or not) suggestions in the area?
Much to my shame I completely suck at geography, even for my own country, so English shires sound somehow familiar to me but I just can’t put them on a map at all, except perhaps Cornwall. When we decided for the Cotswolds, I saw the pictures and declared that it had to be Miss Marple’s St Mary Mead. I really could picture the little old lady in one of those cute cottages. But apparently Agatha Christie rather puts it down in Kent. Then I decided it was to be Inspector Barnaby’s Midsomer village… Wrong again, as the series are mostly shot in Buckinghamshire.
Well, does anyone know if the Cotwolds are present in novels? A database of books classified by location would be great, but I couldn’t find any.