I didn’t come here to vacuum

25 Jan

And believe me, if you looked inside my house you’d see I don’t care much for laundry or dusting, either.  My point being: every time I spend a weekend cleaning house, I berate myself for not getting outside and checking out the history and countryside around me.  Why sort the linen closet when you can go to a Roman villa?  I mean, really.

“Foreigners,” as a neighbor informed me, “always care about these things more than people who live here.”  The nagging feeling that I’m regarded as an easily impressed hayseed aside, I have no problem being the enthusiastic foreigner who spends her spare time rummaging through the countryside.  My kids are catching on, and like me have their own collection of the modern equivalent of medieval pilgrim badges —  in their cases, usually pencil sharpeners or flattened pennies found in museum gift shops.  Or when there’s no shop: a rock, a leaf, a twig, or a conker.

In the past month we’ve had so many ‘days out’ I can’t seem to catch up.

Dean Forest Railway Santa Train — where kids get presents and parents get booze.

Shakespeare’s Birthplace.  They are very interested in historical accuracy and living history here.  I was a little worried someone was going to actually have a baby right in the bed as part of the tour, to add to the verisimilitude.

Stonehenge.  Almost feels like there should be a sign: “Real Thing – Not A Movie Set”

Salisbury Cathedral. Like a dream.

Warwick Castle.  Like a Renaissance Festival on steroids.  With all-you-can-drink espresso.

Bourton-on-Water, again, to see the floating tree while it was still on display.  Even though Bourton-on-Water is widely deprecated as overrun with tourists, I love it. Though I don’t think I can call it “the Venice of the Cotswolds” with a straight face.

The Roman Baths.  Must be crazy here in the summer — winter is a beautiful un-crowded time to visit at leisure.

Northleach.  This is one of the fourteenth-century brass engravings found in the medieval wool church.

Great Witcombe Roman Villa.  Part of its charm has to be the walk past the horse pastures to get here.

A relentless group tour of pottery houses in Stoke-on-Trent.  (This was stop number four in a six-house tour.)

And the National Waterways Museum by the Gloucester historic docks, where I promptly fell in love with Narrowboat Roses and Castle folk art while the kids got soaked figuring out a hands-on display of a river locks system.

Have I gone a bit crazy?  Should I be spending more time cleaning out my fridge?  I will think about that seriously for at least two minutes.

Nah.  Bring it on, English Heritage Smart Phone App! C’mon, Slow Cotswolds, with your asparagus festivals and shin-kicking competitions!   Serve it up, internet, show me your What’s On guides!  Vacuuming can wait.


10 Responses to “I didn’t come here to vacuum”

  1. Zazzy January 25, 2012 at 4:52 pm #

    I’m not sure how you ever stay at home. I don’t think I’ve read whether this is a temporary place for your family or if you intend to live there a long time. Perhaps in a decade or two you will run out of interesting things to see or become jaded?

    • Monique January 27, 2012 at 3:41 pm #

      Maybe one day Stonehenge will be just rocks … but I doubt it! Not sure-for-sure how long we’ll be here, but not forever … not long enough to be jaded, certainly. =)

  2. Tesni January 25, 2012 at 5:28 pm #

    You’ve seen some great sights, and I’ll admit I haven’t been to all of them, though I can tick off 5/10 of those. I really want to get to Warwick Castle, I’ve adored castles from when I was very young, and they are my favourite things to visit.

    I love getting out and seeing the sites my country has to offer but I rarely seem to have time currently, with university work snowing me under. My parents manage to get out every weekend though which is impressive. I live in Bath (when not at university) and I can confirm that the Roman Baths, and the whole of Bath are ridiculously busy in the summer. It’s beautiful in the summer but I do avoid it a bit as it’s so busy, can be a nightmare just to walk up the high street. The coach park has usually overflowed (and it’s a big coach park for a small city) and so then there are 10s of coaches parking down the hill into the centre. Imagine each coach contains 50-60 tourists and you can see why its so busy!

  3. greatscott3 January 26, 2012 at 5:16 pm #

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I love you and we must meet.

    And, I’ve gotta say speaking of housework, these non-tumbler dryers really cramp my style. Everything is wrinkled – and like you, I can’t be bothered to iron all day when there’s so much to do. Although we’ve been sick so much lately that I probably should do some ironing. So we don’t look disheveled AND germy. haha! have your kids been catching all these “new germs”? Seems like it’s the curse of expat living – which is otherwise, super awesome!

    • Monique January 27, 2012 at 3:29 pm #

      Would you still want to meet if you knew I luxuriate in a massive full sized american washer and dryer? Which I cannot imagine living without? Don’t even ask how often I’ve run the kids’ clothes through the dryer on high-heat in a demented attempt to ensure any cooties have been super-nova-ed.

      • greatscott3 January 27, 2012 at 7:51 pm #

        Would I still want to meet? Hell yes – and I bringing my wrinkled laundry for your fabulous dryer to permapress! haha!

  4. thebirthmuse January 27, 2012 at 3:07 am #

    Please do not ever vacuum in a country with castles and baths like that!

    • Monique January 27, 2012 at 3:24 pm #

      That’s a promise that would be too easy to keep!


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    […] through a quiet Sunday, I’m possessed — I’ve remembered I didn’t come here to vaccuum – and I haul up any kids interested in coming along and we hare off for Wales and Tintern […]

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