A Cotswold Gallery

We have acquired the winter use of a vehicle and it has transformed our lives; the aim is that Andy won't risk life and limb on the motorbike when it is icy and snowy, on his long commute to work. But it also means that we can get out a little more in the bad weather, when it's just too darned cold and wet to go on the bike. Previously I have rarely ventured out much at this time of year, rural public transport being too costly and there are limits to how far I can get on my bicycle.

I've never lived with a car of any kind before, apart from a few years with my foster parents. However my cantankerous foster father made a particular point of not giving me lifts anywhere, even on dark evenings, which can be hazardous for a teenage girl. It didn't kill me, but it made me even more aware, if I needed it, of how little he cared for me. So this is an unimaginable luxury and I am enjoying every single minute of it, while it's here. I can actually sit back in the warm and look at our gorgeous Cotswolds, in their winter splendour, in comfort, while sucking a sherbert lemon. Which you can't do on the back of a bike.

We were headed over to Winchcombe, as I wanted to visit a couple of Twitter-friends. We arrived just as a rainbow was disappearing into this historic town, which nestles snugly in the landscape, surrounded by wooded hills and on the doorstep of the stately
Sudeley Castle.

Firstly I visited Bob and Carol at
Sprogs, which is the best toy shop in the Cotswolds. No tatty plastic to be found here, just well chosen, beautiful toys and gifts for every age. I stayed chatting for them for ages (poor Andy!) and managed to do a little business there as well, so a return trip in January is arranged. My next visit was to see Jane and her newly re-furbished Winds of Change Gallery, who is featured in the current BBC Homes and Antiques magazine. I've met Jane before, last summer, but haven't seen the gallery since the change over.

It is gorgeous. Jane has exquisite taste and has created a stylish, clean but comfortable setting for the lovely arts and crafts collection, much of it local.

Although it is a modest size, there is a feeling of lightness and space.

This wonderful rocking horse (with a real horsehair mane) was painted by local folk artist Katie B. Morgan and carved by her father. Katie is a traditional fairground and gypsy wagon painter, amongst other things and
her website is well worth a look if you love this kind of work, as is her interesting blog.

Andy was very taken with this hand crafted ladder back chair -

And I am saving my pennies for a
Woolsoft 100% British wool cushion - maybe for our next house, if we ever get there.

Jane provided coffee with mince pies and we stayed for some time, discussing this and that, making a date for another meeting soon, when I hope to meet Katie B. Morgan too. Jane welcomes browsers and visitors, so if you are local to the Cheltenham area or nearby, (or even just passing through) do stop and say hello. Winchcombe is a vibrant town, with two great butchers and a nice variety of shops and pubs, with some stunning local walks and the famous
Belas Knap Long Barrow just up the road.

The short afternoon was darkening and we began our journey home, back through the quaint High Street of
Winchcombe town.

Catching the last fragment of winter sunshine which brings out the soft richness of the neutrals in the landscape and bare trees.

Later in the week I also made time to cut a new block of my 'Little Hare' design. as the old one was a bit battered. I seem to have re-learned my rusty printing skills, as to my amazement, I printed off 30 or so near perfect prints first time round and knowing how popular the first one was, I've put some of them *here* in my Etsy shop again, at the same 'under a fiver' price.


Rowan said...

You obviously enjoyed your trip out:) Winchcombe looks a lovely little town. I agree with Andy about the chair, it's really nice. Hope you both have a lovely Christmas.

Jane said...

Winchcombe is a great place to visit - we haven't been for ages but must try the gallery next time we go. Glad you have some nice transport for a while.

tut-tut said...

How great you can broaden you horizons now. What a great tour. I'm with Andy: I covet that ladder back as well.

Caroline B said...

I love your phrase 'acquired the winter use of a vehicle' - makes me wonder if the local farmer should check his tractor shed! Seriously, make the most of it and have lots of trips like the above, keeping nice and warm and dry in the process.

BumbleVee said...

How lovely for you to be able to get out more..... and such fun and interesting places to visit as well....I'd like to stop in to a place like that myself... what fun poking about in all sorts of arts and crafts...

Jane Moxey said...

Your lovely photos make me homesick for the English countryside! Hope you guys have a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

Julie Whitmore Pottery said...

Interesting and lovely post. I enjoyed seeing the local craft there, especially the pottery pitcher. It does look so airy in the gallery. She certainly has a knack for gathering great things and displaying them just so.
Loved the street scene too.

Anonymous said...

What a super day out! I too love the chair, and the rocking horse is wonderful. Well done on the successful printing - I am sure they will fly out of the shop!! Have a wonderful Christmas, love Anne x

Gerry Snape said...

super post....so glad that you have your winter transport.

Claire said...

Car picnics Gretel, steaming up the windows with hot pies and a flask of milo or some such drink.
We used to have them when it was a rainy school day in Winter. Mum would turn up at lunch time and my 3 sisters and I would pile in the car and have a picnic lunch........it was wonderful.
How marvellous to have 4 wheels instead of 2, oh the trips you can make. I'm sure you'll make the most of it and share your photos with us.

Love the High street of Winchcombe town and that beautiful rocking horse, what little tacker wouldn't love that beauty.

You better buy a bag full of sherbert lemons for future trips.

Claire :}

rachel said...

You may not get out much, Gretel, but you sure do get to some lovely places!

Wishing you all the best for Christmas and the coming year.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

What fun to have new transport over the icy roads! Wishing you and Andy many happy trips over the winter season... and a most Happy Christmas, too!

Acornmoon said...

I am sure your new mode of transport is opening up new horizons for you both. I am picturing you now reclining with a lemon sherbert and why not.
I wish you and Andy a very Happy Christmas xxx

jerilanders said...

Gretel, I could just swat that foster father of yours! Dang!
But, on a happier note, Glad you got a car, (although your bicycle jaunts have been wonderfully entertaining, sandwiches and all!) How lovely to travel to the quaint towns in comfort, wrapped in a quilt and eating a treat along the way... that's how I like to travel.
Merry Christmas to you, maker of wonderful toys and charming books! See you next year...

Frances Tyrrell said...

Merry Christmas Gretel!
Wishing you and Andy a very happy Christmas break,and every blessing in the New Year.

Cristina | Positively Beauty said...

So glad you're both enjoying the jeep :)
Wishing you & Andy a very Merry Christmas, and I hope to see you soon again.

trump said...

Wishing you and your family a merry Christmas. Richard from the Amish community of Lebanon,pa