This weekend was my company retreat which we spent at one of my bosses cottage in the little village of Great Wishford, about 1.5 hours by train South West of London. We did this a few years ago which you can read about over here. Tom (my boss) and his wife Jacqui moved to a new cottage a few months back called Staddlestone. Most of the cottages in the village have names, usually relating to what the building used to be used for or because of a defining feature of the property. There are about six staddle stones (each about 3 ft tall) lining the driveway to the cottage, thus the name.
Shortly after arriving we settled down for afternoon tea. I had been looking forward to this part all week. Jacqui is an excellent host and cook and she made the yummiest scones and a cake and served it with clotted cream and homemade jam. So good!
After we had tea we took a walk around the village and surrounding farm land. Great Wishford is what I consider to be a storybook English countryside village. It is so charming. I was quite obviously a tourist as I walked around snapping pictures of every other cottage, church, pub and cow that we passed by. I love the thatched roofs and the plants covering the walls and front gardens.
Tom took us for a walk along the River Wylie pointing out graylings and trout. As you can see we didn’t do a very good job or blending into our surroundings.
Why Charles and I are standing in the river, I don’t know. Maybe it was because he wanted to see if he could make me fall in by tickling me.
Love the street signs.
On our way home we stopped by the village pub for a quick pint. It’s just as sweet inside as it is outside and Tom was greeted by name by all the patrons when we walked in. That would never happen in London.
Back at the cottage we picked the vegetables to be cooked for our dinner, enjoyed some pre-dinner snacks and an aperitif and then a great dinner of pork belly with crackling (a new thing for me) and all the trimmings. Several bottles of wine and a few hours later we all crashed for the night.
The next day a few of us went for a ride on Hovis, Jacqui’s horse, and a nice walk through the hills surrounding the village. I felt like an impostor riding a horse and I’m pretty sure Hovis thought so too. Even though I grew up in the Sierras I probably have only rode a horse three other times in my life.
The terrain changed constantly as we were on our walk.
This was my favorite part. I felt like I was riding toward Tara in ‘Gone With The Wind’. The trees were HUGE.
When we got back from our walk we went back to the pub for a really good Sunday lunch. I think I gained about 10 lbs., but it was so worth it. I really need to get out of London more often. Thank you so much Tom and Jacqui for hosting us this past weekend. I’m already looking forward to next year!