Monday, October 27, 2014
Cornfields and Miniature Horses: A Country Walk in Wistow, Leicestershire
At the end of last week, I'd managed to cough so hard while I was recuperating from a nasty cold, I tore one of my intercostal muscles - making every slight move agonizing. Tearfully, I texted my mother-in-law to ask if we could visit for the weekend, knowing that she'd take good care of us.
So, after sleeping in until 11:00 a.m. on Saturday (which is unusually late for us), I went downstairs to find this breakfast feast awaiting us, which - very nearly - brought me to tears. Even as an adult, it feels so good to be looked after by a parent.
My head was still feeling fuzzy and blocked from my cold, so I initially rejected the idea of a country walk, but the fresh air was tempting and we set off for Wistow, a small village in Leicestershire less than a 10-minute drive away.
One thing I love about country walks in the UK is that you can walk for miles and miles across rolling hills and fields filled with sheep and cows without any disturbance. In Leicestershire especially, walks are clearly marked and signposted, so you know which fields you can and can't enter (I feel like there'd be a high chance of getting shot at if I was doing the same in the States).
I missed the fall foliage we usually have in the US (trees near us in the city are sparse, though I'm sure there were some spectacular colors in London's parks), so I was happy to come across my first scattering of autumn leaves during our walk.
We also saw this incredible cornfield, which John and I decided to get lost in for a while (fun fact: Wistow's also home to a maize maze, which we didn't make it to, but I'd love to visit!).
Within minutes, my head started clearing and my ear - which had been blocked for three days (that's three days of me saying, "I'm sorry? Excuse me?" to everyone who spoke to me) - popped! I whooped with joy and claimed the country air had cured me of all ailments (except for my rib, which was still excruciatingly painful).
Actually, I believe my exact words were, "This is the best walk of my LIFE!" You know, in that true American, over-enthusiastic way. "You know what would make it a lot better though?" I continued. "If there were, like, sheep, just like, here." And I gestured to the place beside me.
Of course, that happened, since there seemed to be a sheep speed-dating event nearby (see the ram in the middle? The ladies are alllll over that).
But, of course, the walk got even better when we ran into these AH-DORABLE miniature horses, who wanted to play.
They both stuck their heads through the fence as I rubbed the black one's head and he curiously sniffed my leg.
IT FELT LIKE PETTING A TEDDY BEAR.
I almost passed out from over-excitement; they were the cutest things I'd ever seen!
Afterwards, we headed off to Wistow Rural Centre, where John and I picked up this foxy doormat as a homage to our garden friend. It's kind of amazing.
And of course, Alison didn't let us leave without filling our stomachs with a delicious Cumbrian beef stew and a blackberry apple crumble (she packed us leftovers too, which I can't wait to eat tonight!).
It was such a wonderful weekend and a great escape from the city life in London - especially since John and I were feeling a little less than our usual selves. There's something about being taken care of like children that made me feel so sentimental! I realized (as I was lying prone on her couch watching a re-run of Sherlock on BBC - another one of my wishes that came true that weekend!) that Alison really hasn't treated me any differently today than she did 9 years ago when I first stayed over at her house.
Gratitude doesn't even begin to describe how I feel.