Blockley: An Enchanted Village
Where else have I heard this phrase before? Of course, have read it in Enid Blyton’s books. I have grown up reading her books and Blockley reminds me of a village straight out of Enid Blyton’s books. Blockley is truly an enchanted village.
So what is so enchanting about this quaint little village? I have always wanted to stay in the countryside and my travels have brought me to Blockley, a quintessential English Countryside Village. While staying in this village, got to go on some lovely long walks (actually rambling). While we were rambling, this song kept playing at the back of my mind (“Ramblin’ Rose” is a 1962 popular song written by brothers Noel Sherman and Joe Sherman and popularized by Nat King Cole):
Ramblin’ rose, ramblin’ rose
Why you ramble, no one knows
Wild and wind-blown, that’s how you’ve grown
Who can cling to a ramblin’ rose?
We found Blockley quite by chance on Airbnb 🙂 We were looking for places to stay in the Cotswold area and we found this gem of a village! This is our cottage which we found on Airbnb. This cottage has been our home for a few days and we thoroughly enjoyed our stay here. We shopped for groceries, cooked food, watched movies, TV shows, played games, did our laundry, went for long walks, visited the nearby towns and villages and just had the most relaxing time of our lives 🙂 Thank you Simon for taking care of every detail in this cottage. It was awesome!
Blockley is everything I could ever envisage about a picture perfect village. Checkout this link on CotsWoldLife where Blockley is featured as one of 10 prettiest Cotswold villages to visit in England. Blockley village has just one village Pub called The Great Western Arms.
The Great Western Arms Traditional Village Pub:
The food served there is outstandingly delicious and out of this world. When we arrived late in the evening, we were tired and famished. Our host (Simon) had already informed us that there was a Village Pub and just one Village Shop and Cafe and that most probably the Cafe would be closed by the time we arrived. So we had no option but to solely depend on the Village Pub for our dinner. But we were pleasantly surprised by the lovely, homely ambience of this place and more so for its amazingly, sumptuously, delicious food. These pictures will illustrate more clearly what I mean!
The Local Village Shop & Cafe:
This is an excerpt from Blockley’s Cafe leaflet which I am reproducing for better understanding of what Craig Stanley at Blockley Cafe has to offer you:
Whether you’re exploring the Cotswolds, a hungry foodie or looking for some delicious food, a warm welcome awaits you!
And I couldn’t agree more. This Cafe is buzzing all day with visitors sitting and chatting over a cup of coffee, cakes etc.
Also attached to the Cafe is the Village Shop, that’s why it is called the Village Shop & Cafe! This shop stores all the essentials that the village needs. We were in and out of this shop literally everyday! We didn’t have to worry about anything as we got everything that we needed in this shop.
The Church of St Peter and St Paul:
After having taken care of our physical nourishment, for those looking out for fulfilling their Spiritual nourishment, there is also the one and only Church in Blockley – The Church of St. Peter and St. Paul.
For more than a thousand years the church has been a landmark at the centre of the village.
I have been to this Church for Sunday Eucharistic Service a couple of times during my stay, and what can I say, the members of the community, the Vicar, the Choir and the Organist and the families of this village made the whole experience a truly Spiritual one!
For your information, in 2012 the BBC made an initial series of Father Brown, based on G. K. Chesterton’s fictional detective, using Blockley church and vicarage as their location. Father Brown has now completed five series, filmed in the Church and in and around Blockley and other local villages. Now how’s that for Stardom! And you thought that this was a sleepy village???
When we first arrived in Blockley, even though were awestruck by the beauty of this village, we also realized it was a very quiet village. So I often wondered, how could anybody spend time here? How do the people living here entertain themselves? How do they pass the time? Well, here’s how and we didn’t need to go far to other towns or villages to experience that. We wanted to live like the locals and experience the true English Countryside life and we got to experience it right here in Blockley.
There was this amazing Family Fun Day – Craig’s BBQ held just outside the Blockley Cafe & Village Shop. It was a small event, yet full of fun, laughter and it brought together the community of Blockley village. More importantly, it gave a sense of belonging. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves here.
I even tried my hand at Pottery! At first I was skeptical. I didn’t know whether the end result of what I was trying to create out of this clay would even remotely resemble the actual piece. But of course, I need not have worried. Neil Alcock who was the Potter and Teacher and Guide during this very creative session of teaching me a bit of pottery, ensured that the end result of my creation was the Vase! Neil shared with me that he has been in this business of pottery since the last 35 years and Pottery is his passion. I am so grateful to have met Neil, and for some of the insights he gave me, which kind of threw light on what I really wish to do. To Follow My Bliss. Neil is following his bliss.
For more information about him and his works, please feel free to visit his website: Vineyard Pottery The reason I am sharing his website here is because, during my conversation with him, I got to know that Neil’s website is designed and created by his colleague who is visually impaired (Blind)! I cannot for the life of me ever understand how can a blind person create something so beautiful, without knowing or seeing what he is creating??? That’s why I have taken down his website details and checked it out when I reached home. Do check it out, it will make you grateful for all that you have and all the blessings that we sometimes tend to take for granted 🙂
What other activity was there to do? Ha! On my rambles through the village, I chanced upon this poster on the lamp-post. So I say, why not, never knew there was a Cinema Hall in this small village! So I enquired about it at the Village Shop. Tickets could be purchased at the village shop (the shop seems to be nucleus of the village!). So, I bought one.
This is the ticket to the movie! I was like what? Where’s the seat No.? I thought never mind, I will figure it out when I reach the Cinema Hall. When I reached St. George’s Hall, I was pleasantly surprised. It was not a proper cinema hall, but the local Community Hall doubled up as a Cinema Theatre for the local villages where some very good – feel good movies were projected on to the screen every month.
I managed to take a picture of this Cinema Hall, before the movie played, lest I run the risk of being caught and accused of recording the movie on my camera 🙂 But all said and done, watching this movie was a whole new cinematic experience for me. The movie was superb, the chairs were comfortable with cushions provided, you could sit anywhere! There was even a bar with drinks – wine and ice-cream for sale! The people were wonderful. I socialized and met quite a few people here and all seemed so relaxed and happy and just kind of chilling out with everyone, catching up with gossip over a glass of wine! How cool is that?
The Flowers, vegetables & Fruits Show:
You would think that the village activities ended here right? Wrong! There’s The Flowers, Vegetables and Fruits show to attend. This show has been organised by Blockley & District Horticultural Society. See the picture below. Any guesses where it has been held? Look again! Its at St. George’s Hall! The very hall which had doubled up as a Cinema Hall by night, got miraculously transformed into a display place for fruits and flowers by day (the very next day!). All the flowers, fruits, and vegetables exhibited at this show are locally and home-grown by the people of this village in their own backyard, kitchen garden etc. It is with so much of pride and enthusiasm that they come forward and display their wares. It is a sight to behold!
Is that the end of the village activities? No! There’s Duck Racing 🙂 What is that and how it’s done, that you will have to come and check it out and find out for yourself. Just turn up and get quacking! I like that 🙂 Who would have thought that this quiet little village had so much of life pumped into it?
But it is not the Pub, the village cafe and shop or the church or the external village activities alone which make the village enchanted. It is the people of this village. We have stayed in this village for just a few days, but the people of this village opened their hearts and home to us. I have met and interacted with so many of them, they are just simple, kindhearted people, most of them very elderly, retired and just happy souls. Most of their children are abroad, some staying absolutely alone. I did find a tint of sadness underlying their stories which they have shared with me, but on the whole, they are all contented with life. They no longer yearn for the hustle and bustle of city life (London). It’s as if this village is their resting place, and yet, there is a sparkle in their eyes, there is a zest for life which I envy. What is it that makes them and this village so special? I cannot tell, but I hope to come back to Blockley and find out for myself, the secret behind this enchantment.
Somebody from the village asked me how on earth did I find Blockley and when I replied that it was through Airbnb (the cottage which is owned & hosted by Simon is in Blockley), that person who asked me the question, replied, that I didn’t find Blockley, and that it was Blockley that found me! Interesting!
This is the first time I have written and dedicated a whole post to a single place or village. Anyone would think that this is a paid post. Just for the record its not a paid post. Nobody is paying me to write this post. Why then critics would wonder am I doing this. Why am I publicizing Blockley as an Enchanted Village? It’s because, not everything is about a materialistic gain. The love, fellowship and bonding that I have received and have shared with the people of this village over the last few days have made me a better person. When one opens oneself to receiving people into their lives, embracing their thoughts, their aspirations, their struggles and their dreams, then one becomes one with them (does this make sense?) Sorry, I am not expressing myself very articulately here, but yes, these are my thoughts and my belief for this lovely village: Blockley: An Enchanted Village for me!
I am sure that on my travels, if I continue to keep an open mind and am open to learning and appreciating other’s cultures, thoughts, beliefs and all that it’s worth, then I will continue to get enchanted and enthralled by all that comes into my spectrum.
Until then, keep traveling and keep sharing your travel stories with me!