Today was a day of variety. On our drive out of Stow on the Wold this morning, we stopped to admire one of the many yellow paddocks in the area. Our second stop was Hailes Abbey where our experience was brought alive by aural guides which told stories from monks and pilgrims of the 1200's with Cistercian chanting in the background. At the end of our 2 hour self-tour, we sampled some of English Heritage's ginger wine which was so good that we purchased a bottle! Our final stop was Snowshill Manor, a large home built in the 1600's which houses a collection of 20,000 handcrafted items from throughout the centuries and from all over the world. The collection was created by Charles Wade, a wealthy and eccentric man who gathered the items because he believed that craft skills would be lost to industrialisation. Our experience there was like walking through an extensive antique shop with no theme. Items ranged from battle armour and penny farthings to weaving apparatus and miniature stone and wood carvings. Charles purchased the 3 storey manor house specifically to house his collection but lived simply in a very small house beside the manor. We stayed at Snowshill for 3 hours so it was fortunate that we had eaten scones with raspberry jam and clotted cream before wandering through the grounds and tackling the house, which we agreed was "disturbingly eccentric"...
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