Whenever I can escape the hustle and bustle of London I spend time at my home in the Cotswold. As I drive up the M40 out of the city I feel instantly relaxed. When I finally reach my turn off I cant help but feel I’ve been transported back in time. This vast area of England is wild and green, with pockets of the most charming villages you could ever imagine, Burford being a prime example. Propelled into a period of simple pleasures and unique English appeal, I can easily envision what life was like here throughout the centuries. Lifestyles and livelihoods that were so far removed from the modern comforts of today. Its next to impossible to walk through any village in the cotswolds without marvelling at the age of the homes with accompanying bountiful window boxes and small potager gardens. Buildings and estates that have stayed standing strong since as far back as 6000 years!
Perhaps my upbringing in Canada, a relatively newer country, allows for my perpetual astonishment when I think of how old these shops are, or how old this cobblestone road is. I think of how many thousands of people have tread upon it, getting themselves to their local apothecary and schlepping back up to their farmland to check on their flock of sheep. How many horse drawn carriages have carted by these windows? I can see the grooves in the cobblestone made by centuries of giant wooden wheels wearing down the roadway, now being further diminished by our large automated SUVs.
I love the smell of these hills. Fresh and sweet with hints of dark earth and rich wet soil, the Cotswolds is a national park of olfactory pleasure. It pains me to think that one day the escarpment might not be in existence. These rambling grasslands are under threat and vulnerable, just as it seems everything else we hold dear in this world. I order a delicious flat white from a local cafe here in Burford, and as I wait I think about all the seasonal foliage that surrounds me. I can see a distant meadow path and decide on a mission for this lovely September day. Today I will walk the hills and create a collection of flowers that will embody this place, this great, vast and wondrously wild landscape. I will make a sort of tribute to the Cotswolds and it’s astounding beauty. Nothing too extravagant or lavish, but rather something simplistic and delicate. An assemblage that is ethereal and timeless, just like this view.