Wendy Graham of Fairford
Many years ago, we passed through Lechlade and then Fairford on our way to Malmesbury. We have always opted for the slower and more scenic route, and after visiting Burford for the first time, and lingering there for an hour or two, we gently ambled along to Lechlade-on-Thames which we thought delightfully colourful with all the glorious window boxes and hanging baskets in full bloom.
More lingering and enjoying, then on to Fairford where the bright spring sunshine was illuminating the warm, honey-coloured Cotswold stone - and it was love at first sight!
We spent many happy and relaxing weekends after that in various B&B's and hostelries, imagining what it might be like to actually live in this rural idyll. It became our ambition to move to Gloucestershire one day and live the dream.
Time passed and we slowly grew a little closer to making our big move to the country but we made a promise that if it did happen, we would leave behind us the trappings and 'clutter' of urban living and embrace a new and rural way of life in the beauty of the English countryside.
There were a few misgivings about how we might be accepted by the Fairfordians, given that we were 'outsiders' and would be buying a house that could or should be for local people. Would we be resented? Not at all! From day one, everybody was welcoming and friendly and, as we moved into our new home, we felt just that - at home!
We had spent all our married life in our first house – had our three sons there too – and although we had so many happy memories of that life, we now had a new one to 'explore'.
Immediately we noticed the HUGE skies and wonderful sunsets, and then gradually the changing of the seasons. Along with this came all the village activities that I used to envy so much in The Archers! Real donkeys on Palm Sunday, summer fetes, harvest suppers and the joy of singing carols around the Christmas tree in all weathers.
I have just seen the first spring lambs - bouncing about despite the freezing cold temperatures and I wanted to bundle them all up in warm blankets to keep them warm, but then I am still a bit 'wimpey' and desperately trying to toughen up.
Am I respectful and mindful of the countryside? Yes! And have I have learnt very much since living here, about the livestock, wild life and the farmers and keepers of the land? Yes! They all do an amazing job of sustaining and protecting these wonderful Cotswolds for generations to follow. Just watching the crops being sown, then grown, then harvested is sheer joy!
All in all I am the happiest of pigs in muck – Gloucestershire Old Spot of course!
Wendy Graham lives in Fairford with her husband Eric. Wendy is involved with the local food bank, prayer ministry team at St.Mary's Church and is a keen dog walker.