Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Wanderings Out West

My dear friend the Vintage Bride had a little boy, M, just a couple of months before B was born, and we'd dearly love it if their little family lived a little closer to us. But as they live in Henley-on-Thames, and of course we live further west in Bath, we try to meet up regularly somewhere half way. This has led to much detailed study of maps of the West of England, typing various distances into google and trying to find places that are a) not too far from each of our homes, b) toddler friendly even in cold or wet weather, and c) provide two Mummies with a little bit of culture, heritage or retail therapy.

Through her day job as a journalist, the Vintage Bride discovered a new gallery which has opened in a small Oxfordshire village. So we wrapped two little toddlers up in thick layers to protect against the biting cold and drove our way into the sleepy village of Clanfield.
High House is a miniature yet perfectly formed commercial gallery - like stepping from the leafy Cotswolds into a trendy East End gallery. A quirky and splendid array of unusual photographic portraits were displayed throughout two rooms of a magnificent house which also boasted a beautiful garden which the boys loved running around in. Normally closed on a Tuesday, the owner of the gallery opened up especially for us and gave us a delightful guided tour of all the work on display. It was a lovely way to spend an hour and definitely ticked the culture box for us two Mums.
I think my favourite piece was this embroidered 60s photograph entitled The Astronaut by Julie Cockburn. It makes me want to take to some of our old family photographs with a needle and thread!
We followed our gallery tour with a long lazy lunch in a fab pub called The Plough where the staff welcomed hungry toddlers with open arms and we had a great catch up in front of a roaring fire.