Cottage stays plus cruise

We took a delightful trip to jolly old England, Sept. 9-Oct. 2, ’05. We stayed two weeks in cottages in the Cotswolds and spent one week on the canals.

• Our first cottage was George’s Stable at Barn Farm in Tysoe, and what a find! It actually had been a stable, one which was remodeled just a year ago and is so charming and well equipped. It has all the modern conveniences, including two TVs (one with cable), a combo VCR/DVD player, stereo, dishwasher, washing machine, ceramic-topped stove with oven, etc. Also provided was info on all the local sites to see plus a nice road atlas.

It was just a short walk (less than a mile) from the shop in the village for the newspaper. Best of all, we had an absolutely bucolic view of grazing sheep and cattle from our windows.

Jude (pronounced Judy) Canning has done a fantastic job and can be reached by e-mail at or by phone at 01295-254394. For a week during high season, the cottage rents for £350, or about $630 at today’s rate, and it’s worth every penny!

• We rented a narrowboat from Viking Afloat, Ltd. (Lowesmoor Wharf, Lowesmoor, Worcester, WR1 2RS, U.K.; phone 01905 610660, fax 616715 or visit We were very satisfied with them with one exception, and even that turned out to be a lovely experience.

They are supposed to provide towels for overseas visitors but did not provide them for us. We didn’t realize it until our first stop, so we went into the village looking for towels and talked to a lady walking her dog. She said we probably wouldn’t find any but to stop at her house on our way back if not.

No towels. We neared her home wondering if we should stop, and there she was standing outside with two nice, big bath towels. We were so grateful, and when we got back and told Viking Afloat about it, they insisted on laundering the towels and returning them to the nice lady. We also got a small gift from them for our troubles.

Narrowboating can be a bit strenuous for us older folks (mid 70s), but we saw many Brits older than us on boats, many of them retired and living on them. It was fun!

• Our other cottage was Horseshoe Cottage, located in Whichford, a delightful, small village with a pub but no shops. We booked it through Manor Cottages (Priory Mews, 33a Priory Lane, Burford, Oxfordshire, OX18 4SG, England; phone [from abroad] +44 1993 824252, e-mail or visit

Renting for about the same amount as our first cottage, it too is well appointed but not as new — more in keeping with the Cotswold atmosphere. It can accommodate families, since there are two bedrooms and four beds.

There is shopping in nearby villages, and again we were provided with copious amounts of material on local attractions.

• We got our car (Avis) through Auto Europe at 800/223-5555. It cost about $750 for the 22 days. It was cheaper, by the way, to park it at the boat than to turn it in and retrieve it after the trip — and much more convenient. There was secure parking at the wharf.

We really had a great vacation!

Sun City, CA