Mono Monday: Explore

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I took today’s challenge as permission to zoom off on a little road trip; and as the weather was murky and threatening rain I thought that the untouristy conditions might make it easier than usual to access one of the more difficult of the Cotswold villages. The last time I tried to get into Lower Slaughter it was literally impossible to stop a car anywhere on the Lower side of Upper Slaughter so I had to make do with that, but today I was able to park without difficulty on the main road in Lower.

I’ve chosen this shot out of today’s set because I hope it conveys a slight sense of exploration – though in fact Lower Slaughter is so small that you could easily cover it from top to bottom and from side to side within about twenty minutes. The Old Mill has a museum and a cafĂ©, neither of which was open today, and a couple of shops which were. My exploration of the bigger of these unearthed a rather lovely leather backpack, reduced in price by 55% from “That’s lovely, but I’ve no intention of paying that kind of money for a handbag”, to “Oh, that is nice – and really quite reasonable – and would it…? Yes, I think it would… Let me just check…. Oh yes, it’s definitely big enough to put a DSLR in…” – at which juncture I felt that it would be churlish not to treat myself to it. I’ve been very grumpy recently about the plummeting pound having put up most of the Japanese photography equipment on my wish list by 25-30%, and as this means that I won’t be buying any lenses or upgrading my crop sensor body any time soon, I justified a new bag by the need to take loving care of the kit that I have. The chap in the shop was very taken with my idea, and congratulated me warmly on my inventiveness as he accepted my credit card, so if you visit in the near future I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that he’s taken to marketing these backpacks as camera bags!

On my way back to the car I popped into the tiny church, which is very pretty, and then stopped in at The Slaughters Manor House, where despite the fact that I looked as though I was freshly risen from sleeping in a hedge they were polite and friendly, seated me in a bright lounge with an open fire, and brought me coffee and biscuits. It’s a really lovely hotel, and I’m hoping to persuade R to drive over with me one afternoon, to sample one of their Afternoon Teas – though I think I should probably tidy myself up a little first.

By the way, the name Slaughter has nothing to do with the content of the Gentleman’s Afternoon Tea; it derives from the word “slough” (as in despond), which means a wet, muddy place. By the time I left the village this afternoon it was raining, and looking at the state of my boots as I got into the car I felt that the name was pretty appropriate.