village

Do - On The Scarecrow Trail...

Whilst today is a pressing mass of grey cloud and rain, yesterday was really rather lovely and so we sallied forth under blue skies to the Sonning Scarecrow Trail. Sonning, for those of you that don't know it, is a picture postcard village on the banks of the Thames near Reading. It's just down the road from us and happily, every other year they hold a Scarecrow Trail where the whole village get a little bit silly and a little bit creative and gardens become full of papier mache figures while the roads fill with happy people wandering around, asking strangers if they've found scarecrow number twenty-seven or where the nearest tea stall is. It's all a bit lovely and a very enjoyable way to spend an afternoon while the white clouds race overhead and the sun shines on...

Mr Bump, 101 Dalmations, Warhorse & Quadrophenia...

Mr Bump, 101 Dalmations, Warhorse & Quadrophenia...

Eeyore, Spiderman, an accident prone decorator and Kitchener - warlord & bell-ringer...

Eeyore, Spiderman, an accident prone decorator and Kitchener - warlord & bell-ringer...

Wallace & Gromit, Tom & Jerry, The Great British Sewing Bee and a pensioner with road rage...

Wallace & Gromit, Tom & Jerry, The Great British Sewing Bee and a pensioner with road rage...

Captain Mainwaring, Willy Wonka, Gru & Minions and some busy bees...

Captain Mainwaring, Willy Wonka, Gru & Minions and some busy bees...

Del Boy & Rodney, Champagne Charlie, An ark in the bus stop and Strictly in the cricket pavilion...

Del Boy & Rodney, Champagne Charlie, An ark in the bus stop and Strictly in the cricket pavilion...

Do - Visit TV Villages

Tucked away in the greenest, most English of valleys between Henley and Marlow are the villages of Hambleden and Turville. Whilst you might not know the names, you'll certainly recognise the places themselves. The Vicar of Dibley, Foyle's War, Miss Marple, Poirot, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Band of Brothers, Goodnight Mr Tom, Midsomer Murders, Lewis, The Witches, Sleepy Hollow, Nanny McPhee and more have all been filmed hereabouts and you point around you repeating the refrain 'isn't that in...?' 

Both villages are lovely to visit, partly because they're still villages. People still wander around, in and out of the post office or round the corner to a friend's house - lives are still led here, the villages are real, they've not been turned into preserved versions of themselves, frozen for all time on film and left unloved by humans. No, these are real places and, however much I may hope Damian Lewis in US paratrooper gear would appear from around a corner in Hambleden, that's not going to happen. However, the postman was very nice...

Both villages have great pubs to pop into and pretend you're a local (The Stag & Huntsman in Hambleden and The Bull & Butcher in Turville - both with more TV credits to their names than me) and both places have great walks and footpaths leading from the village centres will take you into the beautiful countryside around. Indeed, take the path from Turville up to the windmill that features in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and remember to sing 'Toot Sweets' on the way.

Anyway, if you're ever in the area, do visit Hambleden & Turville then spend far too long afterwards browsing Rightmove and dreaming of that lottery win...

The view from the village green in Turville to Cobstone Mill. Or the bit just outside the vicar's house in Dibley up to the inventor's house from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. 

The view from the village green in Turville to Cobstone Mill. Or the bit just outside the vicar's house in Dibley up to the inventor's house from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. 

I could definitely live in Hambleden...

I could definitely live in Hambleden...

Miss Marple's butchers? 

Miss Marple's butchers? 

Hambleden's pretty church - I have absolutely stepped into a tv drama set in the 1940s.

Hambleden's pretty church - I have absolutely stepped into a tv drama set in the 1940s.

Why this place isn't covered with American tourists, all disclaiming 'gee, how quaint', I don't know...

Why this place isn't covered with American tourists, all disclaiming 'gee, how quaint', I don't know...

A sign in Turville - a genuine WWII leftover or something from the last tv show shot here?

A sign in Turville - a genuine WWII leftover or something from the last tv show shot here?

Mr Tom's cottage? Someone's house in Dibley? The heroine's cottage from Foyle's War? Or simply my dream pad...

Mr Tom's cottage? Someone's house in Dibley? The heroine's cottage from Foyle's War? Or simply my dream pad...