A Detour To Lacock

For a while now (see: the last 25 years) I have felt the urge to go and be moody by the ocean. If one were to conjure up an artistic rendering of my absolute element it would consist of heavy clouds, stormy seas, a large coffee and a notable absence of people, so I decided to seek this out and planned a roadtrip. Working with only a 3 day weekend, Will and I set off for Cornwall where I was anticipating the culmination of my wildest dreams, but before we get to that, let art imitate life as we take a literal and figurative detour through the countryside.

I do not know if you've ever driven from London to Cornwall before, but on the demographically probable chance that you have not, I will just inform you that it is indeed Quite A Long Way, so it's nice to make a few stops en route. Two of our stops were separate roadside branches of McDonalds, but the third was a picturesque Wiltshire village by the name of Lacock, which held fewer mcnuggets but much more charm. #NoOffense to the A350 motorway Maccas. Having gotten our venture off to a late start thanks to a soul destroying ninety minutes picking up the rental car, we had decided to gun it straight to Cornwall without any significant stops, but whilst we were approaching the aforementioned culinary detour I recognised a nearby village name on my trusty google map and decided we may as well pop over.

Lacock, it turns out, is renowned for two equally impressive feats - acting as a significant filming location for several films including multiple Harry Potters, and being the childhood home of Zoella. I know. What a jackpot. Unfortunately we were on a tight ol' schedj and both really itching to get back on the road for more arguments about whether or not it is appropriate to talk over me when I am singing along to the entirety of Christina Aguilera's 'Stripped' album, so there wasn't enough time to make a real go of it and head over to Lacock Abbey for the full Hogwarts experience. However, the town is rawther compact so luckily just having a leisurely wander was enough to get a feel for the atmosphere and see plenty of quaintness without even trying. Also the answer we are looking for re: the Aguilera Question is either 'absolutely not' or a silent, steely glare.

Whilst I would most likely describe Lacock as 'quintessentially english,' what I really mean is that it is one of the most aggressively British looking places I have ever damn been, to the point that it doesn't even seem real. It's been used as a setting for Downton, Pride & Prejudice, Harry Potter and one would also assume at least ten separate TV shows about a sleepy country town rocked by a disproportionate amount of crimes that can only be solved by one particularly kooky or surly senior member of the parish with a god-given gift for sleuthing. I know you can picture the title sequence already. It also reminds me of the town they visit in Wild Child, which I watched again last weekend and is still a fantastic time.

On this particular sunny Friday afternoon there were enough people around, both local and tourists, for it to be comfortable and not make one feel overly conspicuous, but still quiet enough that there weren't people everywhere we turned. There was a beer garden at a pub that seemed to be quite busy, and lots of little shops and bakeries and cute little stands scattered around, and it definitely seemed like the kind of place you could easily spend a whole afternoon walking around. Granted, if you took that literally and you could probably do 100+ laps of the entire village, but if you were wandering and stopping and going in and out of shops and really exploring you could easily fill a couple of hours.

In contrast to the rest of my posts from our Cornwall trip, I have absolutely zero heartwarming anecdotes about this particular stop because as soon as we pulled into Lacock I left William at the car and XtReMe bAiLed down the road to get photos of the cute lil houses as quickly and efficiently as possible. Sometimes you have to be ruthless to get that shot, guys. However, I did end up regretting this hasty departure slightly when my pace slowed and I started actually appreciating how damn quaint and villagey everything was, but I wouldn't have had any hands free for holding anyway without it obstructing my photo taking capabilities so 'twas probably for the best. That being said, I did not end up ripping through the place like the speed demon I had intended to become, because it turns out when you're somewhere really cute your brain usually decides on its own to actually take in your surroundings and be present in the moment, whether that's convenient for your schedule or not.

No tears for William though, thank you. After finishing whatever work-related task he'd been attending to when I houdinied away towards the paddocks, he had done plenty of exploring on his own like a Big Boy, and it turns out that when you are in a tiny, tiny village you eventually bump into each other without even trying anyway. I do remember being quite amped to see him when this did occur. I believe my exact thought process was something along the lines of 'oh that guy looks pretty normal' then being really pleased when I realised that the apparition to whom my periphs & subconscious had awarded such high praises was already firmly within my grasp. Romance *Aurelia from Love Actually voice*.

If you do not know the voice I mean then you need to watch the movie again but I will give you a hint for free it is when she's asking Colin Firth what genre his book is and she says something along the lines of 'hrhrhomance?....crimm?' 'Crimm' is crime. x

The concept of living in a village in the middle of the countryside is completely intangible to me, having grown up entirely in the centre of big cities, but I can definitely appreciate the appeal of visiting for the day, or driving around and stopping in a few different places in the area. The history of so many villages in England is something that really appeals to me, alongside the obvious aesthetic appeal, and that isn't something you really get to the same extent in Australia. I love driving around with Will and visiting places in the country - which is something we plan to do a lot more of once we're both back and settled in Melbourne - but although there are plenty of insanely beautiful things to see, there isn't anything with the same sort of vibe as Lacock. We have country towns, but they tend to make me feel slightly suffocated rather than enchanted, and I personally have always been much more drawn to the romanticism and absolute vastness of English history.

You'll see over the next few posts the parallels that I think can be drawn between what we saw in Cornwall and what there is at home, but places like Lacock are something you can only really find in that particular part of the world, so I think it's always worth stopping if you can. I would love to do a much longer road trip and visit places like the Lake District and the Scottish Highlands and stop in dozens of different villages on the way, but those are plans for a time in the future when we have enough disposable income to pay for a cute hotel every stop of the way and also a tacky souvenir magnet in every single town. For now I'm quite happy we took a little post-Maccas detour and ended up in Lacock for a bit.

Reunited with William, having soaked up enough Hogsmeade vibes for one day and feeling rejuvenated enough to face another few hours on the road, we set off towards Cornwall and what would unfold as one of our favourite weekends ever. But that is a story for another post.
If you think this one has been photo-heavy, just you wait, 'enry 'iggins. Just you wait.