PHOTO: STILE SIMILAR TO THE ONE FROM WHICH I FELL
When I was only two days from Chipping Campden, the north end of the Cotswold Way, I fell on a stile that was not nailed down. I got slightly damaged.
Most of the stiles are simply a board put through a fence with support posts at each end. They are usually about two feet off the ground. One steps up on the board, over the fence and then down on the other side. At this particular stile, when I stepped over the fence, I came down on the board beyond the support. The board at the leading end was rotted away from the nails on its bottom side, so I got catapulted on to the ground on my hands and knees from over two feet above grade.
Even though I was limping, I managed to finish The Cotswold Way, and take a bus to Stratford on Avon. I spent some time there, seeing that magical place with its jaw dropping half-timbered structures including the country farm house of Anne Hathaway, Shakespeare’s wife. It was called Anne Hathaway’s cottage. Amazingly, the houses that were called cottages in England were usually just one step down from a manor house and this one was no exception. Of all the half-timbered houses I saw, it was the loveliest. It was gracefully stepped down a slope, had a thatch roof and was fronted by a colorful English garden. I also saw the Shakespearean Theater in Stratford. It was not half timbered but made of brick, and a far cry from the Globe Theater in London, Shakespeare’s main hangout.
Then, to give my knees a rest, I decided to take the Slow Coach around Ireland. The magic of Ireland is a whole other story.