I’d heard that the Cotswolds is one of the most celebrity-filled areas of England, outside London, so, keen to meet a classier kind of canine – perhaps even an A-list amigo – I persuaded Jane that we had to travel there. My nose was twitching at the prospect of sniffing a better class of bottom than is aromatically available in south-east London….
Jane arranged a trip with her friend Maria and Maria’s Boston Terrier Joan, who could have been a celebrity dog herself, she claims, as, apparently, an A-lister was interested in buying her when she was a pup. It never happened – instead she ended up with Maria and Darryl – and perhaps it’s not even true and is just one of Joan’s stories to attempt to prove she is superior to me in breeding and bloodline. Well, I’m superior in barking and squirrel chasing, Joan of Park, so take that and back to the real celebrities of the Cotswolds.
We booked into a pub with rooms – The Noel Arms – in Chipping Campden. Was the Noel Arms a haunt for celebrity Noels? Maybe I’d be meet Noel Gallagher or, at the very least, Noel Edmonds and Mr Blobby, as I do so love to bark at humans dressed in ridiculous pink suits with white splodges on.
Anyway, all the buildings in the Cotswolds – even the bus stops – are of a honey-ish hue. Lots of them are very old but even the houses that are modern are honey coloured too. I lifted my leg against a couple to check they were, in fact, hard stone and not soft honey and I can confirm this is the case. They are not made of honey – they simply have the appearance of honey. Thank Dog or we would have been in rather a sticky situation.
This honey coloured stone is called Cotswold stone and it is very ‘istoric. It is what gives the area its unique appearance and draws celebrities to it like bees to honey.
The Noel Arms is hewn from honey stone, of course, and is bang in the middle of Chipping Campden, overlooking the little town square. Indeed, it is such an important focal point in the town that the bus stop is right outside. I believe this is also so the famous Noels don’t have to walk very far if they decide to use public transport to ferry them around instead of helicopter.
There is a cafe – dogs welcome – inside the Noel that all the Chipping Campden locals frequent. It sells homemade Battenburg, which is Jane’s favourite cake. There is also a bar, where dogs are allowed, and a restaurant, where we aren’t. Maybe this is where the Noels are as I haven’t spotted any yet – and I’ve got my pawtograph book ready. BOL!
And, across the road, there’s a very dog-friendly cafe called Huxleys, where I am allowed to chill out in peace and quiet and given some treats by the friendly waiter – almost as if I am a celebrity. Which, come to think of it, with all my writings, I am!
But, for a short while one afternoon, Joan and I are confined to the room – the indignity – as Jane and Maria are heading across the street to use the SPAR facilities at the Noel Arms’ sister hotel – Cotswold House.
It is the big, bossy sister I would surmise, because, while the Noel is laidback and allows us dogs in public areas, Cotswold House does not. There are some garden rooms at Cotswold House where we’re allowed to kip but show our faces in the public areas during day time – no way. The public areas of Cotswold House are too posh to pooch and the SPAR is definitely out of bounds for hounds.
Not to worry – I had rather a pleasant few hours while Jane and Maria were away dog-watching from the window of our room which surveys the town square. A word of warning for humans, though – the bathroom window surveys the square too, so do not forget to draw the curtains when lifting your leg in there or any passing Noels may get a shock.
When Jane returns from the SPAR I remind her that I am ready for a walk. What, after all, is the point of being bang in the middle of some of the finest countryside in all of England if we’re not going to utilise it? I tell Jane there will be a slice of Battenburg awaiting her at the end of the walk.
Chipping Campden is Walksville, Arizona because it is at the start (or the end) of the Cotswold Way – 102 miles to Bath – and also near the start (or the end) of the Heart of England Way, 100 miles long. That is a lot of miles but unfortunately we only managed three as Joan, well-bred lady that she is, slowed us down rather as she walks at a pace that she believes befits her status. Luckily Jane and I tried another walk the following day and that was much longer and much (blood) lustier – the SHEEP were prime for the chasing but, sadly, for that reason, I was on the boring lead for much of it.
And, at the end, still no Noels. Ah well – I had enjoyed my CHIPPING Campden CHIPS and my scraps of steak at dinner the previous evening and my SAUSAGES at breakfast so I couldn’t dwell on the lack of Noels. However, Jane and I did nip into the tourist office just before we caught the bus home to enquire about the local celebrities – and we were informed that the most famous local is Jeremy Clarkson. So not a Noel at all – what a SWIZZ!
Phileas Phacts: Chipping Campden
- Noel Arms, High Street, Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire, GL55 6AT Tel: 01386 840317; website: www.noelarmshotel.com
- Huxleys, High Street, Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire, GL55 6AL Tel: 01386 849077; website: www.huxleys.org
- Cotswold House Hotel and Spa, The Square, Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire, GL55 6AN Tel: 01386 840330; website: www.cotswoldhouse.com