This is my photo, taken 15 years ago:
Whenever I look at this photo I travel back in my mind to those single trips to England I took in the late eighties and early nineties. I was hopelessly in love with this beautiful island, its landscape and its people. I often flew to London for long weekends with my friends, and in June, when the days were the longest, I usually spent about three weeks in England - mostly in the Cotswolds and in Norfolk. I traveled on my own and that was exactly the way I liked it.
This photo was taken in Northleach, one of the less touristy villages in the Cotswolds. I stayed in a lovely Bed and Breakfast where I returned to every summer. My favorite time was in the evening, after I had dinner. The days were long, and I loved to walk through the Northleach churchyard and further on into the meadows. The sheep were here every day, and their calm "bah bah" accompanied me on my silent walks. I sat somewhere in the meadow and just took it in - the sheep, the quietness, the wind rustling in the leaves of the old trees, the birds singing their evening songs (I particularly remember the blackbirds). At some time the church bells started to ring - the beautiful change ringing that you find only on the British Isles. It is such a special sound! If you have never heard it, here's a short video. For me this kind of change ringing belongs to an evening in the English countryside. It gives you peacefulness, calms you down and just lets you be in the moment.
I remember feeling completely whole and at peace with myself. Those evenings were magical, and when I feel a bit low nowadays I can go back there in my mind and recall the quietness. I often only returned - reluctantly - when it was starting to get dark. I never feared walking through the cemetery after the sun had set, and I never had any worries being out there in the countryside, just me and the sheep. Sometimes I met a farmer and we talked for a while, had a lovely exchange. Something to feed my soul. Sometimes I would stop at a pub for a pint when I got back to the village, talking to the locals and playing a round or two of Jenga. It was my vacation, I had left all my worries behind, I didn't think about my work, I lived in the moment. I was blissfully young.