The source of the River Thames is just a few miles from our home; a spring supplied by water deep from under the ground. Mostly there is nothing to see apart from a stone which marks the spot and a few small stones lying in a shallow dip in the ground. If it has been raining the stones are submerged in clear water, and on looking closer the occasional burst of tiny bubbles making their way up from the ground can be seen.
20 miles on from this inauspicious beginning and a small river is now wandering through the Gloucestershire countryside.
As it crosses the border into Oxfordshire it has already swelled from its infancy and is well on its way to becoming 'Old Father Thames', eventually flowing on through the city of London - it's destination the North Sea.
Sitting on the river bank we muse - Kelmscott Manor is in the meadows beyond the trees. Did William Morris wander here too? maybe take a stroll along the towpath with his wife, Jane, Rossetti or Burne-Jones!
Loiter we must not, our destination is on this side of the river. As the crow flies a mere hop from Morris's abode.
Buscot Park and House, home to Lord Faringdon, a spectacular garden, unsurprisingly, a house hung with paintings by the Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood.
Lord Faringdon, a very genial character, served us both with ice-cream. The day was too hot for the house, so we took to the shade of the trees.
A quote from Lord Faringdon - "My father died when I was 16, and my mother lived abroad, so rather to his surprise, my bachelor uncle, Gavin Faringdon, suddenly found himself landed with a philistine nephew, I was passed around the family - particularly to him but also to his sister (both of whom I loved) - during school holidays from Eton."
Lord Faringdon inherited Buscot in 1977 on the death of his much loved uncle.
In the Saloon is the most spectacular series of paintings by Burne-Jones - the story of Sleeping Beauty. When Burne-Jones was staying with William Morris at Kelmscott Manor, he walked across the meadows to the house to see his work on the walls, but was not satisfied with their setting. At this stage there were four large paintings. He wanted them linked to give unity to the story and designed a framework of carved and gilt wood for the intervening spaces which he filled with different paintings of briar rose motifs.
A garden of great vistas
The renown Harold Peto designed the Italianate water gardens at the turn of the 20th century - it is delightful - a pleasure to wander along.