We all know intellectually that a ten hour flight transports you to another world, yet no matter how many times you might make such a journey it never fails to surprise and amaze just how different that ‘other place’ is!  On Monday I left my home in Danville, just 30 miles East of San Francisco. The violet blue skies and 70 degree temperatures had enticed new leaves to unfurl, fruit trees to become kissed with clouds of cotton wool blossoms and camellias and magnolias to burst into bloom.

Danville, California in January
The English countryside, in the beautiful south Oxfordshire village of Ewelme, was a very different landscape. Brushed with an icing sugar dusting of snow, the fields glistened in the grey wintry light.
Ewelme, view from a window Oxfordshire, England
As I drew my bedroom curtains that evening, my heart skipped a beat at the view of the old Forge and the thatched roofs in the distance.
View from a Ewelme bedroom window. Oxfordshire, England
The next morning, as we strolled through Ewelme, the sheep were patiently waiting for their breakfast, it was hard for them to find much to nibble on in the frozen ground.
Sheep in a Ewelme field, Oxfordshire, England
On the hillside above the village the view was captivating, no wonder it has been used for so many films, quite recently ‘Les Miserables’!
View of Ewelme, Oxfordshire, England
Opposite the church is the stunning Ewelme farmhouse, straight out of a Jane Austin Novel.
View of The farmhouse in Ewelme, Oxfordshire, England
Opposite is The Ewelme Primary School, founded in 1437, it is the oldest continuously functioning school building in England. Imagine coming to school here each morning?!
The oldest oldest continuously functioning school in Ewelme, Oxfordshire, England
Adjacent to the school is the 600 year old, St Mary the Virgin Church and its stunning almshouses.
The Church and alsmhouses in Ewelme
Through the archway it opened out into the courtyard of the almshouses.
The almshouses in Ewelme, Oxfordshire, England
The church was up a stone stairway just steps away.Inside this delightful place of worship it was tranquil and serene. Stepping across the threshold one could not help wonder about all those that had trod the worn flagstones before you.
Inside St Mary the Virgin church in Ewelme, Oxfordshire, England
Outside, the graveyard is the resting place of several famous people, including Geoffrey Chaucer.
View of the church in Ewelme, Oxfordshire, England
Wandering back through the village there was little doubt which country in the world we were in; thatched cottages,
A thatched cottage in Ewelme, Oxfordshire, England
stately country homes,
A country home in Ewelme, Oxfordshire, England
and the lush green rolling countryside.

This is the nearby village of Skirmett, a place very dear to my heart, our home when our children were babies. Unchangingly beautiful, it was so nostalgic to return here………..
An English country view in Skirmett near Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire
We escaped the bitterly cold afternoon and warmed ourselves by the roaring fire of Skirmett’s charming pub, ‘The Frog’, there really is nothing quite like an English pub, nothing like ‘home’!
Lunch by the fireside in The Frog Pub, Skirmett, England