After our recent housesitting on the south coast and Jo’s trip over to France to visit her Mum it’s been all change in the JWalking world with a semi-permanent stay in one of our favourite English counties. Wiltshire was where we had our Escape to the Country adventure in the summer and we decided that we really needed to see a lot of more.
We have had several housesits in the county in Warminster, Pewsey, Tisbury etc and always felt that we had to explore more of this beautiful county. It feels like a bit of a secret in a way, most people race through on their way to the over-rated Devon and Cornwall and miss this beautiful place.
So we booked a couple of months in a cosy little Airbnb in the west Wiltshire town of Melksham. We’d briefly visited on our roadtrip back in July and it looked like our sort of place, lots of character and history and so many places to walk.
Our new ‘home’ is certainly cosy but exactly what we were after. A converted outbuilding in the grounds of a rather big house in the middle of Melksham. Our hosts, Richard and Dee, have converted and finished the property to a very high standard and it’s so comfortable. Great little kitchen, fabulous shower, comfy bed (thank goodness), and a couple of lovely armchairs to relax in. What more could we need?
It may not look huge from the outside but it’s like the Tardis when you step in and we have been more than comfortable so far. It really feels like our own little home from home.
The town of Melksham is set on the River Avon and appears to have derived from the Old English for Milk Town. Not sure why milk was especially associated here though. It’s a fairly quiet market town with a lovely square and some fascinating old buildings but it isn’t really the history that has taken us. It is the people. They are so friendly and helpful.
Every person you meet has time to smile and chat which is incredibly refreshing in these difficult times. We have been so surprised at the friendliness of so many people. It may be that life is just that bit slower here than in other parts of the country or perhaps it’s just that Wiltshonians (if that is what they are called) are the nicest people in England.
Actually they aren’t called Wiltshonians at all. You will never ever guess what they are really known as! Come on, have a think. I just read a lovely story about it.
What are People from Wiltshire called?
Apparently smuggling was a major industry in middle England and Wiltshire was smack bang in the middle of some of those smuggling routes. The story goes that some locals were trying to retrieve some smuggled barrels of brandy from a village pond when they were apprehended by the official revenue men. When asked what they were doing, the locals pointed to the moon and stated that ‘they were raking in a round cheese’!
Now what that means is a mystery but the revenue guys just fell about laughing at the simple yokels and left them to it. So they were known forever after as ‘Moonrakers‘.
“Zo the excizeman ’as ax’d ’n the question ’ad his grin at ’n,…but they’d a good laugh at ’ee when ’em got whoame the stuff”Wiltshire shepherd William Little
So we’re living a leisurely life down here in rural Melksham with the Moonrakers and loving it. A few days out, a fair bit of walking, the odd coffee shop visit, but as yet no village pond brandy!
16/09 – 15/10/2021