by Brenda W. Clough
The one thing I really did want to accomplish on this trip was to visit a Roman villa. There are two major sites in the UK, one near Bath and the other in Gloucestershire. Since I have to drive north to the Lake District, it seemed only sensible to make a stop at Chedworth, between Cirincester and Cheltenham in the middle of England. It was an easy two hour drive from London — nothing, to an American.
And oh, it is so cool! The most eye-popping mosaics outside of Pompeii are here, carefully and expensively sheltered in climate-controlled conditions. They have an entire Roman villa here, two courtyards, two separate bath complexes, and a holy spring dedicated to the Nymphs. Note, to the lower left, the wooden board — not originally Roman. The local frogs adore this pond, and animal-loving site managers inserted a ramp into the pond so that the frogs could more easily get in and out. The spring has never frozen and never failed, presumably due to all the sacrifices the Romans made to the Nymph of the spring in the day. Possibly she also approves of kindness to frogs.
And there are three styles of hypocausts, a Roman latrine, an active archaeological excavation — everything your heart could desire. I have written a time travel trilogy, and among other things the characters insisted on going to a Roman villa. This is going to be so great!