It's never easy adjusting to life when one returns from holiday. This one was planned particularly with rest and relaxation in mind. We set off around 10am on Sunday morning, the Steriophonics and Guns & Roses turned up high on the vans mp3 player, the sun shining and the sunglasses on........we were off, and cool!
Our first choice of campsite couldn't fit our tent in for the time we wanted, and so we had booked ourselves into another, with the promise of a supersize, premium pitch with electric hook up, all very special and grand. We made good time in getting to Cheddar Gorge, checked in at the site and promptly drove onto our designated pitch....hmmmm....nice pitch, shame about the neighbours! Whilst we hesitantly erected the tent, we noted the very large (in every way) Pikey/Traveller family already pitched next to us. Teeny chav music blaring, BBQ smoking, mother swearing at the kids.........not a good sign to start with. At this point, the tent was up but nothing else taken from the van and so an executive decision was made to head to our first choice of site in the hope that our tale of woe might break a few hearts. We arrived there, only several hundred yards down the road, told our tale, and were told that indeed there were several pitches to choose from now provided we went without the electric hook up. Well, we thought about it for as long as it takes one to open a bottle of beer, paid the fee, returned to the first site, took the tent down, put it up again in a wonderfully quiet little field near a river at the new site and settled in. And to add to the bonus, the site is adults only as well, so no kids kicking a football into your head while you are trying to read!
Well, one just simply has to have a little shade doesn't one!
One of the treats that we had planned for ourselves whilst in the area was a trip to the Thermae Spa at Bath. To know a bit more about Bath and it's connection with the Romans as a spa town, simply google for more information, and if you want to see a bit more of the Thermae Spa that we visited, then click on the link above.
They offer lots of treatments, but as my muscles were tight from all of the hedge trimming, I decided to go for the aromatic total body massage, while A went for the aromatic facial massage, both lasting about an hour. Oh my word!.....when the masseuse had finished with me, I didn't have a single ache or tight muscle anywhere. I left the room scented, oily, robed in white and in an unusual state of karma. I was shown to the relaxation room, where I waited for A to join me whilst I sipped herbal tea in a softly lit, tranquil room. When she arived a few minutes later, we both headed into the main spa area whereupon we luxuriated in various pools, jacuzzis, scented steam rooms and showers, only breaking this hardship with an orange juice break part way through in the restaurant. All of the pools are fed by the same naturally heated springs that fed the original roman baths. The bubbles for the various jacuzzis coming periodically from underground as well.
Of course, the campsite came with a resident cat, that decided that our tent was his residence of choice for the week. A very friendly fellow that would always announce his arrival with a meeoow, before trotting in and falling into a sleepy heap where you see him now.
Cheddar gorge itself is only I would estimate, about a mile and a half long in total. There are of course the famous Cheddar Caves, but as we both had been to these on several occasions in the past, we thought that we would give them a miss and just enjoy seeing things from the outside.
This particular day was very hot from the moment we woke up, and so a morning cup of Earl Grey in a shady cafe was called for.
This was the view from our second drink break on returning back down from the gorge.
There is nothing quite like a cup of freshly brewed coffee to kick start the energy levels again!
Being on holiday, life wasn't always so easy. On several occasions we had to work our way through various deli treats, all washed down with a cold beer. Really hard to do as you can guess.
Me enjoying a cold one while catching up with current affairs in The Times newspaper. Yes, as you can see, I did in fact buy a hat. I have never been a hat man generally. When I was younger I may have been seen wearing a baseball cap, mostly at work, to keep out the sun and stop my hair from collecting grass and bugs, but for the last ten years my head has gtone commando.
I wanted something now to keep out the sun, but after trying on various styles such as leather cowboy, Homburg and Panamas, much to the amusement of A, I decided on this straw one, which after turning down the sides, I think looks ok.......but I will leave the judgement to everyone else.
We were going to do a little sunbathing, had got the mat and towel ready, then guess who popped in to pay a visit?
Another day saw us visiting the cathedral city of Wells, but more specifically the Bishops Palace and gardens. Amongst the herbaceous plants was this stunning rose that I was not familiar with. Can anyone tell me it's name please?
Some of the herbaceous beds, enclosed with Taxus and Buxus hedging. An absolutely lovely combination of plants are here, and not usually seen in combination in such borders. Hats off to the gardener for the work that he does here and his imagination.
One of the borders flanking part of the old walls. On the other side are huge Campsis, Solanum, Fig and even a Pomegranate!
When I used to work at Compton Acres and the mansion was still there, I would be allowed to play croquet on the main front croquet lawns, but hadn't seen it played again for many years until here. These three people, two men and a lady, must have all been well into their eighties, but still played with gusto.
And so it was that with the last day spent chilling out back at the site, set off on Saturday morning to return home. A quick stop at the deli in Wells to collect a few more tasty bits for home, a brief coffee at Glastonbury........not sure about that place! And then a couple of hours spent in the market town of Shaftesbury, made more famous by the cobbled Gold Hill as featured in adverts for Hovis bread a number of years back. It was while here that we decided to have a look at the market, as there appeared to be the town fair on as well, and came across a colleague who grows and sells herbaceous plants, and lives very near to our own home, quite the coincidence!
Thank you mother-in-law, for following our watering instructions so well, all still looks great................No!........Even better! X