This is the first year in quite a few that I’ve been on holiday in this country – excepting Spring Harvest, which is more like a week away at an OU residential than a holiday! The last time was the best part of 5 years ago, when we spent a great week at October half term in Pittenweem. On that occasion, I interrupted my break to fly down to London for a business meeting, something I’ve been determined to avoid this time around. (Blackberrys don’t seem to work in Somerset )
It was an unusual break (for us) as we spent it with the extended family – the excuse being my in-laws golden wedding anniversary. With the weather having been pretty indifferent, we sampled a number of the visitor attractions around the county instead of sitting on the beach. In fact, we didn’t sit on a beach once, not wishing to die of exposure. All in all, we had a good time.
The three cottages we rented. These were at Webbington Farm and were lovely, made even better by the warm welcome received from the owners and the homemade lemon drizzle cake, free range eggs and cider (see below) they provided.
Somerset cider – specifically, Thatcher’s single variety Katy (7.4% alcohol by volume) *hic*
Dunster Castle and the National Trust. I’d stupidly left my wallet and NT membership card at the cottage on the day we visited, so was expecting and would have been happy to pay for my admission. However, the lady on the till looked at me, said I had an “honest face” and let me in without paying again! It was a good NT property to visit too, thoughtfully curated and interpreted. They allow you to play snooker on the billiard table (badly, in my case) and play their piano too.
Glastonbury. We went twice – once to go up the Tor and the second time to look around the Abbey. We found two good places to eat – one being the Abbey Tea Rooms and another I sadly can’t remember the name of. (Jessica has just reminded me it was called the Orangerie).
The Lao Thai restaurant in Cheddar, from which we had two very enjoyable takeaways.
Tiffany’s Edwardian Tea Room at the end of the Grand Pier in Weston Super Mare. After fighting through what must be one of the tackiest amusement arcades in the country, this place was truly amazing. Fabulous lunchtime meals and sandwiches, with the best thick cut chips I’ve tasted anywhere. Ever. The view would have been great as well, had it not been raining!
Spending some time relaxing and unwinding away from work. The swimming pool at the nearby Webbington Hotel (the place you see stuck on the side of the hill visible from the M5 Northbound between junctions 22 and 21) was very useful for this, as was being able to make a start reading Aldert Vrij’s book on detecting lies and deceit.
The golden wedding celebrations, of course!
Somerset cider … oh – I’ve said that already! *hic*
The weather. It’s why we stopped going on holiday in this country in the summer some years ago. The best that can be said is that it would probably have been worse two or three weeks ago.
The standard of driving demonstrated by some local drivers. Truly dreadful on many occasions – and I know you’re locals as your number plates give you away. The worst I saw was this evening, when an oncoming tractor driver nearly lost control of his vehicle because he was clasping a mobile ‘phone to his ear. I’ve also lost count this week of the number of drivers who seem to think that following me at a distance of 2-3 feet at 40-50mph is sane. I’ve not noticed such poor driving elsewhere in the country (and I drive a lot) … so what is it about Somerset?
The Fleet Air Arm Museum – more of a collection of random things than a museum, sadly. They have all of the raw ingredients to make it an excellent attraction – but it is spoilt by having so much stuff on display it feels a bit like walking around a scrap yard. If they removed half of the exhibits or had twice the space it would be a much, much better place to visit. For example, you can barely see the Concorde they have as it is hemmed into a corner by lots of other aeroplanes. It really needs a hangar of its own (and good supporting displays) to do it justice.
However, The “Carrier Experience” is the best part of the Museum and is almost worth the admission price by itself.
The best is yet to come!
Part 2 of this year’s summer holiday will be a three day visit to the Paralympic Games at the end of the month. I can’t wait to see the Olympic Park, stadium, velodrome and aquatic centre in real life …