Day trips from Bath (12th - 15th September 2008)
Sep 12, 2008
|Dear Diary .....
The excitement of the drive from York to Bath was diminished early in our journey by a traffic accident (not involving us) which resulted in a traffic jam that meant that it took us over 2 hours to move 10 miles. As a result our 4 hour journey ended up taking 6. One highlight of the trip was the number of VW Combies that we came across on the highway. There must have been a convention somewhere as we spotted at least 50 of the old style painted combies, you can see the edge of an orange and a blue combie in the photo above.
As we arrived so late into Bath so there wasn't much else to do but check into our new Georgian apartment. It was quite interesting to find in the entry foyer the contract to purchase the apartment, #16 Great Pulteney Street Bath, on 14th February 1883 at auction by Major William Nicholson for One Thousand and Sixty Pounds.
The apartment contained:
'On the ground floor – Entrance Hall, Dining Room, Library, Breakfast Room and WC. On the first floor – Two noble Drawing Rooms connected by folding doors. On the second floor – two best bedrooms, dressing room, bath, and WC. Above are three bedrooms and box room. The basement provides kitchen, butlers pantry, servants' hall and excellent cellarage. There is a small garden in the rear.'
Our ground floor apartment was a little more modest with only a large living / dining area, huge bedroom, separate kitchen and bathroom. From what we could work out the building had been divided into a number of smaller apartments and the guy we rented it off owned most of them. Pultney Street is well known for its preservation of the Georgian style. Whilst a new Georgian property in a housing estate in suburban Melbourne is disgraceful, when they are original it is fairly impressive. We were told that the street features heavily in the movie “Vanity Fair” so we will have to have a look when we get home.
As we had the rental car we turned our back on Bath for the first few days of our stay, favouring day trips. The first stop was Bristol, not far from Bath. Walked across the Clifton Suspension Bridge, walked up to Cabot Tower for what was advertised as amazing views over the city (unfortunately it was closed, even more unfortunate – the sign to say it was closed was at the top not the bottom of the hill), a quick stop off at a Georgian House with its 18th century furnishings, up the tower of St Stephens for a little bell ringing and some views, and lunch at a small cafe. Stroll back to the car along the waterfront with views across the water to the hot air balloons.
As it turns out Steven was also in the area (he told us he'd recently cut his beard to prevent jibes about being a mountain man ..... although we like to think it was for our benefit), so we changed our plans and headed to Glastonbury to catch up as it was going to be the last time our paths crossed until who knows when. Glastonbury is famous for its music festival, and King Arthur and the knights of the round table, and now hippies (modern day druids). We had an enjoyable Sunday roast before walking up the Tor.
On Steve's recommendation, on the way home we stopped at Wells to have a look at the cathedral (found we had a family tradition of refusing to pay to go to a church, so we also declined to dnate). After first stopping at the wrong church, we arrived quite late but it was amazing to find the choir practicing which was quite a moving experience in a large cathedral.
Wells actually looked like quite a nice place to visit however in the tradition of missing the big events, such as Funkwelt Open Air and The Red Hot Chilli Pipers, we were also going to miss Jack The Ripper, a bawdy and colourful musical playing in Wells.
The following day it was off to Avebury to have a look at the henge. I think it fair to say that Avebury isn't as photogenic as Stonehenge, however the history was interesting and we spent a good part of the day going through the various museums and taking a guided walk around the site.
As we were so close we thought it a shame not to take a run past Stonehenge. In Smith tradition we didn't pay and just admired from the fence. We were not the only ones ..... there were these guys, this crazy woman, this hansom looking gent, and this couple (Note: I like to think my head looks so big in these photos as I am closer to the camera .... think perspective people!). There was also a druid from Glastonbury who was proclaiming his religious rights over the site and requesting free entry ..... “English Heretics Take Up Thy Fence And Walk” ..... strangely he seemed to pull the ladies.
On both sites we were expecting at any minute to have Baldrick from “Time Team” (ABC Wednesday 6pm for those at home or back to back any weekend on BBC – don't ask how we know) jump out and do a quick three day excavation, however it was not to be. The other disappointment was that despite driving around Somerset for most of the day we did not get one siting of Kevin McCloud from Grand Designs (ABC Thursday 6pm for those at home).