28th May 2011 - 30th May 2011 - England day trips
Although I had only been back from New Zealand for a couple of weeks I decided I needed to get away for the bank holiday weekend. I had no money for anything big but as it is the second to last long weekend this year thought I should do something and I needed some country air to clear my head of all the things that had been going on recently. I wasnt particualarly interested in doing something alone and all my friends were busy or not interested.
Well as it happened I did find someone to go along with me - someone I had known for a while - name of Martin - hereafter known as MR.
Anyway I decided on Somerset as supposed to be beautiful and not too far away from London. Travelled to MR on the Saturday mid afternoon - he lives south of Gatwick so took about 1.5 hrs and then we set off in his car - he would not let me drive - he will one day. Took about 3 hours to get to Bridgewater in Somerset where I had booked a Premier Inn. It was a beautiful drive and MR coped extremely well with my 'incessant' chatter and comments about everything. Arrived about 2030 and went and had dinner at the local Brewers Fayre - these restaurants are attached to most Premier Inns and are cheap and cheerful. The staff at Premier Inn Bridgewater were friendly and helpful and the room was clean and a good size.
On Sunday the weather was not good - forecast of rain most of the day but MR and I decised to go for it and cope with the rain when it came. First for me was a Costas coffee - MR already knew about me and Costas so had already sussed out when we arrived the previous night where one was - he knows what is good for me is good for him. So with a coffee in hand we set off for Burton on Sea - MR also knows a beach for me is a sandy one not a stony one. Went to this delightful typical English town and walked for up to 2 hours on a sandy beach - the coastline of Wales could be seen thru the cloud and fog in the distance. Had to wear the rain jacket - for the wind as well as the few spits of rain that we encountered along the way. Attempted to curb my chatter - I know...it was difficult but I can do it. Anyway it was lovely and we turned back as the clouds were getting darker. Saw the donkeys and various kids having rides - told MR if he did it first then I would too - unfortunately for me (or fortunately) he was not interested in the least. After a lot of indecision went to the local supermarket and brought sandwiches, apples and water and had a picnic in the car along the seafront due to sprinkles of rain. Lunch for 2 cost 50p less than 2 Costa coffees for 2.
MR knew about my liking of castles so had found one for me - Dunster Castle near Minehead in the Exmoor National Park. Again a lovely drive - so wonderful to have a chauffeur with a car as otherwise would have been difficult to get around. the clouds parted for a while and there was a bit of sun - huge grassy meadows and paddocks and the odd glimpse of the water with cute stony villages - so picturesque. The carpark for Dunster castle was at the bottom of the small hill that the castle was situated on - the walk wasnt too arduous. National Trust property and I have a National Heritage card so about £17 for both of us. Because of the bank holiday weekend there were some special events going on so dragged MR to the musket firing - a parade of blokes dressing up in 1600's costumes with their muskets and then a sword fighting show which then all the kids in the crowd joined in with foam swords - James would have absolutely loved it. Managed to hide the few tears dribbling down my face thinking about how much he would have liked it. It was quite fun really. Then into the castle itself - in the same family for about 600 years until more recent times. It was in a beautiful setting and i would love to live in that part of Somerset - rolling hills , meadows etc down to the coastline and just stunning. the inside of the Castle wasnt too ornate like some and made for fairly interesting reading unlike some. MR trailled along behind - think I read quicker than he does. Then outside again and walked some of the paths and took lots of photos. Then a wander thru a meadow back to the car.
Onto the town of Minehead - still in Exmoor National Park. Also famous for a Butlin's Holiday Camp - did a tiki tour of the town and then persuaded MR that another beach walk was necessary. This time the shoes and socks were taken off - well mine anyway and went paddling in the sea - guess it would be the Irish Sea - bit cold but so lovely feeling sand between your toes and the feel of water lapping at your feet. Took some time to persuade MR to do the same as he thought the water would be cold - anyway he soon realised that to get me to shut up he may as well do and so he did - although did complain re the coldness of the water but I said he would warm up. The weather was threatening rain so we turned back and i managed to persuade MR that you did not put your shoes back on when you had sandy feet - that you stayed in bare feet to keep on enjoying the experience. It was early evening by this stage so we drove back to Bridgewater - about 50 mins. It is a lovely part of England and would like to go back there again and do a walk in the National Park.
Dinner at Brewers Fayre again as couldnt be bothered getting into the car to find somewhere and then watched a bit of TV.
Slept in a bit the following morning mainly because it was raining - gave up with the weather late morning and decided to head back to Sussex. Slower drive because of the trafficand took about 3.5 hours - rained most of the way. MR decided to put on the radio - I wasnt chatting too much honestly - some good presenters on including French and Saunders so had a laugh as well as me singing occassionally all the way back - yes I know me singing and he didnt throw me out of the car.
MR walked me to the station (virtually next to his house so not a lot of effort is required to do it) and then I did the journey back to London - all went smoothly and I was back by 1800. Such an unexpectedly pleasant weekend - just what I needed to soothe the soul - fresh air, water, countryside, greeness and a bit of blue sky and good company.
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