Thursday 12 November
Time for another adventure, we set off down south, leaving home at 8.50 with an view that we would arrive at Wells Holiday Park between 1.30 and 2.00. That half full glass optimism began to turn to a half empty glass pessimism when, nearing Birmingham, we saw the motorway signs showing that the M5 was presently closed at junction 12. Well, we’ll be alright we’ve got a couple of hours until we get there !
We stopped off at Cheltenham around 11.15 as I wanted to pay a visit to a cracking specialist beer shop I knew and as luck would have it managed to get another 9 beers off my now infamous Beer list. I also bought a bottle of my all time favourite Black Albert a cracking dark beer from Belgium. ( jealous Pete ? ! )
Rejoining the M5 we travelled a further half an hour before we hit the queue and thought that we would be ok in not turning off at junction 11a and continued on for a mile. Wrong !! Unfortunately the M5 now magically ( or is it Tragically ! ) transformed into the worlds biggest stationery car park. We remained here for a further 90 minutes before we managed to pass where the incident was supposed to have occurred although there was no evidence of anything untoward at all. Luckily being in “Cis” we grabbed a magazine apiece and sat there reading and ate our lunch. Serves us right !
After the delay we finally arrived at Wells around 3.30 where we quickly set up “Cis” and caught the bus into the city for a quick look around with a few photo stops whilst it was still light because it gets pretty dark before 5.00 as we are now well and truly into Autumn and on the downward slope to Christmas.
After looking around for a while, we found a decent pub called the Rose & Crown where we relaxed with a nice pint and let the day’s events recede into faded memories. With the barman’s recommendation, we then resettled ourselves in another pub called the Globe. This pub had a large TV on the wall which I don’t normally like but we managed to get the 18 year old barmaid to change the channel from modern dance crap music to something more our style. Jane was most put out when she put on the Vintage channel which played music from 1988 and 1994. She thought that era should not be referred to as Vintage. It was however nice to listen to something we knew and could sing along to.
The food in the Globe was excellent. I had a massive plate of faggots, mash, peas and gravy and Jane had another huge offering of Palma ham stuffed with Mozerella cheese on a bed of Linguine. After that lot there was no way we were going to fit a pudding in.
Shortly after and with much mutterings from Jane we walked the mile and a half back to the campsite to help walk off the dinner and settle the old Tum. On returning to “Cis” we settled down to a read and chill before lights out. On retiring to bed we were then treated to the serenade of raindrops on the roof which fortunately had waited until we were safely ensconced in our cosy pit and saved us a soaking for which I would have really had some grief !
Friday 13 November
Today we caught the bus into Bristol which took about 70 minutes arriving around 11.00.
The weather today is pretty pants and we spend most of it wandering around and trying to avoid the varying degrees of showers by nipping into somewhere dry but not necessarily warm because several of the venues are flipping freezing.
We start by having a warm drink in a cafe before sauntering through the main shopping area which to me is pretty much the same as any other shopping area. The only advantage is that the shopping centres are indoors out of the rain.
A little later we venture into an underground bar called the Beer Emporium which has a attached Beer shop. Now that’s what I call shopping and after a nice pint of stout I leave a happy bunny with 4 more beers off my list.
As we left that place the heavens opened once more forcing us into a another place called Small Bar ( Shame ! ) which highlighted micro breweries from around the country and we tasted a few including a new one which was 12%. As it was lunchtime and we still wanted to be able to wander around afterwards, I put my sensible head on and had one that was only 5.2% instead. Jane opted for a local lagerish type.
We set off from there down to the waterfront where it really began to rain now and was aided and abetted by the tail end of Storm Abigail so we ducked into Wetherspoons where we warmed up with a Hot Chocolate for me and a Latte for Jane. (see its not all alcohol ! )
Wandering a little further on we passed through the restaurant area of the city and found a little bar which specialised in Belgium Beer and once more managed to get a little 10% offering of a beer called Dulle Teve which is Flemish for Mad Bitch ! which was on my list. Jane opted for a red wine instead.
After exercising our thirst muscles it was now time to give our chewing muscles a workout and we plumped for Turtle Bay where we had a cracking Caribbean Curry, Janes being Chicken and mine Pork. Both scrummy and finished off with Jamaican Rum Cake and Barbequed Pinapple in Rum Caramel sauce. Excellent !
After pigging out and weebling back to the bus station through a small evening market once more dodging the raindrops as best we could, we caught the bus back to Wells and on arrival it hammered it down so we taxied back to the campsite from the bus station and sloshed through the rain up the drive back to “Cis” in time for a thorough drying off before Zeberdee cried “Time for Bed !”
Saturday 14 November
Our little venture yesterday into Bristol was severely hampered by the rain and we never got to see much of the sights so we elect to revisit at a dryer and warmer time of the year for a more thorough exploration.
Well today unfortunately was a repeat if not worse than yesterday being another wet washout day, this time accompanied by more wind. We ventured first back into Wells catching the bus into town and had a Belly Buster breakfast in Wetherspoons before wandering through the Saturday market and Christmas craft fair ( don’t put it on your essential to do list ! )
We strolled around the Bishops Palace which has a full moat around it and boasts one of the original 3 wells from which the city of Wells gets its name. The water for the Wells comes from the Mendip Hills and is forced up by the local geology.The reason this is a city is that it has a Cathedral which we had a wander around for a while and which gave us a small respite from the torrents outside. Unlike Ely and St Pauls and York, This cathedral is actually free to get into although they do recommend a donation.Whilst it has the name of a city it is no more than a medium town being slightly larger than our home town of Bingham ( although the only reason that’s not a village is that it has a weekly market in the town square.)
We decided to venture a little further afield and caught a bus the half hour journey to Shepton Mallet ( don’t waste the couple of hours of your precious life, you’ll never get it back ! ) where we were treated with a further deluge and had to take shelter in two of the pubs in the town ( they were pretty garbage too but there ain’t a lot else here that we could see ) before throwing in the extremely soggy towel and enlisted the assistance of a local bandit who charged us a ridiculous sum of £20 ( must be about £5 a mile ) to return us to the dry and warmth of our blessed “Cis”
Having wrapped ourselves in the inner toasty bosom of “Cis” we spent the rest of the afternoon and evening again drying out and fighting off Chilblains whilst our bodies thawed and dried out reading and chilling ( or should I say warming ! ). We sent out for a local Chippy delivery for an extremely average pizza accompanied by some tasteless cheesy chips which we won’t bother with next time but at least we didn’t have to brave the elements once more. We said a silent prayer to the local Gods that tomorrow would have a little respite from the damp as we plan to have a gander at the iconic and supposedly mystical Glastonbury ( no music festival on at the moment ).
Sunday 15 November
Wayhay ! It’s not raining. It’s not sunny and it’s very blustery but at least we might keep dry today.
Today we have planned to have a bit of a drive around seeing some of the North Somerset villages and so set off firstly to Wookey Hole but on arrival I was met by an unfriendly ” unsuitable for HGV’s” sign which resulted in a shunt and turnaround and return drive back into Wells. From there we drove through the stunning Cheddar Gorge, Which for the benefit of my overseas friends is not an eat as much cheese as you can competition but a very pretty geological fault. We were amazed to see a horde of 3 wheeler trikes called Drift Trikes ( not motorised like my old one ) racing down the Gorge from the top. Looked a bit dangerous to me as normal traffic was still driving through. Didn’t see any Cheese shops either !
Continuing on we went through the little village of Axbridge which looked quite pretty but was a little tight for “Cis” although we managed it ok. From there we drove along to Burnham on Sea for a quick drive along the prom where we tipped our hats to the ocean which looked to be low tide as it was quite a way out.
Moving swiftly on I was gutted to see I couldn’t get up the tiny road towards a place named Beer ( just have to drink some later on ! ) and we drove through Somerton which again looked ok and then through Street which looked absolutely mobbed as there was a large retail outlet here. Fortunately there wasn’t a cats chance in hell of parking so we continued on until Glastonbury.
We parked up in the local Morrisons supermarket and after coffee & cake, as it was still dry I chose to walk up the steep hill to Glastonbury Tor whilst Jane ventured down the High street to have a gander in the shops. I think I got the better of the deal as virtually every shop was a Crystal this or a Magic that, New Age everything your Tantric Karma can imagine !
It was a steep climb to the top of the Tor ( ancient name for a hill ) and at the very top is the remains of the second Saint Michaels church, ( nothin to do with Marks and Sparks ! ), the first being destroyed by an Earthquake in the 13th century. The Tor is supposed to be where ancient Ley lines cross and which attracts new and ageing Hippy types from all over the world. I didn’t feel any mystic forces up there except for the howling wind doing its best to expel the intruders from its flanks.
The view from the top was fantastic looking out across the Somerset levels which most would know have been mostly under water in the last few years when the local rivers have flooded the area on a number of occasions.
On returning to a less elevated Terra Firma, I also wandered back along the High street looking in the windows of some of the strange sights on offer and of course the even weirder customers who were up and down the town. Peace & Love Man !
Bidding farewell to all things Mystical we continued our journey into the Mendip Hills until we arrived at our evening stop in a large car park of the Blue Bowl pub in West Harptree where we had been given permission to stay for the evening after our dinner. Our dinner was lovely, only marred by a local dickhead who we were sat near, bragging about his previous service as a retained ( part time) fireman and the road accidents he had attended. This from a man and his wife who were extremely sloshed and most probably drove home. Hypocrites!
Monday 16 November
It’s still very windy today and after breakfast we headed back home. We have enjoyed our little adventure in Wells and surroundings and will come back when it’s likely to be better weather. The campsite was very nice with flat pitches and an excellent ablutions block. It was easy to walk or bus into the city and near enough to explore interesting things nearby. It cost us £22 per night including electricity. As Arnie says ” we’ll be back” but not for a while as I am putting “Cis” to bed until at least January as Jane is always extremely busy beautifying her clients in time for Santa’s nocturnal visits. ( I don’t need it ! )
Catch up with us then TTFN Pat & Jane xx