Somerset – more than just Cider pt 3

Right, I’ve had enough of this – and I bet you have too. No, not the blog, although that my be well be the case – but winter. When will it end? The rain has departed – more or less, but the temperature has plunged and having visited the facilities this morning for the morning ablutions it was more like going on an arctic expedition. There’s no snow here, thankfully but the wind is icy. It’s been a long winter hasn’t it?

Anyway, enough of the moaning, for the time being. It could be worse, Pasty, bless her is nice and snug and I have been able to do more research on my er, hobby. I may have inadvertently offended one or two people in Glastonbury too yesterday – more on that later!

We did nothing more on Thursday afternoon after finishing the previous blog. The rain persisted and vague notions of a museum or cinema visit were swept aside instead we spent the rest of the day in the comfort of ‘Her Ladyship’. We did venture out in the evening though to meet up with Vicky and her partner Carl in town. We met in the lovely old George & Pilgrim Hotel and had a good chat and catch up. A draught version of one of the Glastonbury Ales we had been enjoyingfrom the bottle  was on offer, although sadly it didn’t taste as good as expected. The Otter Bitter, from Devon, was much nicer. I resisted the lure of a pint of Scrumpy. My digestive system takes a fair bit of punishment, particularly when away, but I must have had a rare pang of sympathy for it.

The rain continued through the night and in to Friday but, ever optimistic we decided to head out anyway, west and to the coast, to the seaside resort of Weston-super-Mare. The rain predictably increased in intensity banishing any thoughts actually getting out of the car so we traversed the sea front, going up and past the old pier and around to Kewstoke, from which Sand Point, where the Bristol Channel starts, could be seen. Just. I took a couple of snaps  but all they show clearly is the dreadful weather. A pity, because on a nice day I bet the beach would be stunning.

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Back in Weston, we paused for pictures of the old derelict pier and the newer one close to the centre, restored after a fire five years ago. Weston looked quite a smart place, hotels and shops looked in good nick and well kept although there were a few boarded up properties further back – not an uncommon sight in our seaside resorts, sadly. We would have loved to stop and have a good look around but it would have been no fun given the rain, so we turned tail and left.

There was a glance down memory lane a bit further down the coast as we passed the Pontins Holiday Camp at Brean Sands. I had a couple of holidays here with my Mum & Dad – many years ago now of course, but it didn’t look as if it changed much at all. Further still was Burnham-on-Sea. your typical bog standard seaside resort but we did stop at a local butchers for pies and burgers – yes, the diet is still going strong.

We had left the heating on low but it took a while for Patsy to return to habitable temperature. We stayed put for the rest of the day, a brief excursion to the site shop for some more stock for our er, hobby. The wind had increased considerably and the lightweight awning was taking a bit of a battering.

Saturday, and dry at last, although the mercury had dipped so far it might have gone in to hibernation – and who could blame it. Back in to Glastonbury for a closer nose around some of the great shops. It’s a different world from the average high street – a very chilled and laid back feel and not a whiff of marijuana anywhere – not that I could detect anyway. Plenty of incense stick burning though, and a few less than approving glances in my direction. At the time I thought little of it.

We headed south, through Street  and down to Yeovil. It took a little while to locate the centre, surrounded as it was by retail and industrial parks on the periphery including one of the towns major employers; Agusta Westland Helicopters. We picked up a few bits and bobs at one of the shops and had a very short stroll along the main shopping street. Now it was cold, dull and windy and we weren’t here for long but it was certainly not the most attractive town we’ve been in. The usual chain stores can be found rubbing shoulders with cheque cashing outlets, pawn brokers and bookies. Maybe a sign of the times.

A bit further on and just across the border into Dorset is Sherborne.  Known at least for it’s famous school of the same name, there are in fact five fee paying schools in the area and it’s wealth is obvious in stark contrast to Yeovil. It was actually on our list to do when we stayed in Wareham Forest last December – which you can read about here if you missed, or managed to avoid. Lovely narrow winding lanes and ancient stone cottages set the scene for the lovely Sherborne Abbey which provided a welcome relief from the biting winds. It wasn’t until we left however that I spotted the sign about no photography. Oh well!

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We returned to Glastonbury chilled to the bone, hungry and in need of a pint. First up was ‘The Who’d a Thought It’ and a lovely Best Bitter from Palmers. Sadly the kitchen wasn’t yet open so we had to move on. Next up was the Beckett Inn and an IPA – Henry, from Wadworth’s. Food options were limited here so we went across the road to the 100 Monkeys Cafe for a burger and a coffee.

Now, I mentioned early about the disapproving glances. Well there was more of them. I’m used to the odd curious glance when out and about, particularly with the long coat gothic//Van Helsing thing going on. In a world full of skinny chinos and trainers, it’s a look that certainly stands out. However it suddenly occurred to me,  when tucking in to aforementioned burger that in an area full of veggie and vegan cafes, and a general love of all animals and plants vibe, that marching around dressed top to toe in dead cow perhaps wasn’t very subtle. Even my bag was leather.  Maybe Whitby would be a good future destination for Patsy and at least one of her occupants.

The young man on the counter wasn’t perturbed though and we stood chatting as I paid the bill, He was curious about Brighton (?) and said he likes nothing more than a good smoke and a ride on his skateboard. I guessed he wasn’t talking about Marlboro or B & H.

We had one more pint then headed back to Patsy for a night in front of the telly.

So, that’s Somerset almost done for us although far from complete. We leave tomorrow and return east, to Littlehampton for a week on the Caravan Club site there and our first ‘meet’ with the Freedom Club – a group for gay caravanners. It’s been good fun – the weather notwithstanding of course, and I’ll say it again – The Old Oaks is the best site we have ever been on, by far. My water and waste duties will resume tomorrow as we’re too mean to pay for a serviced pitch!

There was an anniversary of sorts on Friday – it was a year ago that we picked Patsy up from the dealers and I had my first experience of towing. We hadn’t planned to celebrate but the occasion was marked by one of the gas cylinders running out. Having done a quick calculation, two cylinders have given us 152 days of actual caravanning and I reckon that’s good going, considering we’ve cooked most nights and used gas for heating too on occasion. All for less than 30p a day.

Don’t forget, you can drop me an email at aloadofnonsense@gmail.com  – it would be great to hear from you. If you are on the email list pop over to www.alodofnonsense.net to have a look at the web version. All my blogs are on there along with other travel related stuff too.

Finally, thanks to Tara and her wonderful team for making us feel so welcome. They all do a grand job here of running a great site. Sorry gang, but you going to have to put up with us again at some point!

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