No points for figuring which is which.
Our very own Paul Marks spent a few days with us at RAB&Ness Towers last week, and boy did we luck out with the weather, clear and fine every day. Had he come this week, when he planned to, we would have found some of the villages we travelled through, like Chew Magna, underwater. That is Glastonbury Tor we are standing in front of there by the way. No those are not smiles on our faces, the wind up there was so ferocious it contorted our faces into un-natural positions.
That’s Wells from the top of the Tor. The smallest city in England. 8 miles away. My Lumix 150 zoom isn’t bad is it? We went there next.
But before that we had parked the car in the car-park of the Rifleman’s Arms, a mere 500 yards from the beginning of the path that takes you up Glastonbury Tor. The Rifleman’s is obviously a local local, favoured by folk who like tattoos, piercings and purple hair, but are everlovingly friendly for all that. I ordered some Watkins Scrumpy that I’d seen on the Tariff list, and seemed to win instant respect. Turns out it is a scrumpy produced by a local farm, and er, is the business so to speak. It certainly powered me and Paul up the Tor in sprightly fashion! So here’s the tip. If you are planning to ascend the Tor, bung your car in the Rifleman’s car park at the back, have a pint of Scrumpy and you’re sorted.
We went up the Tor in a sedate fashion as befits our age and stature, the bonkers dog went up and down it about 8 times, only pausing to roll in cowpats (windows open on the journey to Wells).
We drove via Glastonbury’s main street, just to confirm to Paul that it is indeed the Hippie capital of the UK; wall to wall mystic crystals and candle shops, full of folk watching life on a different channel to the rest of us, but no harm to anyone except perhaps themselves.
With Paul preparing to Flash some Choristers …
Paul took to Wells, it’s his kind of place (beats the hell out of Kettering that’s for sure so he says!). It’s prosperous (they have yet to hear the terrible news there alas) full of free spending tourists, high quality shops, yet small and intimate. What’s not to like?
And that is the Bishop’s Palace. Bishop’s, especially those of Bath and Wells, tended to do nicely for themselves. The scoff, drink and accommodation was always first class. So beneficent are they that the Swans that live in the moat have a bell attached to a rope on the outside wall that they have been trained to pull when they want feeding. The original Welfare State.
The scoff, drink and accommodation isn’t too bad round RAB&Ness Towers either mind. Paul reluctantly ploughed his way through the Rosy Pork Casserole (with Butterbeans and carrots) on the Monday, the Tuna Pasta bake on the Tuesday and the chicken curry with trimmings (papadoms , Nan, chapattis onion Baghees etc) on the Wednesday, with accompanying wines wot we had hauled back from France in June,… like an Irish Navvy digging a canal!
We had to do Bath on the bus on Wednesday, my wife having a hospital appointment in the afternoon and needing the car.
What can I tell you all about Bath you don’t already know? Probably Britain’s most handsome city; you feel like a civilised grown up just walking round it. It was England’s Las Vegas of the 18th Century. Ostensibly they all came for the waters and the Spa, but more likely for a leg over and to chance their luck at the Gambling tables, or to find a rich wife/husband.
So Paul and I did the usual things… The Abbey and the Royal Crescent, The Circus and the Pump rooms etc etc. The place was heaving with tourists like ourselves (mainly Japanese), there are Blue Plaques on every other building because everyone and his
wicked uncle has lived here at sometime or another. And we had another fine day out.
Pulteney Bridge, modelled on the Ponte Vecchio in Florence. Having walked over both I think Pulteney far the better.
The Royal Crescent.
So a very jolly time was had by all. Having Paul Marks to stay is an extraordinary experience. I will miss the continuous stream of consciousness info emanating from him, and of course the maniacal cackling laughter. Yes I’m sure I will. That lie down in a darkened room for two days has me almost back to normal now.