Our Odyssey update – highlights of Week 1


The Odyssey continues – highlights from Week 1

Travelling for 3 months, travel blog

What do strawberries, gin, croquet and history have in common? Read on…..

So we’ve been here in the south west of the UK for well over a week now and we’ve been very busy!  So busy in fact we haven’t had a lot of spare time 🙂

I’ve decided I’ll try to update Our Odyssey series once a week, mainly so that I don’t lose track of what we’ve been doing. The hardest part of that is that it’s been hard to find the time! I’ll aim to post an update on a Thursday or Friday but don’t hold me to that schedule 🙂

What have we been doing?

Walking

We’ve done lots of walking since arriving just over a week ago! We have walked all over Cheddar and it’s been really good for us to get outside and exercise – it has also helped fight the dreaded jet lag as I mentioned in my first post – The Odyssey begins…

We’ve cycled, we’ve taken Ozzy, the 6 month old chunky black lab puppy, for walks and we’ve enjoyed being here with our daughter and her fiance Craig.

We’ve had fun over lots of cups of tea, we’ve been sightseeing, we’ve relaxed and we’ve caught up with old friends, all the while enjoying the sunny warm-ish days of Spring. I must say the longer days and hours of sunlight have been amazing and much appreciated. As I write now it’s after 9pm and still light!

I’m absolutely loving the many shades of green, I’m sure everyone thinks I’m doctoring my photos but I’m not, it really is this green here!

Friends

When we lived in Cheddar for a year (26 years ago), my first friends were Liz from next door and Shelley from around the corner.  It helped that they both had daughters, who made friends with our daughters, and their husbands also got on well with the Mathematician. Shelley and her family have visited us in Tumbarumba and Liz is used to getting a knock on the door whenever I’m in the area.  I never let her know I’m arriving, but she’s never phased by my arrival!

Shelley and I have stayed in touch and we’ve always made an effort to catch up when we’re in the village. Her eldest daughter came to stay with us for 3 months after finishing school and our eldest daughter lived with Shelley for some time when she moved over here.  We always manage to pick up where we left off and enjoy each other’s company.  When she knew we were visiting, Shelley set a date and arranged a get together of some of our ‘old’ friends.  It was a lovely evening catching up with the news and deciding that none of us had aged a bit over the past 26 years!!  Here’s a lovely photo of me with Liz and Shelley to prove it 🙂

Friends from way back

Friends from way back

We have plans for more catch-ups in the coming weeks and we had a doggy walking date too, which was fun!

Croquet anyone?

On a recent day trip to Wells (a lovely city famous for its Cathedral and for being the location for the movie Hot Fuzz), we visited both the Cathedral and the Bishop’s Palace.  Both are amazing structures with oodles of history and no matter how many times we’ve seen them before we always enjoy just wandering around, soaking up the atmosphere. We haven’t visited the gardens in the palace before but as it was spring, we decided to pay the pounds to have a look inside.  They were magnificent – green, luscious, colourful, peaceful and just delightful.

One of the best things we saw as we entered the grounds was a game of croquet in action.  It was such a quintessentially English scene that I nearly had to pinch myself.  The Palace Croquet Club were bedecked in their whites and were oblivious to the crowds wandering around taking an interest in their game

Australian Mother’s Day

It was Mother’s Day in Australia on Sunday 13 May. I celebrated with messages and cards from my daughters at home and then we went out to a National Trust property called Dyrham Park, about an hour’s drive away towards Bath.  It was a beautiful Spring day and the house and park-lands were magnificent.  Add in a cream tea and my day was perfect! Here’s just a few snaps from our day out.  We finished the day by celebrating with a delicious dinner out at the Swan in Wedmore.

Riding the Strawberry Line

Luckily Melanie and Craig have bikes so we’ve managed to get out and explore the area a bit more, although the roads are so narrow it’s quite scary riding. I must say the drivers are very patient and accepting of bike riders but all the same it was good to get onto a dedicated trail for walkers and riders.  Cheddar is known for its strawberries and many years ago they had a railway line called The Strawberry Line which transported strawberries from Cheddar to London.  Here’s a snippet of the line’s heritage from their site.

The Cheddar Valley Line, which ran from Yatton railway station through to Cheddar and Wells, became known as the “Strawberry Line” because of the volume of locally grown strawberries that it carried to London markets. Strawberries were collected from a string of Cheddar Valley village settlements sheltered under the southern slopes of the Mendip Hills between Cheddar and Wells for transporting to Yatton Junction. The line was also a vital economic link for passengers, quarrying, agriculture and general goods.

It was a beautiful sunny day as we set off from Cheddar through to Axbridge and onward. The path is currently being upgraded but we managed to follow the signs and cycled through open farmlands, wooded areas, orchards with a good variety of scenery along the way.  It was absolutely beautiful riding, in some areas it was a bit steep which meant I had to get off the bike and walk up the track but I didn’t mind.

At Yatton railway station they had a little cafe, aptly called The Strawberry Line Cafe, where they had disabled youth working and learning new skills.  We enjoyed lunch in a sunny spot and got talking with some other cyclists, as you do! It was a ride of over 32 kms all up and on the return trip we stopped at the Oak House in Axbridge for a cool drink in the warm sunshine.

I decided to taste one of the locally produced Gins  and found the Blood Orange Gin and Tonic a real hit!  It was served with Double Dutch Cranberry tonic and orange zest – wow what a refreshing drink it was – and at 40% alcoholic content I’m lucky I was able to ride the last few kms home 🙂  It was presented beautifully too which helped my enjoyment. I really could have sat there all afternoon and I’m thinking a return trip will have to be made before we move on from here!

As we’re into Rail Trails, this ride made it clear to us yet again, that keeping history alive is very important, as otherwise the disused lines would be overgrown and left to rot. There were many riders, and walkers of all ages on the trail which was great to see!

That evening we went to Chew Valley Lake for fish and chips and watched the sunset over the water – we’re being so spoilt!  The interesting thing is that Chew and Wookey were names used in the Star Wars movies – there was a real connection there somehow! I wrote a post earlier this week on the A-Z of names of Somerset and Wookey Hole was very popular.  I should have added Chew Magna for my entry for the letter C!  These names are all amazing 🙂

What’s an ‘Odyssey’?

Odyssey – a long wandering and eventful journey. An exciting adventure.

I’ve decided that this three month trip will be known as our Odyssey, as it will be a long wandering and eventful journey. My first post in this series, in case you missed it, is here: The Odyssey begins – departure, arrival and home

What’s coming up?

This weekend Melanie and I have the Annual Bloggers Bash in London to attend and we’re very excited to meet many of our blogging friends in real life. We’ve also got plans to visit some more National Trust sites and other favourite places in the coming weeks before we head to Iceland.

So that’s a quick run down on our activities this week, I hope you’ve enjoyed travelling with us and will join us again! Any questions or comments can be left below, I always love hearing from you 🙂

Deb xx

You can also find Deb’s World here – let’s stay in touch!

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  One thought on “Our Odyssey update – highlights of Week 1

  1. May 18, 2018 at 7:24 am

    You’ve already had a really eventful week Deb!
    And two sleeps til we all meet! Eeek!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 18, 2018 at 7:26 am

      I’m on my way to London tomorrow Ritu, so excited but I still have to pack a bag. See you soon 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Jo
    May 18, 2018 at 7:54 am

    Sounds like a great week – with some great paths. I love the idea of the Strawberry Line.

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 18, 2018 at 5:33 pm

      Thanks Jo, it’s a very popular path with such history attached.

      Like

  3. May 18, 2018 at 8:04 am

    Lovely to read about you enjoying things and places that are so close to my heart and my youth. It’s always great to read about places that are local and so personal yet also appear interesting to a visitor. Chew Valley Lake is just over the other side of Dundry Hill from where I grew up and we often drove to the Lake on a Sunday with the family for an ice cream and later with my then boyfriend (now hubby for 31 years) when we first had our own cars aged 18!! Fab to hear that you are also off to Iceland. We love it there too so look forward to reading about it. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 18, 2018 at 5:32 pm

      I’m so glad you are enjoying my updates about your area. It’s a lovely part of the world and without deadlines we can just mosey around at our own pace. We’ve hired a car for this week and will venture further afield. The lake was just delightful and it’s great to hear your memories of it. 😊

      Like

      • May 18, 2018 at 5:38 pm

        Looks like you’re going to have great weather in London too. You keep throwing me by calling it ‘spring’ tho. When we have great May weather we call it summer because that might be all that we get😂 !!! Have fun, Ann x

        Liked by 1 person

        • May 18, 2018 at 5:40 pm

          Oh, ok I’ll take note of that Ann!! It’s a lovely early summer we’re having 🌞

          Liked by 2 people

  4. May 18, 2018 at 8:45 am

    It all sounds so wonderful Deb. Catching up with old friends, long warm days, lush gardens, strawberries and gin and a bloggers bash to look forward to. An Odyssey indeed and so much more still to come. Enjoy it all my friend. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. May 18, 2018 at 11:15 am

    Looks like a fabulous first week! So much green and flowers everywhere. Enjoy the Bloggers Bash. Always so fun to meet those we have come to know through blogging.

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 18, 2018 at 5:28 pm

      Thanks Sue, it is a beautiful place and fun being out of our usual ‘routine’. I’ll let you know how the bash goes.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. May 18, 2018 at 11:26 am

    Your week looks fabulous – lovely vistas and meet-ups with good friends. And now you are off to the Bloggers Bash! I’m excited to hear all about that (get-togethers with other bloggers are so much fun).

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 18, 2018 at 5:27 pm

      Thanks for reading and commenting!! I’m having a great time and am excited for the Bash, it’s always fun to meet bloggers IRL. I’ll write a special post about it never fear!!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. May 18, 2018 at 11:43 am

    Ozzy is adorable! I grew up with a black lab and he was the best dog I’ve ever had. It sounds like you’ve had a great first week!

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 18, 2018 at 5:26 pm

      Yes Ozzy is adorable and quite big for a 6 month old puppy – very boisterous but happy. It’s been a fab week 😊

      Like

  8. May 18, 2018 at 12:57 pm

    Loved your first real update Deb – you’ve certainly been out and about and even in the “woods” – such an English term and so different to our bushland and forest. Lovely that you’re getting to spend so much quality time with your daughter and catching up with old friends. I’m looking forward to hearing how the Bloggers Bash goes – I’m sure you’re both going to love it and seeing other bloggers IRL would be great.

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 18, 2018 at 5:25 pm

      I’m glad you enjoyed it Leanne! I was chastised for calling it the bush/forest as it’s the ‘woods’ 😊 it’s been a really relaxing start to our trip with no pressure to do anything or be anywhere. So we’ve just done what takes our fancy!! I’m off to London today for the bash tomorrow and I’m starting to get nervous/excited about it all if I’m honest.

      Like

  9. Retirement Reflections
    May 18, 2018 at 2:56 pm

    Hi, Deb – Your week sounds (and looks) wonderful! Thank you for taking the time to keep us posted.
    Good luck at the Blogger’s Bash. I will following virtually on social media and hope to catch glimpses of you and Melanie!
    xx Donna

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 18, 2018 at 5:20 pm

      Thanks Donna, it’s my pleasure to keep you updated, thank you for reading!! I’ll make sure I get my mug in the shot somewhere at the Bash 😊 I followed along live last year and can’t believe I’m here this year.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. May 18, 2018 at 5:29 pm

    Well as Ritu says nearly time. The preparations are done, the b7nt8ng is out for you, Deb and leave space for Ritu cake though s Hugh hug usually creates room. Oh and you will be videoed… be warned!!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Uncool Cycling Club
    May 18, 2018 at 9:40 pm

    Cycling the Strawberry Line sounds

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Uncool Cycling Club
    May 18, 2018 at 9:40 pm

    Wonderful 😎

    Liked by 1 person

  13. May 19, 2018 at 2:30 pm

    Ah! The West Country! My old stomping ground and such a beautiful part of England. Hope you manage to make Exmoor and/or the Quantock Hills. Lovely photographs and I hope you continue to enjoy your trip 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. May 19, 2018 at 5:20 pm

    Oh! I am really loving your pictures and the updates of you adventures! Keep them coming!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Shailaja
    May 19, 2018 at 5:57 pm

    I’m so happy for you! Have a great time at the bash today. The pictures are lovely and you’re right. So quintessentially English, isn’t it? So good that you met up with friends from way back. Such a lovely vacation this is turning out to be. Have fun 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 23, 2018 at 4:07 pm

      Many thanks! It’s a great holiday that’s for sure 😊 we’re very lucky.

      Like

  16. Sophie Madsen
    May 19, 2018 at 8:59 pm

    It sounds as if you’re really enjoying your days together with Mel & Craig. And I’m very impressed about all the places you’ve seen in such a short amount of time. Your photos are absolutely wonderful – it’s such a nice time of the year to travel. Everything is so green and beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 23, 2018 at 4:05 pm

      Thanks Sophie, you’re right, we’ve done so much in a short amount of time. It’s been so much fun and the weather has certainly helped get us out and about.

      Like

  17. May 19, 2018 at 9:39 pm

    Those are pretty interesting things to do. I thought that croquet was almost dead! It’s great that people still play that sport!

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 23, 2018 at 4:04 pm

      Yes isn’t it amazing that croquet is still around?? Thanks for the visit.

      Like

  18. May 19, 2018 at 11:57 pm

    It looks fantastic! What a great adventure. I’ll look forward to your odyssey!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. May 20, 2018 at 12:30 am

    This pictures are amazing-truly. Happy Mother’s day (A week late, but still)! It’s awesome that the friends you made all those years ago are still in your life. Friends and family make all the difference.
    And also, that chunky puppy!!! So cute.

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 23, 2018 at 4:03 pm

      Thanks Angela, life is certainly good at the moment and I’m very fortunate!

      Like

  20. May 20, 2018 at 1:05 am

    I’m so glad to see you’re enjoying your odyssey. I’m thinking about going on one myself and taking my family with me. There are so many places to go, though. It’s hard to choose!

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 23, 2018 at 4:02 pm

      You definitely should plan an odyssey Lisa, it’s a fantastic way to see the world if you can manage it. 😊

      Like

  21. May 20, 2018 at 11:02 am

    Nice post. Love the pictures of Ozzy. Nice to read the strawberry “history” too.

    Liked by 1 person

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