The Odyssey continues – highlights from Week 1
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?
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!
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 🙂
We have plans for more catch-ups in the coming weeks and we had a doggy walking date too, which was fun!
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 🙂
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