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Published: December 8th 2009
Neverending, these weekends away. As fun as they are exhausting!
This one was planned back in early October, and seemed miles away when we gave it the green light. Still, time never standing still and all that malarkey, it inevitably arrived. The plan: family, steam trains, countryside, candlelight.
So, a wet Saturday morning saw us tootling down the M5 (very nostalgic, used to be an almost weekly occurrence for me way back when), destination Somerset. We were booked into a B&B that Mog and Louisa are becoming regulars at, but were early, so went for lunch at the local pub. The Farmer's Arms- classic, old-school, thatched country pub with brilliant food. Not a complaint in sight! We were still too early to poll up at the B&B, so trundled along the coast to Watchet, where Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote the Rime of the Ancient Mariner. Slightly drab (it was still raining) village but picturesque little harbour. 'Nuff said. Then it was time to check in...
The B&B is outside a large village called Bishop's Lydeard, and is part of a working farm. The owners, James and Katie, are chilled out and friendly, and as B&B's go, it's about
as good as it gets. Highly recommended, and cheaper than it should be: www.poundfarm.co.uk
We were in Somerset for a steam train-candlelit mediaeval village affair. To summarise, you take a train from Bishop's Lydeard to Dunster and walk up the hill to the ancient village where they have a candlelit Christmas Festival. Now Mog's partial to a bit of train, so it was all his idea, and a good one it was. Definite feelings of a bygone age, and amazingly, the train line is mostly staffed by volunteers/trainspotters/historians. It's good fun, and not something that it would ever cross my mind to do. From Dunster station, it's a mini-hike up the hill into the village, where all the shops are open, there are snacks and music and stuff, and the place is heaving. Lesley (Charlie's lady love) was driving down and was undirected by the lack of obvious bus stops, but made it nonetheless. The village is in great nick, with everything either ancient or nearly. There's an 18th Century castle, stables, church, a mill- a real, old-fashioned market town. You can imagine it looking the same hundreds of years ago.
We got the train back again, and
Painted with radioactive snot.
managed to snag a private carriage- a la Hogwart's Express. Great fun, and once we got home, Louisa and Charlie broke out enough wine, bread, cheeses, pates and assortments to feed ten people. needless to say, we demolished the lot and were sort of in the mood for more. Still, we regretted it less in the morning. And so to bed.
The second B in B&B came next, and it was a true British fry-up. Magic. After that, it was back to Dunster (the weather had cleared up nicely) for a poke about and some photo-shooting. Mog, Charlie and I are all into our photography, and looked like the press corps. A little light shopping, and then we were done...Charlie and Lesley headed home (via the Farmer's Arms, as it transpired), we took the scenic route (although Mitsu and I slept for half of it) through Brizzle to the 'Nam. Time for a quick cup of tea and the bus back to our city of dreaming spires.
Another classic weekend. Family, food, fun, frolics. Diamond.
P.S. The trouble and strife is getting quite handy with the old camera, and some of these are hers.
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