Whether we needed it or not, we went to Bath.
BathSpa to be more precise, why we do not know but thats how it was described everywhere except on the map. We got up early on saturday morning after a friday of cleaning the house. Didn’t want to come back to a dirty house would we mum, not to mention we had the washing to do for our trip. Funnily enough, all the shops were open in our predominately Muslim part of London so It was nice to get some shopping in, except for about 2 house around 12:30 as it was the big call to prayer at the Mosque down the road, biggest in the UK I believe though Jane may tell you otherwise.
Anyway, back to the Bath. we arrived at Bathspa which shall now be known simply as bath, at about 10:30, made our way to our first ever Bed and Breakfast, dropped our bags there and went walking for about 12 hours. Ok maybe only about 7 but it felt like a lot. We decided to break the stay of three days and two nights with a day trip to Salisbury and stonehenge which was to be done on sunday. So on Saturday we looked around town, and through the Abbey, the big gothic church in the center of town. Beside the abbey is the old roman come classical period baths eminating from the ground erruption of hot 47.5 degree spring water thathas been there forever. The romans took over in like, 20 AD and built grand bathing facilities over the hot spring and that has been modified, remodlled, lost, excavated and modified again since then to about 1939 when the last bathers bathed before it became the conservation place it is today. The queues were too long to try and enter today so we hoped we could get there early on another day to see the inside, hopefully monday???
Of all the places in the world I never though I would find myself sitting was the Jane Austen center, though only living in bath for a short time of her short life and from what I can gather hating pretty much most of it they have a museum to her, I was one of only 3 men dragged there by their women-folk of which there must have been nearly 1000, protesting loudly all the way. We sat through an presentation about the life and times of Jane Austen, how her father was a priestly man, his wife was a sillouette as was her sister and all time best friend. Womenses were single dimension back then it would seem by their portraits all compoleted in the neo flat sillohette style. She had brothers too ,who were either sailors in the navy, or slight of mind and susceptible to fits and didnt live with the family for long and therefore had no portrait. Of course neither did jane dying of some strange diseased I wont try and spell even badly here at the young age of 41. Oh what a loss. She wrote Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensebilites, Persuasion, and the abbey one, not to mention Mansfield park which had many characters and scenes from her time in Bath… Oh I shouldnt get bogged down here as I learnt so much about one of the eminant authors of her time and she published not under her own name but By a Lady. Actually it was quite good and well informative.
We also visited the Royal crescent and the assembly rooms which there should be photos of in the photos section… one day.
The abbey was fantastic and I can add it to my list of the great cathedrals Of europe I have visited, Fantastic fan vaults and some of the biggest stained glass windows in all history. Again photos will be available in the lobby after the show.
That night we went to dine at Baths vegetarian pub, of course it was very smoky so we went on a hunt for non smoky food, we trapsed town going left and right up and down until we found a place the Walrus and ther Carpenter a good restraunt of our persuasion!, of course there was a 45 minute wait so we went to the local Italian and sat through very average pasta, but it was so late and we were so tired we didnt care.
Somewhere between here and waking up We must have made it back to the hotel, just as well as we paid good money for the bed, oh the loverly bed, so supportive and lacking needle sharp coils, I wish we lived there???
We awoke to the smells of breakfast wafting up from the kitchen, made our way to breakfast and enjoyed the hospitality muchly, with Easter eggs and hotcross buns and full english breakfast if you wanted it. MMMMMM hot breakfast.
Then onto the train and we made our way to Salisbury, after a few false starts of which way do we go now and ohh the cathedral and oh we missed the bus by .2 of a second we finally found our way to stonhenge. Standing stones in a field surrounded by burial mounds or barrows. Oh I have waited near 25 years to see this, and it was worth it even though I couldnt touch them it rocked… ort did it slab, not sure, but it was heaps top! And Jane was in her element, more history, history everywhere and dead people, Im a little worried about her actually, she may be a ghoul. Again look to you local photos page for pictures of stonehenge. On our way back to salisbury we stopped at Old Sarum. An old town, settled by pre historians up on a chalk mound some 10 meters tall or more, I forgot my theodolite, and made famous by Bill the Conqueror by building a great fort/castle around 1000 years ago. Yep thats right about a thousand years ago. From here the town flourished and a large cathedral was built in the outer bailey. Of cours it contraveined some planning regulation so the whole lot was picked up and moved 2 kilometers to where Salisbury is today. This led to the decline of Sarum which is now only part footings and walls sticking out of the ground. Damn planners. For further pictures about Old sarum push your Bath photos button now… Otherwise continue reading… or log off or whatever you want to do really.
Being Easter sunday there were kids all over the place engaged in the Old Sarum Easter egg hunt and associated festivities, Jane wouldnt let me play as she said I was to big for the other kids for it to be fair, especially in the jousting and wrestling so I stole all the eggs, Not just ordinary eggs but huge fiberglass and numbered eggs.. Ok So i didnt touch them but I wanted to, I could have thrown them in the mote and none of the little kiddoes would have found them and got real chocolate eggs. Real chocolate eggs, do eggs come in chocolate and what grows from a chocolate egg, a chocolate bar?, Dont know? Dont care really.
Once we left there, we bussed our way back to Salisbury in the company of a lone Canadian public transport user, we chatted and swapped tales abpout the age of Indigenous peoples and parted company with a howdedoo and farewell at the entry to the Catherdral, another one of the list as well as the Magna Carta, it wasnt until we arrived home that the importance of that document sunk in. It is the physical representation of the events that led to our way of life, democracy for all its ills and pleasures could be said to have begun here with the signing by King John of the Document, limiting the kings powers and putting more powers into the hand of Parliament, and the birth of Civil rights. Plus the carvings around the frieze in the room were ‘pretty’ too. Aparently the spire of the cathedral is wonky but I couldnt see it, and I am a trained wonky expert, with a wonky eye too.
We made our way home again, freshened up anmd headed out to dinner and then searched town for a soy milk coffey, hot chocolate, tea, or even a empty carton. The town of bath is Soya free whata jip.
Again the next day started with a good hearty breakfast and into the baths. We spent 4 hours doung what an American from the USof A could do in twenty minutes It was fascinating and well put together exhibition. The history just seeping from the walls like hot water really. The water may have entered the ground 20-50000 years ago and bubbles its way to the surface in the sacred spring. Oh so exciting. I leave you to come visit or wikipedia it as its to complex and too late to tell you now, Suffice to say ‘wow’!
We Had lunch in the Pump room after ‘taking the water’, hot and irony, like blood really only thinner and less bloody like…u-know… yeah? OK!
Then we followed old John, who had to be 80 around town on a guided walk, he loved bath and the georgian architecture that makes it famous, and for a 80 odd year old was sure fit, must be the drinking of the bath water! ba-dum-shure!
Then onto the train and home for a well earned rest at work this week.
For our first trip away from london it was great. Not cheap but the things we saw that will stay with us forever was just inspiring. Im awestruck and even more amazed that Jane still is putting up with me.
And I shouldnt forget to mention as it is almost as momentous as stonehenge… I read two books this week, neither of them had photos and one was a study in politics.
Photos will be up shortly so stay tuned.