Bath 7th May 2011

We’ve just got back from Bath where we went to a family wedding which was really lovely. Part of the fun was an old London bus which transported us from the Guildhall where the ceremony took place to Oldfield Park for the reception and included a proper tour of the city. These are my photos from the bus. We also went for a walk in the rain in the evening and looked at St. Mary Magdalen chapel on Holloway, which is very ancient and then up to Beechen Cliff where we would have had a great view if it hadn’t been for the rain.

The Circus
Entrance to Victoria Park
Fares please!
St. Mary Magdalen Chapel, Holloway
Dingly dell up to Beechen Cliff
From Beechen Cliff

We stayed in the Hollies, a rival establishment to Athole House, it was fine, bed comfortable, quiet despite being on the main road and run by a couple of ageing queens who are just a tad pernickety (this is how you operate the curtain, this is where the light switch is….) and not a patch on Athole. They didn’t supply fruit tea or provide me with a croissant when asked, however Josephine and Wolfgang from Athole House did give me a fruit tea or 3 which were very nice!!

We ate in the Hop Pole on the Friday evening and had just as nice a meal and customer service as before, the staff are noticeably friendly and obliging. Also had a small salady meal on the Saturday evening at Ritchers Bistro which had similarly friendly staff, in fact even passers by in Bath are friendly!
Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map with me and my navigation partner, Cath.

Bath: 17th to 22nd February

We arrived in Bath a bit later than planned (detour to Halifax, detour to find picnic spot for lunch, detour to Sainsburys!) and collected the keys from Jo and Wolfie who refreshed us with tea and a tour of the new conservatory at Athole House. It was very dark by the time we arrived in Hungerford Road but we quickly unloaded the car and then I spent the next 15 minutes trying to park it.
After we’d set ourselves up I cooked an omelette and then it was pretty much time for bed. Tired!

After a good sleep on the lovely John Lewis mattresses, we set off for the Mayor’s guides’ tour of the city. We assembled outside the Pump Rooms and a nice lady called Sue took us off on a circuit showing us lots of interesting things and no Jane Austen.

Bath Abbey
Old and new

It was quite cold and the walk went slowly as we had to keep stopping for her to tell us things so we were pretty frozen by the end of it. We went and had a nice cup of coffee near Sally Lunn’s tea house. Very reasonable too! We went and had a picnic lunch in Henrietta Park. Then it was back home to get warm before our next adventure.
A short walk from the house is the Hop Pole pub where we had good hot filling food and very pleasant staff. Then it was back into town for the Ghost Walk. A nice chap took about 30+ of us around the town, walking slowly and stopping frequently, around the SAME ROUTE that the Mayor’s guide had taken us on except in reverse! And it was still quite cold.
To my surprise we did not see any ghosts. After a whole day of being very cold, we walked back part of the way with our guide, it started to rain and I was relieved to be home, totally knackered.

A slow, lazy start and then it was back into the town for the shops. I was starting to be a bit weary and did not hold up very well but Mr B manfully attacked Marks and Spencer among many others. After a bit, I protested and we went back home, had some lunch and then set off to find the car. We drove out southwards into the country and turned off towards Wellow, this road was fantastically filthy with litter which must be a real shame as the village itself is quite nice. From there we parked up near Stoney Littleton Long Barrow but didn’t get out as we had not brought suitable footwear for muddy walks. Looking at it now, I wish we had gone, still we will be back in May. Then we did a round trip through Faulkland, Hardington, Mells, Vobster, Coleford, Holcombe and Stratton-on-the-Fosse with a detour to Downside Abbey which was shut and then home.
I cooked a Thai green chicken curry which seemed to go down well. We spent the evening relaxing.

Tracey and Jason’s magnificent fireplace
Detail from the fireplace

Up early again and into town via the scenic route through the park to No. 1 Royal Crescent. This was very good and we just wandered round at our own pace. We had an early picnic lunch back in Victoria Park in the Botanical bit where you are not allowed to picnic, why ever not? Then back in again to the Victoria Art Gallery which is free and has a very helpful and informed member of staff who looked things up for me. I liked the Walter Sickert view of London Street. They have other Sickerts in their store. Sounds a bit like the University of Bradford – we only bring out our Hockneys occasionally. The entrance had a Sophie Ryder hare so I took its picture for Chris.
Back home to tidy up and then we went out in the car to Athole House where we were happily entertained by Jo and Wolfie. We met Phil which was nice, well it was for us!! Yummy beef and bean dish, followed by the Curate’s Omelette, have I got that right, an appley pudding, also yummy.

Royal Crescent
One of Sophie Ryder’s hares
Cliff’s shop!

A later start and then into the town for the second hand bookshops. This was the only day it rained it to any extent. We had a picnic lunch in Sydney Street Gardens and watched the trains shooting through which was quite strange really. Then we poked our noses in Bath Abbey and poked them out again as Mr. B objected to the forcibly requested donations and the display screens which he referred to as “televisions”. Unfortunately for me, the weather precluded the climb of the tower but not sure I would have got Mr up there anyway. We then inspected Paxton and Whitfield‘s cheese shop which was just fab. A quick trot home and I produced a sausage casserole some time later.

Gents in Sydney Street gardens
Mending the downpipe, Alpine style
Who the heck?

A nice leisurely end to the holiday, lovely not having to clear out by 10.00! We did the efficient thing with packing the car and then posted the keys through the door. We decided to avoid the motorways but this proved a slow way to go. I also failed to find Waitrose in Cheltenham as my iPhone stopped being helpful, so we went to Waitrose in Malvern instead. This took forever, especially the bit afterwards trying to find somewhere to have our picnic lunch. We got home about 7.30 a bit tired to say the least.
A great holiday with special thanks to Tracey and Jason for making it possible.


Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map with me and my navigation partner, Cath.