It’s strange, I’ve been to Bath three times and have had three birthdays in England, yet I’ve only spent a total of about three months in this country. They say the third time’s the charm and I think, on this occasion at least, it certainly is. Mike and I were staying just outside of town and cycled in via some fields, four stiles and a bike track that ran through a lovely wooded area. Mike stopped to take some photos of this field on the way.
After our dismal coffee experience yesterday and Sarah’s crash course in UK “coffee” we put a little more effort into a place to patronise today. The girls had heard good stuff about The Boston Tea Party so we made a bee-line there. It turned out to be a place Mike and I had been to last year! Over coffee I presented Sarah with a birthday present to adorn her little cottage in a Tasmanian town with the delightful name of “Snug”.
Mike and I had been looking forward to re-visiting the abbey so we could shoot it in HDR this time.
I mused how much taking an interest in photography has affected how I now perceive the world around me. I got sooo much more out of our visit this time around – noticing details that I don’t even remember seeing before.
We briefly considered having a bath but thought better of it after realising (a) the price, (b) it would be all modern looking rather than ye olde Roman ruins and (c) it would be hot and it was a rather warm day already. We frugally decided to have another picnic and stopped by Marks & Spencer for some supplies. We struck on the brilliant idea of buying some cold white wine and a birthday cake for Sarah as well.
We found a spot by the river and sat down for a long, leisurely lunch, cheap wine, good conversation, and a dodgy supermarket birthday cake.
We went for a stroll to the The Crescent and read an interesting bit of trivia about it – Only the facade was constructed and then it was sold off in lengths and people built the rest of their house to their own specifications. We took a walk behind it and sure enough it was all higgledy piggledy.
Mike and I had yet another history geek moment when we read that the lawn in front of The Crescent has a ha-ha. A “ha-ha”, as described in “At Home: A short history of private life” by Bill Bryson, is “a sunken fence, a kind of palisade designed to separate the private part of an estate from its working parts without the visual intrusion of fence or hedge. Because they were unseen until the last instant, people tended to discover them with a startled cry of ‘Ha-ha’! – and hence, so it is said, the name”.
We also pointed out a feature of many houses in Bath that were the butt of many jokes on a comedic tour of Bath we went on last year. There are many recesses in the walls that look like there should be a door or window there. We’d read that when glass was still quite expensive people would paint these recesses to look like windows and doors – I’m still not clear on why doors where expensive though…
We waited out the train’s departure time at a very grand looking cafe over enormous beverages – what is it with this country and pints!? After our time with friends I was feeling a bit philosophical and reflected on how sad it is that, although I’d love to spend more time with friends, even if we were to move back to Australia half our friends would still be on other continents. Then I felt even sadder when I thought that we would still be spending more time with friends there than we can here and it will most likely be a few years until I see Sarah again. I at least count myself fortunate to have so many people to miss so much – I’d take that any day to the alternative.
After saying goodbye to the gals I couldn’t quite bear the thought of going back to Nettle and eating, just the two of us, so we grabbed some very tasty pizza in Bath instead. By the time we left we were racing the sunset, not relishing the thought of cycling through dark fields lined with thistles and hoisting our bikes over stiles surrounded with nettle (no, not that Nettle!). Luckily we made it just in time and rolled into our CL to the sound of our neighbour playing a lovely little tune on a harpsichord. He was sat outside but facing towards the open door of their little old caravan – I think he was serenading his wife. It was really nice way to finish the day – thanks little old harpsichord playing man!