Have I told you that I have retired? Ok. I have. On more than one occasion I know. Well I’m still getting used to it – it’s nearly 9 months now. How fast time goes when your having fun  

When I retired I decided that once a week I would have a day off. A day off Ian remarked. Surely every day is a day off now. Ha. I said. Look at the list you’ve drawn up. Septic tank. Boiler service. Alarm service. Flood gate service. Garden. Weed. Tidy. Check this. Cancel that. ( please don’t mention the attic or the cellar. That’s winter work)  I’ve enough to keep me busy for months.

 That and school runs. Courses. Jeremy Kyle and Tipping point.  I need a day off all duties and it’s called Me time. So I rebelled  and I have. Well not every week but some of them. In London I go to galleries. To lunches with friends and ex colleagues. Who happen to also be friends. I walk. Have coffee at my favourite coffee places. Breakfast at greasy spoons. Alone sometimes. With friends other days. But it’s always what I want to do. Selfish. Me. For those days. Yes. 

In Somerset it’s been lovely to visit villages and places that I haven’t been to for a while. Or for some not at all – which – having been here 22 years is a bit shocking. There are places still on this years list. I’m embarrassed to say I haven’t been to the garden at Hauser & Wirth this summer. It’s a glorious prairie garden designed by Piet Oudolf  and is only a 5 minute drive away. Shocking. There’s also a fab gallery and the great Roth Bar and Grill 

Last year at Hauser & Wirth 

So today I have had a lovely trip to Bradford on Avon. A short drive from the cottage but we were last there over 10 years ago on a wet and miserable Sunday where there was little open. I know it was over 10 years ago as it was pre two god children and we were there with their parents. All I remembered was this cute tea rooms The Bridge Tea Rooms in the centre of the town where we ate cake in damp clothes. It still looks exactly the same. Well it would really given the age of the building! – former blacksmiths cottage c1502. Previously  we didn’t see the canal. Or the Tithe Barn. We saw very little now come to think of it. Except clotted cream. Scones and some sandwiches. Oh. And rain. 

The Bridge Tea Rooms 

The tourist attraction  for the town is the canals. I’m not sure a canal holiday is for me to be honest. Enclosed in a small place with nowhere to go if I had a hissy fit. Which I have been known to have every now and then. Nowhere to stomp off to. But everyone seemed happy and smiley as they worked the boats. And the locks. Those amazing inventions. I’m sure we’d have a few rows with those. And the directions. We have usually had at least two before we navigate out if the car park at the airport. God help us on canals. I don’t suppose they have sat nag? Do they. 

Canal Barges 

Made me think of my  mother. She had a saying ‘ oh. He has feet like canal barges’ – seeing these today made me think of that! 

Even the dog looked cntent. 

There’s a fab old Tithe  hall. Beautifully crafted. Gorgeous light. Stunning open space. A 14c monastic stone barn. You couldn’t use it for dancing tho. The floor is too uneven and ridged in parts – so no dancing – especially in heels. Which I wasn’t wearing. Obviously. 

Tithe Barn Bradford upon Avon
Glorious crafted roof 

Glorious light 

It’s amazing how these structures are still standing and thankfully this is grade 1 listed. Looked after by English Heritage so it will be around longer than me. 

You don’t go to Bradford in Avon to shop. If you want coffee or cake then that’s fine. Or to eat. Or more coffee. There are  lots of coffee shops.  lots of eating places. But there again there are lots of tourists. But it’s not packed out. Well not today anyway. 

Lovely light & flowers in the alleyway 

There are cute views. Small little alleyways. With a plant here and there. 

There are narrow  streets – the type I drove down unintentionally in Spain breathing in and praying I met nothing coming toward me. It worked. I didn’t. But I realised at the end it was a one way street. I may have or I may not have uttered a few swear words as I drove through. 

Gorgeous views. The friend I was with likened it to Bath. Without the madness. The crowds & the high street shops. Which isn’t a bad thing. 

She’s right. I will be back. And before another ten years. 

Last week I ventured somewhere new. I had heard about it from friends. From Facebook posts. From witters on Twitter. But had never been. Shame on me. I was taken to  lunch at The Walled Garden Mells

Tables near the cafe 

A fab place for lunch. A great garden. Awesome pizzas and great quiche and the delight of a scone and cream. Jam first. Of course.  There are lots of lovely sitting areas. It’s fab. 

I don’t want you to think I’m entirely selfish and exclude Ian! We do manage to do some days out together. We have been making the most of our National Trust membership. This month we have visited Lytes Cary Manor a nice (ish) Manor House but I was more impressed with the borders in the garden and the lovely allotments.  

Moody shot of the house 

Fabulous allotments 

We also returned to another we hadn’t visited for a while  Stourhead
It’s such a lovely house and garden. We decided to give Kylie a run out and to walk around the lake. Just us not Kylie. 


The walk around the grounds is stunning and I wished we had taken a picnic to sit by the lake and take it all in. But we didn’t. So managed a takeaway tea and a sarnie. To be fair it wasn’t bad at all. 

So it’s been a good few weeks. I’ve visited The BP portrait exhibition in London. Twice. Because once is never enough. I liked it more the second time and I had a few favourites. 

There were some I didn’t get & some I liked more than others. 

So the rest of the month is busy but with no days out. We have our annual river clearance coming up where for one day and one day only each year I don waders and long gloves and with the village people ( better phrased –  people of the village- before you think Indian headdress leather chaps don’t really work in water) clear the river of debris and crap. Not your actual crap. That stopped flowing in the river years ago. 

River Pitt – the river. The old bridge and the Heron 

Then  it’s off on our annual holidays! Together. Where no doubt there will be photos. And a bit of a blog. 

5 thoughts on “Gardens. Villages. Days out. 

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