Tuesday, 29 September 2015


More train today! We love the train. We even have our fav ticket agent.

Off to Bristol. We got off the train and strolled down the walk a bit to the harbour. You catch the ferry there. Neither the harbour or the ferry are like home. The harbour looks like a big river. It had the second highest tides in the world (we have the first) but they dammed it all off to control that. If they let the water do its natural thing now the city would collapse. The water pressure holds it together.

The ferry is a little open boat that pulls up, you wave them in and jump on. A young man took our money and as the boat was almost empty he spent the 20 minute ride giving us a super tour and loads of tourist info and maps, etc. worth the day right there!

We did the aquarium and the M Shed. The M is a wonderful mish mash of local history and social history. Free and very well done.

The ferry and train home was equally fun. Dinner out at a local watering hole and my first taste of sticky toffee pudding.

Monday, 28 September 2015

The Train

As we start into our last few days we are just crossing a few more things off the wish list.

Today we took the train (our first!) to Bradford on Avon. It was a lovely town. Again it was located in the river valley, so all of our walking was straight up hill. But the views! We found an ancient Norman church that had been saved and made available for viewing. It's so amazing that these things exist!

After we explored we walked down the canal to the next town - Avoncliff. The walk was beautiful. In the 45 minutes it took we were never out of sight of narrow boats. These seemed to be longer stay people and less tourist. At Avoncliff the canal is bridged across the Avon River. Imagine boats floating high above the river! All on a beautiful aqueduct from a few centuries back.

There was a great pub there. It was our best pub experience. We were pointed to a table over by the glowing fireplace. Nothing in the pub looked any younger than Noah, and I'm sure the Ark pulled up there at some time. The food was excellent. We are getting quite fond of cider.

We strolled over the river to find our train just about to leave. At this station the platform was too small to load more than one car - so you need to seat yourself accordingly. I expected to catch the next train, but the driver leaned his head out the train window and yelled "you just hop in here Love!" He reached back and opened the door himself, while the conductor was also popping out of his car to beckon us on. Service!

These are things we will miss!


So we just returned from Another! pint in town. It's Monday, and that means the cathedral bell ringers practice from 7 pm to 9 pm, or until they like what they hear I guess. So we walked along the canal, listening to 9 bells ringing (just a little off course), bats whizzed around the shrubs and someone was playing the Pink Panther in the saxophone shop that is located in the bridge abutment .

Surreal! May have been the Wild Goat cider though.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Swing Low, Sweet Chariot

It's getting that fall nip over here, certainly cooler than it was.

We wandered today. Ran into some great shopping with antiques and vintage things. However prices are very high, and we can get great stuff at home.

But we did buy tickets to the opening rugby match for the Bath team. What an experience! There is a lovely stadium right in town by the river. It was pretty well full with 12,000 people. I still don't understand what's happening, but I'm getting better. People either had pints or pitchers of beer. Pitchers for individual consumption, that is. Awesome! Bath won, of course. The game started exactly on time. The crowd was polite, even clapping a bit to welcome the other team. We had 1 supporter from the other side in our section and we enjoyed him thoroughly. When they scored we laughed as he cheered, all alone. No pushing in lines. Everyone stood nicely to let people to their seats. Those going to their seats were polite and careful. We could learn a lot over here.

As soon as the game ended everyone headed to the pubs. The rugby club had a big screen up for the Wales/England game. As we walked home you could hear singing and cheering coming from the town as a unit! The pub windows and doors were open! What a unified town!

Friday, 25 September 2015

Slowing Down

We took our cute little car back. All in one piece! Yah!

We want to slow down and relax for our last week. We just walked the streets today and cat wrangled. The neighborhood cats still come for food. We may never get that settled in the time we have left. Leave it for the next ones, I say.

I did wear my new undies today. Lovely, but my own self made do feel more comfortable. It's hard to get that perfect fit off the shelf. But M&S make a darn good try, and it's nice to have the options.

I have been away from my sewing room for over 3 weeks. I am starting to get itchy. I sent my 2 main machines in for a day at the spa before I left on this trip. It was a difficult moment! My babies! If they aren't ready when I get back, I may be more than a little distraught. I think I'll send off an inquiry tonight. It never hurts to check in, eh?

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Cheddar Cheese

I have now been to Cheddar Gorge! The drive in is spectacular! MB, I can't believe you did that in a bus! I have a sister who could not have done that in a coma. The drive is, shall we say, challenging, and breathtaking.

Caves, nice town, high tower for viewing. And Cheddar cheese aged in the fore mentioned cave system! Delicious!

Good day.

Returned in time for my first visit to Marks and Spenser. Lovely! But the second floor was full of bras and such in my size! And at reasonable prices! I wept.

I bought one set but I shall return, methinks. I needed to recover, emotionally.

We went out to our pub for a pint of our Wild Goat cider. Staggered home happy.

Every pub and restaurant here is advertising Christmas dinner. Book your table now! It's a major campaign. I guess no one does their own turkey around here. Interesting.

We turn the car in tomorrow. Just as we were ready to go pro!  The driving is actually not too bad. Reading the road signs is hard. We'd be lost without the iPad. Follow the blue dot! Maybe one more trip tomorrow. See how we feel in the am.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Lacock Village

This is the village that starred in Harry Potter movies and others. Film crew setting up in the courtyard today. Really lovely. We spent most of our time at the Abbey and adjoining house. Wonderful gardens and stuff! The first photograph was done here. We are loving this relaxed, take your time pace. We interrupted our tour for lunch at the local. When we went back we were recognized by my quilted jacket.

It's a great traveling jacket. Cosy, comfy, good pockets and really easy to find in a crowd over here. People do not wear colors here. I get lots of compliments on it though.

Kleenex are more like printer paper. Toilet paper comes in every color. Mushrooms are cheap, but nothing else is. I have yet to see a hedgehog. I really want to see one.

In Lacock they drive down over the bank, through the river and up the other side of the Avon River. It's OK. It's paved.

We have now discovered why we are buying cat food at a fairly frequent rate. The neighborhood mooches are coming in, getting food pouches out of the box and escaping out the cat door. We interrupted this in progress tonight. Cat annoyed. Us too.

Don't ask where the washroom is. They have no idea what you want.

Pedestrians don't have the right of way here. Really. They don't. When you get a walk light you better trot right along, as there is only enough time if you hurry. There is a frantic beeper to hurry you along.

You often see craftspeople working at their jobs. Stone masons working carefully on walls, painters scraping doors by hand and filling pockmarks, thatchers working on roofs. This seems to be the norm. It's fascinating. I'm not sure we value this work as it seems to be here. Actually, the keeping of all this heritage is really making me ask questions. How does it come about that these things are still in use and seem to be the standard rather than the exception? We tend to tear down or 'renovate' things. Mind you, we don't have the age that they have over here.

Gardens are massive and ancient. Even little postage stamp plots are well established. We plant and if it lasts 10 years we are thrilled with the lasting and perhaps tear it out and replant for a new effect. We don't plant for the third or fourth generation from now. Maybe it's just me. I know I'm thinking this trip will have a lasting impact on me. I really need to do some major weeding when I get back.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

The Henge

We took on our most challenging drive today. We went to Avebury to see their henge. A henge is a stone circle. We knew we could get right up to this one, unlike Stonehenge. It's also a bigger circle than SH.

Well, it was large and easy to get around. But it was a big pile of rocks. We think we'll probably skip Stonehenge now. We did get to see a white chalk horse on a hill, though. Now that was amazing! And we have almost conquered the roundabout!

There were several large groups of school children all over. They reminded me I love retirement. However, they were very well behaved. All of them. This seems to be the norm whenever we see school groups out - even the large groups of teenagers.

Must be something in the water.

Monday, 21 September 2015

Wild Goats

Today we went to Wells Cathedral and the next door church palace with moat and gardens. You know. To keep the only fresh water from the lowly villagers.

Amazing place! Really great volunteer local guide. We dropped Cheddar Gorge to stay and do the place justice.

But first we went off to the charity store and picked up the most beautiful pair of  Ungaro sandals with red berry decorations. I saw them in the window Saturday night. I revisited them Sunday. They were so beautiful!  We were on the doorstep well before opening on Monday and the kind shopgirl let us in. They fit just like Cinderella's slippers! 9 pounds later (DH threw in an extra pound because it was a joyous occasion) and I carried my prize home. My visit here is now complete. If I can just pick up some panties at M&S I will be done.

Off to the pub for a pint. We prefer Wild Goat. Lovely!

Castle Combe

Sunday we drove to Castle Combe. The driving went much better, and I have discovered that Maps has a lot more features than I thought. It even has voice directions, and recalculated when you don't listen. Trust the voice. 

The village is completely untouched by the last 500 or so years. There is a parking lot on the edge of town to keep it that way. So lovely! 

We walked through town and then out of town on one of the ever present local walking trails. Everyone walks here, and maintained trails are important. They aren't travelled, accessible perfection like our trails, but they are maintained to be what they are. You often see signs up telling the locals about what work is currently underway. It's worded in a way that says 'respect for your wanting to know'. Also keep dog on leash as we are losing sheep again. 

We got lost while walking and a local straightened us out. Getting lost has become our fav thing to do. Back in the town we checked out a house sale and picked up a bag of Liberty scraps for $10.  Haven't seen Liberty cheaper than that. Scraps included. 

Had a 'roast' dinner at the pub. Roast Sunday dinner is what you do. 

Sunday, 20 September 2015

On The Road

So much excitement! We drove our little Fiat 500 (in bright yellow so the British can see us coming) all the way to Castle Combe Circuit. It was rally day at the track. My man was in heaven!  He got to meet his hero Ari Vatanen, and I have a picture to prove it. We saw him make doughnuts on the track. Wonderful! We saw lots of excellent drivers make doughnuts on the track. We saw a million cars of every variety. Some cars DH thought did not exist anymore, and there they were - a whole flock of them! He was very happy. 

I had a chicken burger. And got a free T-shirt. 

Actually, I really liked it as well. 

The driving was intense. DH focussed on staying in the correct lane and I navigated, with the help of Google maps. I am learning a whole lot more about that app than I knew before. It's quite robust in what it can do. 

Me, not so much. We actually probably weren't lost, but we're concerned that the 1 way cow path we were on may have been wrong, and we went back for directions. These included "go straight past the duck pond" but did get us there. We came back pretty well, and plan on going back Sunday to visit the town. Our wonderful neighbor has drawn us a map of a walk around the town that most people don't find.  She has been so friendly and helpful! Everyone here is. 

Now, strange behavior at the track. Drivers are on the track doing amazing things. There are thousands of people watching! Thousands! They all stand quietly, no pushing or anything impolite, but absolutely no noise. They don't cheer, they don't clap, no whistles - it's eerie! Same at the autograph sessions and famous people talking. The crowd had to be asked to move closer. They seemed to think this rude, but space was needed at the back. Children were well behaved and well supervised. This is a strange world. 

Friday, 18 September 2015


Just back from the pub and watching the opening game of the rugby World Cup. This is big stuff over here. Big stuff. I'm watching, but I have no idea what I'm looking at.

Could be the pint of Wild Goat at the pub that was delicious! I think it was a shanty like thing. Delicious!  Effective!

We poked around the guts of the Bath Abbey this morning. We climbed over 200 stairs. They call them stairs. Think circular staircase that was meant for teeny bell ringers. Climbed for over 400 years, worn to a frazzle. There was a channel worn through the stairs where a leak came in. We would never let people walk them in Canada. The safety fence on the top of the abbey was chicken wire.

They expect you to be responsible for yourself over here. The view was amazing, but you got to climb in around the bells (while they rang!) see the different apparatus to ring bells from over the centuries, sit behind the clock face and look down into the Abbey through holes in the roof. So neat! The staircase was still most amazing. It was so teeny, high and treacherous. Just like an old scary movie.

We rented a car this afternoon. DH drove and I navigated and called out signs and what was happening. Nothing  is familiar. You need to watch and interpret everything. Success! The car rental was cheap. The add ins were beyond belief! We didn't get GPS. It cost more than the car. All cars are standards. No AC. Insurance is way more than the car. Parking is a whole other matter.

Got it all worked out eventually.  DH drove beautifully! We go to the race track tomorrow. So exciting!

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Study Day

A study day. We went to see the Georgian house and the Bath Architecture museum. We actually find that stuff interesting.

The house also had a doll house display. It was eye opening! Children did not play with these. They were rich adult toys and money seemed to be no object. How about a set of blue and white hand blown wine glasses - and only about 3/4" tall?

The house was well done. They have a guide in each room to tell you stuff. Makes the entrance fee easier to take. No one hurries you. These houses had arched vaults under them for storage. These woul be under the basement floor which is already below ground level, but with a walk out courtyard to give it light. As most floors are about 10 feet tall, this gets quite deep. The vaults also pop out well under the street. Neat stuff.

We have to stop eating out. It's horrendously expensive. A cup of tea starts at $5. And I'm getting fat. That's hard to do with all this walking.

Tomorrow we pick up a car. OMG! But there is a big day at the local car race track on Saturday, and we need to be there!

Wednesday, 16 September 2015


It was a perfect rainy day. I hit a lovely wool store, an amazing fabric and haberdashery store and slid into my seat at the Jane Austen fashions talk just in time.

At an English talk the audience is ever so well behaved. You do not talk, whisper, cough or breathe loudly. You would never rustle anything. You just listen attentively. It's refreshing.

The fabric store lady told me about a Kaffe Fassett talk tonight. I googled it and set off. The tickets were sold out, but I was ushered in, handed free wine and Kaffe hand lotion and got a seat. It seems the ticket was meant to be a coupon towards the book. I sat with a lovely local couple.

Kaffe needs no introduction to most, but for my family - he designs knitting, fabric and quilt patterns. Very colorful! Mom would know his knitting patterns.

Kaffe was very entertaining and also mentioned the woman who taught my bead workshop. She supervises all his sample work. At the end of the night I bought his new book- with the 7& help of my neighbor's husband's ticket. What a sweetie! It's now autographed, of course.

DH was not into any of this. He broke his toe today and spent most of the day talking to the cat. He'll be fine by tomorrow.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

A really great day

I had tea in the Pump Room. THE PUMP ROOM!

Ron took me. I am speechless about the whole thing. It was perfect. I spent the whole time amazed by the experience. Not describable. Not at all. Wow.

Big wow.

This should be the end of the entry, but the day was even more full.

This morning I went to a workshop led by the woman who coordinates the samples for Kaffe Fassett's books. We made felt and ribbon beads with embroidery stitches and beads and such. It was an event to launch her new book on what to do with his ribbon line. I really enjoyed meeting other ' makers' here in the UK. They were very nice. We chatted about all sorts of things. They prefer the term makers to fabric artists. They were quite clear as to why, but I'm not sure I got the point.

I got news this morning that I got in to the sold out workshop. A bit of panic, but I trotted off to the center of town, found a bus stop, a student at the local university to help me get on the right bus a wonderful bus driver to direct me, and there I was - on time even!  No problem!

Then tonight we went out to find a pub. We found one and I got quite soused watching a soccer game on the big screen.  However, while searching for the perfect pub we ran into the Australian rugby team twice. They were hard to miss, in their suits with funny tasseled hats on top of their heads. The police escort and no parking zones also marked them well as they walked from an official function to and from their big Australian bus. Big team. Good looking team. They also went to the pump room.

I think I enjoyed it more. What a day!

And I didn't mention my visit to the sewing machine dealership, did I? Maybe tomorrow. They were great people as well.

Monday, 14 September 2015

The Rain Begins

The saxophone store is having a 'blow out' sale. 'Nough said.

It's raining. A proper Englush rain. It's a good wet rain that turns on and off without warning, all day long. Rain jackets just soak your pants first. English carry umbrellas instead. We went to the Fashion Museum.

It was amazing. I have seen Mecca and it looks like this. They even let you book in and poke into boxes in the back rooms. I'll see if I can book in. I spent hours there, and even Ron enjoyed it. He was allowed to antique shop, but did get back in time for the second half.  Ask him about the evolution of bustles and crinolines. They had a special display of Georgian wear, but then a great overview of fashions from 1800 to present. I saw dresses by every one of my gods and goddesses. Schiaparelli! Chanel! Yves! Gaultier! And so many more. Even a Fortuny. A Fortuny!


Then we had lunch (another $50 for a basic bite). It is not cheap here. At all. Found Liberty cotton and would not buy it at 22& or about $45 a meter. Just couldn't.

Now, I can't post pics from my iPad. I don't know how to connect the dots. If you want to see pics email me and I'll give you access to my Bath cloud.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

I'm Gaining Weight

I nap well here. The house is quiet. The walking and fresh air do you in.

Very nice.

There is a saxophone store in the middle of a bridge.  Just saxophones.

There are 2 floors of pianos in another store. 2 full, complete floors dedicated to pianos.

Today we discovered Cornish pastries. I need never eat again. I am full.

It's the beginning of Jane Austen week. People in costume everywhere! We went to the 'Bath in Austen time' art display. We both enjoyed it. The building was amazing as well.

But not as amazing as finding a fashion clothing store with windows lined with old sewing machines! The designer found them piled in the warehouse and thought they would make a good display.

He was right!

Friday, 11 September 2015

Finally a Fabric Store!

Yesterday we walked about 2 hours to find the abandoned churches and graveyard the neighbor mentioned.  It was about 10 minutes away, actually but the wander was breath taking! We met some volunteer caretakers there who were chatty. Saw the grave of the man who wrote Danny Boy.

In the main square today I watched this costumed Roman pull up and set up a pedestal. He arranges his sign and leaflets and steps up on the pedestal to take his position. You could watch him settle into the most perfect statue pose ever! His costume has a perfect coating of grey statue whatever - as did his skin, right to the eyelids! As he's posing motionless (and he is the most convincing statue you ever saw) he would wait until some unsuspecting person walked by and maybe extend his hand for a handshake.  I've never seen anything so well done!

The sign said "ask me for a selfie" so I did. He doesn't speak. He just rearranges himself slightly to be in the pic. He was up too high on the pedestal and me - well, you know. He gave me a pat on the head and I gave the camera to Ron to take the pic.  When he patted me even his hands felt and looked like stone. He keeps his eyes closed so he really looks the part. He was advertising the local museums.

We went to the American Museum today. It's on a huge and beautiful estate just a few minutes out of town. We took the free shuttle. It's a different type of museum. It looks just like what you expect, but the Englush see the Americans a bit like a curiosity. Think of what we would do with a British museum in NS. The picture was not complete. I was there to see the quilt collection. It was lovely.

I found The Makery this morning! A lovely fabric and craft store. I bought neat things like ribbons, make your own espadrilles kit, a few fat quarters. Fabric is double what we pay. I would not be happy about that here.

The local university is completely enclosing a field with a visible barrier. The Australian rugby team will be practicing there and want to be private. The city is rugby possessed right now. The world championship is coming up I think. Every pub has a countdown sign in the window. P! Do I need to pick you up anything?

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Oh Danny Boy!

Walked about 2 hours to find the abandoned churches and graveyard the neighbor mentioned.  It was about 10 minutes away, actually but the wander was breath taking! We met some volunteer caretakers there who were chatty. Saw the grave of the man who wrote Danny Boy. What a place! The crypts wandered up the hill and disappeared into the growth. It was like a painting that was fading around the edges.  The men mentioned that they were surprised we found it. Most of Bath doesn't realize it's there. It's well hidden.

We saw the actual Roman Baths this morning.  DH has now topped off his bucket list. We spent hours, and it was worth the trip right there. They have done an excellent job preserving and yet making everything accessible.  People seem to have respect over here. The ruins are accessed from street level but go underground and under streets and buildings as well. They plan to excavate more. We'll need to come back for that. We did take the waters.  Tasted like that water you drain off after cooking hot dogs. About the same temperature.

Did not take tea at the Pump Room yet.  Need to dress up for that, I think. It just seems right.

We also ate at Sally Lunn's today. Her buns are famous! They're also huge. You only get half unless you specify. It's the oldest whatever in Bath. In the basement they have excavated down to the Roman street, and then the different layers of occupation upwards. The current street level is up a floor now. The original kitchen is about 2 feet above Roman level and 6 feet below current level.

I've read that last passage over again and fear that the Great P may be beside herself again.

and there you are.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Another Day in Paradise

Jane Austen! I know. I should be shot. Jane this, Jane that... I get confused.

I went to a short lecture on Jane Austen as a pulp fiction author. She rarely mentioned Jane and talked more about some male author who may have read Jane and laughed at her style of prose, feeling a woman's time was better spent on embroidery. With embroidery you get an actual result.

Next week we hear from someone else on Georgian fashions. Sounds good!

Walked the 10 minutes to the store to get supper stuff. On the way got a lesson on how to get a narrow boat through the locks. So simple and quick - which is good, as there were 3 locks between me and the store. Lovely people! Lovely time of day. Other boaters out on deck, reading or sipping wine. There's a great deal of sipping. The maximum speed is 4 miles/ hr, the canal sides are like a bumper pool. Wine is really encouraged.

Then the way back was enhanced by the view down into the city. And the sound of ancient church bells ringing out. That happens several times a day. It's beautiful.

We were walking (so much walking!) and noticed a little churchyard, right in the middle of a park. It was right out of a movie.  The building was just a shell, overgrown inside and out. The crypts were settling into the ground and were overgrown as well.  What a step back in time!

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Another Good Day

Today was chilly. We came home for sweaters.

Children wear lovely school uniforms. The new season shows as newly purchased outfits. They look so perfect! Skirt hem length seems quite variable. And short. But with tights.

I could walk canal paths for days, and probably will.

Ducks quack louder here.

Women outings are called hendoes.

Cleo had a tiff with the neighborhood bully cat. At high noon.  In the upper hallway. Not sure who won. We are now her 'muscle' when she ventures out.  Ron goes with her for the first bit and growls at the surrounding bushes. Quite effective.

Went to a lovely museum today. Lovely needlework and a huge willow sculpture.  My cup of tea! Then walked the park surrounding it, as Jane Eyre did when she lived next door. Took a picture of her house (of course).

Bought some vintage sewing patterns today. Companies I had never heard of. Gorgeously!

The neighbors have a lovely daughter. She drew me a map of the 8 year old's version of a tourist map. It's very informative. I need to find this tea spot, it seems.

TV is a bit different. Watch this!

Tomorrow a short talk on why Jane Eyre was the pulp fiction queen of her time. And we'll try for the largest antique shop in the world. Even though I thought we had already been to the largest - several times!

Sunday, 6 September 2015

THe Right Cat Steps Forward

Good news! The correct cat has identified herself. At approximately midnight a slight, furry, purring delight arrived on my sleeping head, treading and vigorously spooning me. She was hungry and had a huge midnight snack. She spent the rest of the evening sleeping on our feet.

The wrong cat still checks out the kitchen feeding station, using the cat doors as if they were her own.   This may call for the squirt gun by the kitchen window.

Of course, right cat/ wrong cat - whose word do we take on this?

The allegedly 'right' cat is happily purring in my husbands lap now. Both happy. He wants to apply for a passport for her. What does AC charge for a cat? He could just tuck her in his sweater.

Today we wandered the town. It was filled with others doing the same thing. A perfect day! We listened to the Saxaphonics in a park. Scouted out lots of things to do. Saw lots of places to shop. The English seem to love parks. They were everywhere!

I found a Pfaff/ Husqvarna dealership! Just like home, but the fabric is more expensive.

We also walked along the canal behind our house. Lots of long house boats tied up on the  sides of the canal We just missed one using the locks. I'd love to live in a houseboat for a bit. It looks so peaceful. The grocery store is just a few minutes along the canal. They have fresh vegetables and croissants!

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Crossing the Big Pond

Good travel. AC left and arrived on time. Mind you, first class looked amazing! Little individual islands of lie back luxury. For just another $998 (one way) I could have had champagne.

Flight was fine. Customs smooth. Found the bus (coach) easily and it was also a good ride. Hopped a taxi right away and got in the house without a hitch.

We have learned:

  • That we have fed several cats who arrived in the kitchen through the cat door. None of them were our cat. 
  • Walk facing traffic while on the sidewalk. It's prudent. There is no buffer zone between car and you. 
  • Switches and plugs and just about everything is different here. 
  • You can walk everywhere. 
  • Women wear hats to weddings. 
  • Everyone has an accent. 
  • I'm very tired. We'll sleep well tonight. Just wondering who that will be on the bottom of the bed. Antique market tomorrow!