Wednesday, 19 June 2019

2 Get Wet in Somerset

It's become a bit of a tradition that when exams are over, we try to get away for a couple of  days to celebrate. Nowhere exotic, just somewhere relatively close, preferably by the sea. Last year E and I visited Weston Super Mare, the year before that it was Hastings. This year, following her finals, we decided that Burnham on Sea was the place. I'd never been before and it was chosen because I looked at the UK map, thought I could pick her up from Bristol and let my eye travel down the coast; it wasn't too far. 
Lily (my car!) had been making a funny noise. R had already replaced the front nearside wheel bearing (remember that!) but the offside one was now playing up. He had the part and said that she would be fine and he would do the work the following weekend on my return. So off we set.
I had booked a small B&B called Bramley Cottage on the outskirts of town. The owners were lovely, it was spotlessly clean and considering we were their first vegan guests they did brilliantly. We had a whole vegan breakfast menu to choose from, including a choice (note choice!) of 2 different vegan pancakes (the owner had been practising!).
Burnham on Sea itself was, if I'm honest, a bit of a disappointment. It had a beautiful sandy beach, which I'm sure is lovely if it's sunny, but we had wind, cloud and rain. There was a slight air of rundown retirement town about the place. We cheered ourselves up with chips on the beach and a trip to the cinema to escape the rain. The Ritz was a highlight - a tiny cinema, £4 per ticket and, after we had watched the trailer of forthcoming events, a man appeared with an usherette's tray and asked if anyone would like an ice cream;  it was adorable. Here are some photos:
The view from our room:
Walking into town along the estuary:

The beach. You can just see the baby pier in the distance. It held one of those amusement arcades that somehow always make me feel uncomfortable and depressed:
A brilliant idea - making beach litter picking fun:
So cute!
On our second day, we decided that we had experienced all that Burnham had to offer, so drove to nearby Glastonbury. We had been before and seen the Abbey and climbed the Tor, so this time we just pottered around the town itself. At one point it was warm enough to actually remove our coats! There were some beautiful, old buildings: 
......and lots of yummy food:

Tofu hot dog:
If you've been to Glastonbury you will know that it's all a bit hippy - E was in her element and bought a rather glorious pair of trousers, some pick and mix incense sticks and some colourful acrylic yarn (she really does do the whole vegan thing!) to make a long cardigan. I bought a remnant of fabric from the same shop. 
Then it was back to Burnham for the evening. The following day, we had breakfast, checked out and had planned to visit Brean Down (which is supposed to be lovely) on the return journey. Unfortunately, we had to get back to Bristol earlier than planned - E received a message from her tutor who wanted a meeting to discuss her masters options for next year and could only do midday. The aim had been for E to have her meeting, return some library books and then she would come home for a few days. She came out of her meeting looking a little pale faced - they had loved her final year dissertation, wanted her to publish it and she had a meeting with RH the following week to discuss Masters dissertation ideas which she could possibly extend to a PhD. Needless to say, she had to hit the library instead of coming home. 
Disappointed though I was, it turned out to be very lucky that she wasn't in the car on the way home. Driving along the M4 in the pouring rain, I had got used to the noise from the wheel bearing,when suddenly the steering wheel developed a tremor. It was only minor initially, so I kept to the inside lane and carried on. Suddenly the shaking became a lot worse and I was just thinking that I should pull in at the upcoming services when the front nearside bit of the car dropped down dramatically. Easily panicked, I was amazed at how calm I remained - braking gently so as not to skid, I hit the hazard warning lights, indicated and moved onto the hard shoulder where we came gracefully to a standstill. This is what I saw when I got out:
Now, I'm not much of a mechanic but I knew it shouldn't look like that! I called the AA and stood in the rain on the other side of the crash barrier waiting for them to arrive. The wheel was nowhere to be seen - I assume it had bounced over the barrier and is now lying in the bushes somewhere near Swindon. Lily and I came home on the AA truck - she was very excited! The AA man spent the journey telling me that I was lucky I wasn't killed and that someone was obviously looking out for me. I didn't tell him that I thought it was Lily. I was actually very proud of my reaction - you can see the mark where we had scraped along the road and it was a beautiful gentle curve onto the hard shoulder. Had E been with me though, I think I may have panicked more. Ringing R when I got home I asked him which wheel he had been working on. Yes, you guessed it, it was the front nearside one. We can only assume that he hadn't tightened the bolts enough. I won't be going skydiving any time soon!
Aside from the delights of Somerset, there have been a few more happies this month:
An evening talk with a local bat expert, followed by a walk along the canal at dusk to see and hear them:
 A brilliant bat detector allowing you to tune into their echolocation frequencies so you could hear them as they flew over the water. Different bats have different frequencies. We saw and heard Common Pipistrelle, Soprano Pipistrelle and Daubentons. It was magical.
A trip to Stratford Upon Avon to see this:
It was brilliant and their portrayal of Hymen was a triumph.

My hands have a tendency to develop eczema and I can usually only use boring, non-perfumed soap. I have used goats' milk soap in the past, but it tends to be pricey and doesn't really fit with the whole vegan thing. Then I found this - it smells lovely and (touch wood) so far, no eczema:
 Making another hanging basket! L came home for the weekend and she is making one too!
 More rhubarb and ginger jam:
 A trip to Oxford:

 Getting my fused glass back after firing. I've realised that my rainbow is actually upside down as I didn't want to put the wire hanger at the end with the glass tubes in case they rolled out. Never mind - at least the tubes did actually turn red in the kiln!
  Attending a mosaic making workshop at a nearby town:
The green bits of glass were some that E and I collected on the beach at Burnham. Now I just have to hang it:
 Making more energy bites - I haven't made these for ages:
Cutting out fabric for a dress. I'm not the world's best sewist and I have to take things very slowly:
Finally, I'm just off to finish making a loaf - it's so cold this morning (call this June?!) that I had to sit the dough on a hot water bottle to get it to rise properly!
Well. that's all for this week. Wishing everyone (especially those in Glastonbury!) a happy summer solstice on Friday.
Toodle Pip for now. x