|Nick and Dev - shorts are on, coffee poured.|
A busy July - Summer has arrived in the UK, moods have lifted and we are all making the most of it.
Wow - they really do things properly when they do it - rains comes down in torrents and roads are flooded, snow arrives in April just when you think Spring is on its way and then the mercury rises in July and stays there and we have heat wave warnings!! Oh for Change, it is fabulous, no chance of complacency as we enjoy the extremes!
This month has seen us revel in the company of wonderful family, old friends from NZ and even old neighbours from NZ, drive hundreds of miles and visit some spectacular places right here in the UK.
|Tony & Anne|
We found a delightful cottage in Axbridge, Somerset through Airbnb and Anne (Dave's sister) and partner Tony joined us for four days. A former Market town, half the size it used to be thanks to a bye pass road, with a medieval market square, narrow streets, old buildings and plenty of character and charm - even a little Museum run by the locals, full of local area history.
|Dave, Tony & Anne|
We were a couple of miles from the Cheddar Gorge and Caves, a vibrant little tourist spot. This is one of England's most iconic and spectacular landscapes, with dramatic limestone cliffs rising almost 500feet, elaborate cave systems, some almost cathedral sized, and surrounded by 360 acres of Nature Reserve. And of course home to good old Cheddar Cheese, now made all around the world but the local traditionally made cheeses are often left to mature in the caves giving it a unique flavour.
Glastonbury was only a stones throw away and the festival was almost in full swing by the time we left. Would have fun to have joined the throngs of people there, especially with a dry weekend predicted and the Rolling Stones due to be the major attraction. Their first time ever playing at Glastonbury - most in their sixties but performing like they're crazy rockers. Just sad we couldn't even hear anything.
|Postman's legs and spare body parts|
|Nick and Anne|
We spent a fabulous day in Wells, England's smallest city, with only a population of 12,000. But it can call itself a city because of the famous 13th century cathedral. It was Market day, the town square was a hive of activity with a mixture of great stalls, some producing some delicious local produce, both edible and otherwise, other yummy organic bits but not so local. With some wonderful music in the background, we sat, enjoyed good coffee and felt free to sample some of our homemade baking we'd bought earlier from some of the stalls. A great way to keep us around a bit longer and encourage us to buy more.
Then spent the afternoon wandering through the famous Cathedral, one of the most impressive we've seen. Built in 12th century it was the first English Cathedral designed in the new Gothic architectural style. The front of the cathedral has some amazing carvings while inside the views are breath taking, especially the unique 'scissor arch'.
The Bishops moated Palace and 14 acres of garden are home to the natural springs or wells, from which the city takes its name. Once through the gatehouse, over the moat and through the drawbridge you feel as if you are in a castle but instead a wonderful tranquil residence. There have been bishops living in this splendid palace for over 800 years. While there we watched some rather eccentric Englishmen, smartly dressed in their whites, enjoy a game croquet while we indulged a good old cup of tea.
|They knew how to party|
|Stunning garden art|
From Axbridge to Sherborne where we spent a wonderful weekend with cousins Annie and Christopher and old friends from Marlborough Dinny and Alastair. A great reunion of family and friends in the gorgeous Dorset countryside - wandering around the Minterne Gardens on a sunny Sunday morning.
|It must be important|
|David, Christopher, Annie, Dinny and Alastair|
Then over to admire the much talked about York Cathedral and another delightful little town Wetherby, where we introduced Del, a dear friend and old neighbour from Marlborough days, to a rather fun Airbnb. Do have to admit we saw more of Weatherby than York - too many people, good weather in the UK seems to triple the amount of tourists, so we'll come back at another time.
|Del, David & Nick|