Saturday, 5 November 2011

Wonderful time in Wells, but cheesed off in Cheddar

It was my first full day in Somerset, so I went first to Wells, the famous cathedral city. I wore the Dubarry boots. They got noticed, I can tell you. But that wasn't the thing that gladdened my heart.

Having inspected St Cuthbert's Parish Church, and a shop or two, I went to the Cathedral Cafe, had a nice lunch, and then toured the Cathedral itself. I had to buy a photography permit for £3, but I simply regarded that as my donation.

I've visited cathedrals all over the country, but I'd not been inside this one before. I'd only viewed the very elaborate West Front. Well, the interior was very impressive indeed.

Eventually I found the Chapter House, which is reached up some ancient and very worn stone steps. God knows how the more infirm Chapter members climb them. But they look highly picturesque, extremely photogenic, and once aloft the fancy fan-vaulting in the round Chapter House was well worth the effort. I had the place to myself, but as I tackled the descent, a guided party caught up with me, led by a learned cathedral bod, who urged his charges to take great care when climbing the steps. As he said this, he saw me coming down with a slow, careful tread, and he added 'just like that delightful lady there'. Well! I descended like a blushing princess, apologising for holding them up, but glowing with pleasure.

The rest of the afternoon maintained that glow until - rather on impulse - I decided to visit Gough's Cave in Cheddar Gorge. The girl at the ticket office recommended a £10 deal that included a free drink and cake at the adjacent Costa Coffee. I took it. Then discovered that I'd paid for a 'Senior Citizen Special'. Oh no! She'd assumed I was already 60! That brought me down to earth somewhat.

Still, I suppose that I'd paid less than the ordinary adult rate; and there was that Costa bit to look forward to. So I put my best boot forward, and advanced into the well-lit and flat-floored cave complex.

Actually, the cave and its passages were worth seeing, and I enjoyed the stalagmites and stalagtites. But I didn't much like the handset I was given. This was my audio guide to the cave features. It was easy to use, but the male person supplying most of the information was putting on a rich but pseudo 'west country' voice as if he were Jethro doing a comedy turn at the pier playhouse. There was another voice too, meant to be that of the stone-age skeleton lying in a side passage, but it was ridiculously posh. These things took the edge off the visit.

And the Costa deal didn't mean a strong Americano plus a yummy cake. It meant a weak pot of tea and a scone, the sort of thing you'd give an old biddy off a coach. It was OK, but frankly I'd have done better to skip it and enjoy a brew-up back at the caravan.

Tonight, however, I'll raise my spirits at Weston-super-Mare, watching the big firework display on the seafront. Should be good!


  1. Possibly my all time favourite photograph was of the sea of steps in that cathedral. It was made by Fredrick Evans who not only got a photo permit but took in a blacksmith to remove any offending fixings! Knew it was too good to be true...

    They did things differently a hundred years ago.

  2. There is nothing quite like an English Cathedral.
    'Delightful lady' - we all knew that anyway. Cheddar doesn't seem to be of the same class at all.


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