Watchet Week

We left Stoke on Saturday morning in good time to arrive at Lindsey’s parents at 9.30am, to prepare for the journey down to Somerset. They had booked a week in a static caravan in the small village of Blue Anchor, near to the town of Watchet in Somerset, for a break and to aid Colin’s (Lindsey’s Dad……..confusing isn’t it?) convalesence.

Blue Anchor Caravan & camping Park on the Somerset coast

After a good drive down we arrived at the town of Watchet in good time to sort out some groceries, get to the site and unpack and prepare dinner. The van was a good spec and the first night was very relaxing, except for the minor disruption of Colin turning over in bed and trying to rearrange the caravan walls with his (much too) long legs and arms.

The week was a really relaxing time with a mix of chilling in the village and visiting some fabulous English countryside venues. First off was to find a local church service to attend the following morning. After a false start in the wrong direction, we found the school the service was being held in on Sunday morning. It seemed to be a very lively Christian church with a growing congregation. So much so they had just bought a building in the centre of Watchet in which to establish a more permanent base from which to continue their growth.  The afternoon involved some traditional Sunday lunch preparation by Colin & Shirley, follow by a walk to the nearby Station of the West Somerset Railway.

The West Somerset Railway...a real blast from the past

Then back to the van for some very traditional post lunch napping and to introduce Lindsey’s parents to Colin’s full range of snoring!!

The next activity was fossil hunting on a beach just outside Watchet. Lindsey and her parents and been here before and knew it was a fossil hunter’s dream. It seemed like everywhere you looked in the cliff or in the rock’s which lined the beach, you could find fossils. Colin being the geology geek he can be, took some to add to the weight of our rucksacks………oh and yes he totally forgot to tell Linz!!

Tuesday we set off to visit Dunster Castle, but the chilling was being taken so seriously, we did not leave enough time to take in the full tour and so settled for a walk around this fabulous Somerset village. The biggest town nearby is Minehead, which was probably best known for the large Butlins camp on it’s outskirts. The camp had been one of his first sites and was still an important source of income and employment for the area. You would be wrong if you thought this was all Minehead had to offer. It only took a walk along the seafront and through one of the local churches to find out it was a town with a really rich historic past, with some fabulous scenery around it.

We bought our tickets for a trip on the Steam train and headed off to Washford.

Colin & Colin ready for the trip to Washford

 

Arriving in Washford...next stop Cleave Abbey

From the village it was a pleasant walk to Cleeve Abbey, for some very interesting history of the lives of monks in middle ages England, just prior to the antics of Henry VIII.

The hall which housed the Monks in the 1500's

We moved on, but before returning for the return trip on the train, we couldn’t be in Somerset and not sample some cider from a local producer.

Think this one's more interested in eating the apples than drinking the cider

A film on cider production and it’s resurgence in the UK was followed by some tasting, which was a little lacking in the wow factor in regard to taste but it was free.

The cider tasting was done in moderation.....honest!

Straight lines were walked back to the train and a relaxing evening in front of the telly (a real novelty for us). Well relaxing until the episode of the new series of Luther sent Linz scurrying for the safety of a pillow in front of her face. It took a bit longer for her to settle down to some quality kip that night.

We took some time away from the van and left Colin & Shirley to relax away from Colin’s snoring. We set off for Dartmoor and the well trodden walk around the punchbowl and in the hope that Linz would see some of the local wild horses. As soon as we had parked the car at the start of the walk, as if on cue a group of the horses appeared.

As if on cue, the Dartmoor ponies appeared

We tried to complete the circuit of the punchbowl with a shortcut through a farm, but had to abort this plan and retrace our steps back to the top of the walk and back to the car. Still it was some well needed exercise in one of England’s most scenic areas.

Honest Col, the Punchbowl is around here somewhere

 

There you are...the Punchbowl......just beautiful

 

We all went for a walk in the woods next to see the tallest tree in England.

Well it was the tallest in 2009...

It was great to see an unspoilt natural forest and the large trees were as ever, stunning. As we travel the world we should always remember the backyard we grew up in is just fabulous.

Is this fun or what Mr D?

It was time for exploring around Watchet itself on the Friday so we set off for a walk round the village. It was great to see the local kids getting involve with their community with contributions one of the local museums. A local artist was also showing visitors and local youngsters alike the intricacies of working with alabaster stone found in the local cliffs. The day was finished off with a meal funded by us as an early Father’s day present to Linz’s Dad, Colin, in the Smugglers Rest Pub just walking distance from the caravan.

The week had been very peaceful and it was great to spend some quality time with Linz’ Mum & Dad. We even manged some ‘sport’ as Colin was introduced to the art of Jacari (sorry you’ll just have to google it!!). Saturday saw us pack up and head off back to Birmingham and Nottingham.

We had agreed to meet up with Chloe, one of Linz’s university mates to help celebrate her birthday with a meal and some drinks in Nottingham. it was a really good night out, finished off with some live blues music, before retiring to Karen’s house for some welcome sleep.

Sunday saw us back in Stoke to meet up with Colin’s Sisters, Richard & David, his brothers-in-law, and his nephew James to celebrate Father’s Day with his Dad George. Later in the day we were able to met the latest addition to Colin’s enormous family. His niece Michelle had given birth to Jack Robert  a few days earlier, and it was a real bonus to be able to see him on this quick visit to Stoke.Richard did us proud with a very tasty Sunday lunch and we were finally able to let George have the Alpaca Jumper we had brought for him in Peru. We had a message from Colin & Shirley in the day to thank us for the same gift we had brought for Lindsey’s Dad, Colin.  Linz’s Mum however, had some comments to share about our card to her Dad which had the picture of a monkey that Linz claimed to be a picture of her Mum, just for her Dad’s delectation!! She’s a brave girl.

All visits and events complete, the next day we set off for our return to Treiso in Italy, to get the house ready for two sets of visitors.

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