Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Midsomer Murders

As I left Glastonbury I passed the church in which I'd missed the organ recital yesterday. I decided to attend the service in progress to spend some moments in tribute to my brother-in-law who'd died unexpectedly and suddenly a few days earlier. It was the first
time I'd attended a regular church service since my childhood. Vale Graham.

As I left Glastonbury I realised I hadn't yet finished with the 'Levels' and set a course for the town of Wells. It was not on my planned route but I recalled it had a magnificent cathedral.

A short part of the route lay across farmland (Bishops Way) and once again I was confronted with a big herd of cattle -  Herefords I think. One of them persistantly tried to outbluff me with a charge but my own charge and yelled profanities won the day and they gave up trying to scare me. I think it must be just this breed because most cattle ignore me as I walk through them. Even bulls generally ignore me (but then so do a lot of people). I'd heard too in recent days that a farmer had died somewhere in the South West under his heard of cattle.
I reached Wells just on lunchtime and stopped at the first pub to rest and rehydrate after yet another day of high temperatures. As I ordered my usual (disappointing for some) pint of cordial I noticed the entire bar spread with a banquet of counter snacks of pies pasties and the like. The barman seeing my sunburnt and sweaty state urged me on in spite of my modest drinks outlay.

The closer into the town centre I reached the more interesting Wells became. I'd no idea it was of such ecumenical importance with a beautiful moated Bishops Palace and too much antiquity to describe here.

Sometimes the best discoveries are those made before reading the guidebooks.

After touring the grounds if the Bishops Palace I then entered the cathedral proper. And I might add made the recommended entry donation - unlike the whole German tour group in front of me.

The cathedral and cloisters are among the moat stunning I've seen. I found it so hard to tear myself away. Even as I did yet more beautiful ecumenical buildings lined my route out of town. I will return!

I returned to my planned route feeling a little delinquent. I came to a cross roads of back lanes that had, all in the radius of about one kilometre, the following:

- a cafe (attached to a rural landscape supplies centre) that made nice cappuccinos;

- a castle mound;
- a roman road (site of);
- several railway bridges; and
- and old railway station.

At first the 'Private Property' and 'Beware of Dog' signs made me pause in approaching the Sation. But I thought the dog threat a challenge so wandered in to find a very friendly and informative Lee (from Deptford), who recounted what he knew of the station's fascinating history (too much info for this Blog).

As I neared Midsomer Murders (woops I mean Midsomer Norton) I started to get anxious about a bed for the night. The hotel I thought I'd lined up weeks before was not answering the phone. Nor was my fallback B&B.

I checked with every Pub / Inn / Tavern that I passed but it all pointed to wild camping or more up market accommodation then my normal range for this adventure.

The prevailing opinion of the locals was that a hotel in the next town of Radstock was my only option. As it turned out my route there took me along a new and charming 'Rail Trail' at the end of which I found my accommodation finally at 7:30pm. In fact I found several perfect wild pitches within  a few hundred meters of the hotel but the opportunity of a shower and all the other pleasures of a decent hotel room got the better of me.

And just up the road was the town of 'Haydon' waiting for me to explore tomorrow.