Bath – Roman history and amazing buildings

Bath

Famous for it Roman baths. Magnificent to say the least but understated for it architecture and history. Bath really is a very special place.

I really fancied a little trip to this fantastic historic town but it has been a while and I find that whenever I seem to go back to a place I always find something new. maybe its because I am getting older and all of a sudden my tastes are changing. Who knows?

Bath Abbey

We visited Bath Abbey and what a place. the pictures just don’t do it credit. Sitting in the pews and looking up at the magnificent stain glass window was just blinding. The shear skill and art that had clearly gone into the making of this monument is just breath taking. Trust me if you are in Bat you need to go and see it and appreciate it magnificence.

The building itself although shadowed by its master window, is something quite amazing as well.  The work and stone masonry that has stood the test of time is a tribute to the the old ways.

a bit of history

Bath Abbey, former Benededictine monastery is part of the Anglican church. First founded in the 7th century it was recognised as Bath Abbey in the 10 century and still know as that today.

There was major restoration work was carried out by Sir George Gilbert Scott in the 1860s. It is one of the largest examples of Perpendicular Gothic architecture in the West Country.

It unbelievably seats 1200 people and is still very much used today for ceremonies, concerts and lectures. Its congregation numbers are in the hundreds, and annual visitors to this amazing place reachers numbers in the hundreds of thousands.

The choir also performs in the abbey and if you are lucky enough to witness this, i hear it it is something quiet amazing.

The Town

Everywhere you look you are surrounded by a mix of modern day life and historic buildings. With the street performers entertaining the crowds.

The masses of history wherever you look. There is literally so much to see that neither your brain or concentration can absorb it all in one go.

We stopped for coffee and cake down by the river and for a few hours i could have not imagined being in a more fantastic place.

Cheddar – cliffs rocks and beauty

Cheddar

So the weather is a little drizzling and yet you still need some fresh air. What a better place to go than the quaint and beautiful town of Cheddar.

It been years since I have been and I can honestly say I had forgotten just how beautiful this little town actually is.
The shops are all very unique and quaint. Little craft shops and art shops. The cafe’s here are also very different.

We stopped for a Bite to eat right on the stream. The views were fantastic and the staff where just so friendly. Every window had its own little picture of beauty.

So peaceful

The whole town is very quiet and peaceful, the passing crowds where mainly walkers who had been out and about exploring. All with their walking boot on and back packs. Made me a little jealous that I had not been up in the hills exploring myself. Maybe next time!

I think when I get my little van this may have to be a spot I stop at for a few days and take in the surroundings. Go for a walk or should I say a Jamie style walk.

A bit of history

The Cheddar Yeo is the stream that runs through the town and the water is crystal clear. In fact it makes up some of the feed for the local water supply. Honestly I can see why, cleaned through the rocks and reeds the water is simply amazing.

I was very surprised to find out that it in fact the stream comes down from the Mendip Hills. Part of one of Britain’s biggest underwater river systems fed by the water through the limestone rocks.
The village itself has a long history and was once a very important centre to both the Romans and the Saxons. If you look closely you can still see the signs of long ago pasts.

Cheese

It’s also no surprise that it is a village famous for its cheese but believe it or not the cheese is still made and still matured in the caves around the area.
Cheddar offers a great deal for all ages from the gorge, the hills and right through to the history tour. Something else I will need to do next time.

Literally loved it here, a few hours of peace and tranquillity. And still loads more for me to do on my return. a nice little adventure to add to my blog

Usk – The town of bloom

usk – the town of bloom

It’s strange really when I sit down and think of it. Usk is the town of bloom known to many. It’s won awards for it splendid flower parades. There appears to be a community spirit around the place with the recent “great Usk Bike Off” and everyone is getting involved. But all this is amazing in itself but nothing amazes me more than the fact I have never actually visited this quaint little town before.

I have driven through it loads of times and in fact it is a matter of 20 minutes from my house. Yet, I have never been here and enjoyed all that it has to offer.
It has some very quaint shops.

I went into one shop and it was jammed from floor to ceiling with basic brick ‘N’ brak. It amazed me how he sold anything. Clearly does alright with what he is doing though or he would have closed along time ago. The walk ways where so narrow I could hardly walk up and down.
I did however enjoy the whole concept of the place.

Living up to its name

Usk is very cute and lives up to it’s name of the town in bloom. Everywhere you look there are flowers.
Every garden is beautiful and full of colours. Even the fish and chip shop looks like it should be on the cover of chocolate box.

I visited the museum. What a treat! What a jewel in the crown for USK. In this picturesque town is a cave of history and heritage. The museum is run completely by volunteers.
Housed in an ancient malt barn the Museum has 5000+ exhibits. I was informed that these items had been collected by local enthusiasts over the past 50 years. A true monument to the work of country people in the Welsh Borders. Some of the museum peaces date back to Victorian times. Displays range from the smallest hand-tools and household items through to large agricultural machinery and vintage tractors.

I read on a plaque that the museum portrays rural life in Monmouthshire covering a period of approximately 100 years. As a registered charity and run entirely by volunteers with an addition the museum contains the Usk Visitor Centre with local information and guides together with advice and guidance about the area.
If you do go then this is a must stop location even if it is just to wonder around its history.

Loads to see and do

With a short walk to the castle there is a fair amount to do and see here. I cant believe it’s taken me this long to actually visit this lovely place.
Sadly the castle was closed but I did enjoy a pack of fish and chips in the grounds. Basking under the sun and chilling in my own world of peace and harmony. Definitely need to go back for a second trip and this time hopefully the castle will be open to.

Tintern Adventures

Tintern Abbey

Ever since I was a boy Tintern Abbey has been a popular run out location in the car. Many a picnic or walk along the river with my family. However as strangely as it sounds I have never actually been in side the Abbey itself. It has to be said all these years I have viewed from a far and I have missed out. The d

A little history

The Abbey was first founded in 1131 by Walter Fitz Richard of Clare. Walter Fitz Richard was an Anglo-Norman lord. the Abbey was then later destroyed by Henry the 8th.

My Tintern Abbey EXPERIENCE

The grounds are very special, it is so clear of the history that once surrounded this amazing place. Everywhere you look near the Abbey shows strong connections. There is a scare of time once bustling with life but now stands in ruins.

The structure shadows over you and offer’s a real sense of calm. Looking around it is still almost clear to see the touches of life that once inhabited this mighty structure. You can almost imagine what it would have been like to live here.

Entrance if you are disabled is free for both yourself and your career. I was amazed at how accessible the grounds where as long as you where relatively capable in a wheelchair.  Although I was able to use my crutches on my visit I would have been very happy to have taken my wheelchair.

You could still visualise the kitchens and the rooms off of this area. There was clear signs of the drainage system that once held its own as the most advanced drainage system of its time. If you looked hard enough you could see the last remaining traces of the medieval glass in the windows high up in the abbey’s inner walls. but you have to look hard.

An amazing place and with the right imagination you can happily experience life in  a very different time.

The white monk cafe

Now here is the place to go if you want cosy, reasonable and you are looking for good service. the Staff are all lovely and in fact I think beautiful would be a better description. I enjoyed a bit of banter with them as I was suffering with a hangover but the waitress made me smile and for me that is what counts.

The food was fantastic and the White Monks Hot chocolate was amazing. To be honest the biggest glass of water they had went down rather well in my current state.

The building itself holds some strong connections to the Abbey and there are plenty of features that show this. The mix of tables and chairs gives this cosy little room a real sense of warmth. Very well laid out Space and very welcoming.

The church of st mary the virgin

Up on the hill-side over looking the Abbey is an old church. If you look into the trees you can just see the bell tower. The church was once rebuilt in 1866 but then was destroyed by fire in 1973.

The features of the church still stands tall and proud but the last few years has seen mother nature take back what was once hers. I looked around the yard at some of the most amazing tombs. Standing landmarks from hundreds of years ago. I was very surprised to find graves there as recent as 2015.

This little treasure is very understated. stood high above the beautiful abbey it is hidden in the abbeys massive shadow. I am so glad that I decided to venture up to it. if nothing else the views where also absolutely amazing.

summary of the day

I love spending time out and about with my mother. We are and have always been very close. My Mum has always shown me that honesty is a strong quality but also sometimes life is way to short to spend it stuck in one place.

Day Out In Hay-On-Wye With Mama Mac.

Sundays are for road trips

What are Sundays for? Day trips, family time and maybe lunch out. Today I had all those things. A Day out with my Mother (Mama Mac). Hay-on-wye was our Sunday destination.

Since my Dad passed away in March 2016 life has been very different for my mother. Since my wife left in January this year I have also felt the burden of time on my own. There is nothing like the silence of your own company. Don’t get me wrong I love my own company, but after a while it is deafening. Today my mother and I decided to team up and hit the road. Go and see something different. Have a spot of food and a natter.

Hay-on-wye!

A very quaint country town. Hay-on-wye situated deep in the Welsh hills of Powys. Surrounded be stretched views and engulfed in history. Cute little shops and commonly known as the “town of books”. Hay-on-wye has a lot to offer. I have been here before but for some reason it was like it was my first time. We first hit a lovely little coffee shop called Cafe Hay.  What a lovely little place very clean, well presented and a great cup of coffee. If you go it’s not far from the car park so really hits the spot as a first stop.

Books, Books and Books!

They call Hay-on-wye the “town of books” and I can definitely see why!

Book shops are everywhere but book stalls are on every corner. Little sheds or lean too’s with shelves of books and an honesty box.

Mama Mac who loves a good read had a good nose around those! Most of them was like £1 for a hard back book or 50p for a soft back. So if you are a book-worm and out in the area stop and have a look they are there in mass.

Hay Castle

We stumble across Hay castle by accident. At first we didn’t know what it was. The building is completely run down the grounds are left un-maintained and all in all looking very sorry for itself.

But underneath all that it is a fantastic piece of history that is currently being rebuilt. I don’t really need a reason to come back to this gorgeous little town but the development of Hay Castle is something I am very excited about. I have followed them on FaceBook so will definitely be keeping a close eye on the progress.

Shops

If you are anything like me you will hate shopping! I do however love the little unusual shops that you don’t get on the high street. Hay-on-wye had loads of these little shops selling odd little items that you don’t see every day.

One little shop that absolutely stood out was a place called OtherWorldz. I loved this shop. the layout was so cool. The decor was fantastic and the overall atmosphere was rather magical. The lady that worked there was so sweet and chatty I even forced her to have a selfie with me.

The owner was in the shop next door called Satori. Also a really nice guy.  There was loads of magical stuff in his two shops. Jewellery, Crystals, Incense, Candles and Windchimes. I really want to take my friend Lewis to this shop he will love it.

My final thoughts

This town can be described as cute, as beautiful and very special. From start to finish I kept coming across more and more cool shops and lovely corners. Most of the town is wheelchair accessible however it’s not all easy as there are a lot of hills and several shops have steps. I think this is a common issue with old towns like this but for me I have always understood that it can’t really be helped as most of the properties are listed.

But over all if you are looking for a peaceful place to go  then this has to be one to put on the list.