Friday, July 09, 2010

A Day at the Beach

Our first stop was the National Trust nature reserve at Fyne Court near Bridgewater. Access was via miles of single-track road flanked by high banks and hedges. We were heart-in-mouth all the way that we would meet a car coming in the other direction- worse, a tractor - and have to reverse for miles. In the event we got lucky.

Clare watching the birds at Fyne Court

The birds in the tea area were very tame. Clare was checking them out and soon one came to our very table (below) accompanied by a fledgling which it fed. These were National Trust crisps of course: quite lacking in Hydrogenated Fats.

On our table, eating our crisps

Our next port of call was Watchet where we had lunch at the Harbour Inn. I have to say that while Clare was satisfied with her home-curried chicken, my Caribbean chicken was on the warm-rather-than-hot side. At time of writing I have NOT succumbed to food-poisoning.

Clare at the Marina at Watchet

Most of the Watchet sea-front is the harbour, pictured below.

The author fronting the sea exit at Watchet

You can see Barry and Cardiff across the Severn

However, there is a beach of sorts - very pebbled (below).

The West Beach at Watchet

That was just fine for Clare as she's collecting pebbles to decorate her bathroom.

Pebbles for home decoration

We soon zoomed on from Watchet towards Blue Anchor, expecting the possibility of a sandy beach. We were quite surprised to find that the extended 'beach' was merely shingle while "Blue Anchor" as a resort with amenities appeared not to exist. Along the mile or so of beach-front there is a parallel line of parking bays fronting a strip development of caravan parks: we didn't stop.

On the way back to Wells we stopped at Coleridge Cottage, home of Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) the Romantic poet, author of "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" and "Kubla Khan". The cottage itself, enlarged since Coleridge's day, is neat and clean, a far cry from its contemporary cold, damp, mouse-infested state.

I am not a fan of the Romantics: Coleridge, Keats, Byron, Shelley and the like with their rich-boy rural-tourist archaicisms and their over-the-top, sentimental, self-indulgent homage to trees, flowers, birds, damp, fog and the other delights of the English countryside.

I'm much more interested in Coleridge's use of opium, how much he actually fancied Wordsworth's sister Dorothy and whether his long-suffering wife Sara really did "accidentally" drop that boiling chicken soup on his foot, which meant he had to stop those long creative countryside walks with his friend's sister.

I'm reading my second Philip Roth novel of the last few weeks (the first was Everyman) and coincidentally Exit Ghost mentions some of Coleridge's work, specifically Frost At Midnight (another Romatic dirge I'm afraid).

But Roth is truly excellent.