Tag Archives: walk

If you go to the woods today…

Last weekend we went for a walk. Front after front rolled in off the sea and we spent the vast amount of the walk in clouds and mist and rain. Periodically it would clear leaving views across the moorland to the coast. As we walked through the ancient oak woodlands Exmoor ponies appeared out of the mist, walking slowly through the trees, eating.

And then, later, in farmland, we saw these chickens atop a muck heap which was spontaneously smouldering, leaving the air tinged with a slightly sweet smell of smoke. We sheltered from the wind and rain in an old church, the most isolated on Exmoor, eating boiled eggs and pork pies and cups of tea in the porch before continuing our journey back homewards.

A splendid, soul quenching, cobweb removing sort of a walk. And best of all, we set off and returned to our house on foot.

Things to do in Exmoor: West Somerset Railway

On a sunny spring Sunday morning what better is there to do than queue in an old fashioned ticket hall and purchase ‘proper’ tickets for a ride on a steam train?

We travelled in a 1950s carriage pulled by the Black Prince steam locomotive engine from Minehead to Blue Anchor were we alighted and ate an elevenses of victoria sandwich* and cups of tea from a flask in the quiet sunshine of the Up Platform before walking back along the beach all the way into Minehead.

West Somerset Railway (Minehead to Bishops Lydeard, Someset)

All images by me

*See here for American readers

Wednesday

I think I am getting used to the cottage. Obviously broadband (and therefore Spotify) helps. I cooked my third meal of the week on the Rayburn tonight and it was distinctly better than the previous two. I could even identify the ingredients such was my success at not charring.

I have unearthed the sofa. And cleared a path to it through the boxes. I have even been successful at lighting my first fire and am sat peacefully on the (buttery soft mid brown) leather sofa by it, writing this. Smug, much? I don’t mean to be. It’s just the first time I’ve been warm all week.

Went for a walk earlier. Up the back lane and followed the road/bridle path up the side of the river, past all the hunting lodges. I had thought I might walk right to the head of the valley but I got distracted by a beautiful heron gliding above the river, looking for fishes. His enormous wing span was intimidating but he clearly found me more so: with a beady stare he flapped off back the way he’d come. And so I went home. And sat on the window seat watching the dogs waiting for their owners to chat, long fur waving in the increasing wind, behaving much like four year olds wanting their parents’ attention. The glove stealing was particularly amusing.

I have also been continuing my research regarding moving from London to Somerset and my latest identification of ‘neighbour’ is Pearl Lowe. I feel our reasons for leaving the big smoke are somewhat different but, for what it’s worth, here is her advice:

A rock chick’s rural guide: Pearl Lowe’s tips for moving to the country (from here)

Don’t keep running back to town every chance you get. There’s a real change of pace and you need to embrace that. It won’t happen if you keep one foot in city life, so don’t be tempted.

Bin your heels Flat shoes and wellies (or in my case Uggs) are a must.

Be friendly and open-minded. Having kids is great as you meet other parents from school.

Get a dog Everyone has one in the country. It’s a way of life. Taking your pet for walks helps you to appreciate your surroundings.

Don’t compare your life with anyone else’s A move far from home provides a perfect chance for a fresh start.

Shopping isn’t all about Bond Street Country towns and villages can be a discerning shopper’s paradise with some fabulous artisan boutiques just waiting to be discovered. I love the Cheese Shop on Cheap St, Frome, and go to La Belle Etoffe, 37 Rossiters Road, for the most amazing furniture. I visit Dores & Rees auction house every other week looking for furniture and for linen I head to Suzannah’s in Bath.

We Swim at Babington House and for tea I like visiting the beautiful Charlton House near Bath. Other places to note are Mulberry’s outlet factory in Shepton Mallet and Well’s Trading Post, which is housed in an 11th century mill and is incredible for trinkets and unusual Native American finds. Better still, the stock changes every week.

I am not sure I will be joining her swimming at Babington House (much as I would like to) but one day I will persuade Husband to visit the Mulberry factory shop. Actually, what I am saying. I have a car. I could go tomorrow. Probably best to wait until I have been paid though.

{Image, woods and river behind our cottage, me}