Friday, April 27, 2007

Away night.


It’s ridiculous really at our age but we are both hopelessly romantic and celebrate certain dates in our calendar. During our Reunion after 30 years separation, this date was the first time we had been alone together so it was pretty special. To celebrate we took advantage of one of the DT’s special offer to stay at a country house hotel – Bindon Country House Hotel. It is in Langford Budville near Wellington.

En route we saw the Wellington Monument on the skyline and decided to deviate to get closer. Easier said than done and after circling the hill for some time, we settled for at least a closer look than we have previously had. The Monument was built following his victory over the French at Talavera.

Originally Arthur Wellesley, he took the title of Duke of Wellington after he found that his ancestors originally came from Somerset and Wellington was similar to his own name. The monument was meant to be surrounded by 24 cannons but they were mistakenly delivered to Exeter Quay and there they stayed.

Bindon House Hotel reminds me of the Sacre Coeur in Paris with its wedding cake façade. It is an imposing 17th century mansion set in an idyllic landscape – glorious gardens and woodland. The house motto is ‘Je trouve bien!’ and the house is full of beautiful paintings and tapestries. There are lots of portraits of Emma Lady Hamilton and over an aperitif MTL tried to persuade me that she was a bawdy trollop and nothing like the vulnerable beauty portrayed be darling Viv!

We wandered round the gardens and woodlands working up an appetite for the splendid meal we were about to have. Added bonuses were the intercourse bits- the plump olives and hors d’oeuvres with drinks- the bonne bouche before the first course, the tasters during the meal and the petit fours with coffee and digestifs. A novelty was a foam concoction instead of the usual sorbet.

In brief the meal was goat’s cheese with fig roll, beef and warm chocolate tart with vanilla ice cream - sheer poetry. Drinks were G&T for monsieur – kir for madame, a bottle of Merlot to share and brandy for him, Grand Marnier for yours truly. You would think after that, breakfast next day would be a modest affair but thick creamy yoghourt with delectable sliced fruits and croissants and pain au chocolat were too tempting to ignore.

Opposite the grounds of the hotel is Langford Heathfield – 228 acres of the Somerset Wildlife Trust’s Reserve with diverse habitat flora and fauna. There is:-

Purple moor-grass, sweet vernal grass,
Flea sedge and Meadow thistle.
Sneezewort and Saw-wort.
Common spotted and Heath- spotted Orchids
And the rare Pale Heath Violet found nowhere else in Somerset.
There’s Heather, Cross-leaved heath, Western gorse and Petty whin.
We wandered round this lonely place – not a soul did we see and marvelled at a wonderland fit for Oberon and Titania. The birds were singing their heads off, a wood pecker was rat –a- tatting and as we slowly drove off a startled fawn darted across the road and our delight was complete.

It had been fun to explore another part of the county and on our way home we popped into Watchet – first time for a year or so. There was the statue of the Ancient Mariner commemorating dear Coleridge. In spite of the sun it was still a little chilly so we wandered up the main street, bought some plants and came home. Always a pleasure.
Emma Lady Hamilton – the lover of Lord Nelson.
Darling Viv – Vivien Leigh – film star.
Coleridge – poet.

For some strange, infuriating reason Blogger will not let me publish the rest of the photos from Picasa and I am going round in circles – endlessly signing in to no effect The ones I have published are inferior because I couldn’t tweak them. I will try again after breakfast. GRRR
Wellinton Monument


Z said...

What a lovely description, thank you for sharing it with us, Pat.

Intercourse bits are always a bonus, aren't they, honey.... glad you had a good time.

I was in Somerset last Sunday, having lunch with friends near Chard. I still haven't got around to writing about my trip, but maybe this evening.

PI said...

Hi Z! Chard and Crewkerne were areas we looked at when we retired - this is more of a backwater but suits us. Look forward to hearing about your trip. No rush!

Lizzy said...

I just love the names of all the wildflowers. It's as if they're part of an old language that never developed over time like the rest of the English language. I wonder if it's similar in other countries...

Sounds like you had a marvellous time anyway.

PI said...

thanks Lizzy we did. I agree those names are delightful.

Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

I love intercourse bits, me.


Back in a bit to read this properly. Internet on the lam for me today - very intermittent and very very vexing. Got t get the girls from pre-school now.

PI said...

Sam: don't rush - I'm not going anywhere - except to bed:)