Tuesday, November 08, 2011

And Finally…

It was heartening to find that Ilminster still had good old-fashioned shops – in spite of the advent of Tesco. We visited The Minster which we first saw 26 years ago when we were house hunting. We so nearly bought a house east of the M5 but even then I found the main roads relentlessly busy. We lunched at The Dolphin where the roof was being repaired and I ended up in the men’s loo - the ladies being hidden behind a picture meant to portray its identity but too subtle for me.

Lunch was good – senior citizen’s rates for Seafood Florentine – salmon, smoked haddock, prawns, mash and cheese. The weather broke on the way home so we were glad of a comfy place to come back to. MTL remarked that the environs were how England used to be. We booked to have dinner at the Farthings restaurant in the village. We have stayed there a couple of times on anniversaries.

I wanted MTL to see the church and Chard’s grave although he said he had seen them before – possibly before my time. To make it easier for him we drove out of the grounds then down towards the village until we came to the entrance back in the grounds to the church. When we were ready to leave I discovered my camera was missing. I scooted on foot through the grounds to The Cider House, bumped into John for a quick chat and slightly panicked when I found my camera missing. Scooting back to the church I had a quiet moment to calm down and eventually found it in a pew where I had put it down to read the blurb to MTL. Phew!

Our plan was lunch at the Canal Inn Wrantage but they had cooker problems so we found the Bell Inn at Curry Mallet which did very nicely – Liver and bacon – mash for me but I noted that MTL’s chips were gorgeous.

On Wednesday – after a hair do (for me) in Ilminster where - so impressed with the heated styling brush the stylist used I bought one – Babyliss PRO which so far seems a good buy. The Square and Compass had been praised in the visitor’s book - at Ashill. A large notice said Park in Field. Ever obedient MTL – for some reason drove to the nether reaches and parked the car whilst I held the gate open for him. Unfortunately when I went to close it the heavy metal rung dropped on my left forefinger which elicited the odd adjective and even now looks slightly crooked. As we neared the entrance we saw a perfectly good open car park to the side of the pub. We were not thrilled to find it was closed for lunch. I even popped inside to check and found a bar lady collecting up last night’s glasses.

Thank goodness for The Ashill Inn which was empty but a pensioner’s meal was promised. ‘They come at 1pm!’ a pleasant lady told us so we sat with a drink awaiting the invasion. ‘I hope they don’t come before,’ she said’ I haven’t done the peas.’

That was a jolly lunch time.

Thursday I did some prior tidying so Friday wouldn’t be too arduous and - in our best bibs and tuckers we dined royally at The Farthings.

So many people had written glowingly of The Farmer’s Arms at West Hatch we saved it for Friday. We knew it was difficult to find with instructions such as – ‘If you see the RSPCA centre you have gone too far.’ (depends which way you approach it) and ‘It isn’t really West Hatch but another village whose name I have forgotten.’ We scoured the land and were about to call it a day when we bumped into a house agent (not literally ) who said she believed it had closed down - that it had been tremendously popular, the owners had sold up , left and took the custom with them. She recommended the Greyhound at Staple Fitzpaine. When she heard we didn’t have a Sat Nav she pointed out the Blackdown Hills and said it was that way slightly to the right. Miraculously we found it and even spotted a dilapidated Farmer’s Arms en route.

The Greyhound was marvellous – that and the Bird in Hand at North Curry were our best experiences. I wonder if we should get a Sat Nav. Would MTL listen?

To avoid the network of roads we asked the barman for a more direct route back to Hatch Beauchamp. I’m not sure who got it wrong but we ended up in Taunton in the rush hour and I will draw a veil over the next half hour. It was relaxing to have a last wander round John’s new walk and I was sorry to leave the utter peace and tranquillity. There is always a fly in the ointment. There were wasps – perfectly manageable – they were very dopey, didn’t sting us but would drop on us at odd times. I think it must have been the time of year and it certainly didn’t put us off. I’m tempted to book for next May but think it’s probably wiser to wait for MTl’s scan in February.

See Photos below.

BTW this post illustrates why I don’t write a book about the Inns we visit – it is such – as Ernest would say A Moveable Feast


The Unbearable Banishment said...

Is it my imagination or do all of the photos you post contain clear, blue skies? What happened to the stereotypical dreary English countryside weather? Have you become a Photoshop master and digitally altered your pics?

Granny Annie said...

Delightful and interesting days. I so envy your outings. You must have really breathed a sigh of relief to locate the camera. It seems I'm always leaving something behind. And I'm with The Unbearable Banishment regarding the beautiful blue skies.

Pat said...

B: I swear i haven't a clue about photo shop. Occasionally I click Picasa's 'I'm feeling lucky' which sometimes lightens or darkens but the weather - on the whole was good and people say when the weather is good in the UK it takes some beating.

Granny Annie: horrid feeling when you feel something is missing.

R. Sherman said...

Good stuff as always, both the story and photos.


David Edward Linus said...

glad to visit with you today - and your traveling show!

Pat said...

Randall: that's always good to hear:)

David: I appreciate your visit:)


it's bright blue sunny skies here today - and while there is a definite chill in the air it is beautiful so i cannot complain really - and it's true, your photos are filled with beautiful days and gorgeous landscapes! so glad you found your camera, by the way - oh, and that funeral sign in one of your photos - very weird, i thought! ;)

Pat said...

Gypsywoman: but then it was probably near the time when children were sent up chimneys to clean them - poor things.

mapstew said...

What a wonderful time, and place! :¬)


lom said...

'Hidden behine a picture-but to subtle for me' hahaha I am glad that I am not the only one, and Ive done it more that once!

LL Cool Joe said...

Wow you do a lot of eating out! I thought we did, but no where near as much as you.

I'm just on my way out for a pub lunch right now, and I know I'll end up ordering chips!

Pat said...

Map: thank you:)

LOM: glad to hear it. Doesn't one feel foolish?

Joey: it's only high days and holidays.