Sunday, February 7, 2010

A weekend away .... and a walk at Blackdown Rings

It takes a very special occasion to lure me back into a big city, but last weekend was Rosie's 21st birthday, so to Bristol I went. The ungrateful canine pair went happily off to their luxury holiday accommodation (not even a casual wave of a paw as they fell over each other in their haste to enter their temporary abode - huh - after all I do for them!) Then, after spending the night in a strangely empty and unhomelike house I boarded the Cross Country train at Totnes. The actual journey is only an hour and a half, and the section of route where the train runs alongside the sea at Dawlish is magical - a treat in itself.

The hustle and bustle at Bristol station is always slightly disconcerting to a country dweller like myself, but over the past few years I've learned to navigate the tunnels and stairs with confidence, soon locating Townie Husband just outside the ticket barriers. Then into a taxi to be whisked off to our hotel at Avonmouth - overlooking the famous suspension bridge.

Clifton village yielded an interesting afternoon's shopping (me) and one or two nice pubs (him)

A florist's shop. Great to take a photo, but the prices of the blooms were, I thought, horrifyingly steep. Still, guess these are city prices....

Then came the sightseeing. A very exotic resident was spotted enjoying the view - spot the golden giraffe below!!

The view was well worth enjoying - it's hard to imagine how 19th century engineers could construct such a bridge without the machinery we have today. And indeed, how Isambard Kingdom Brunel could conceive such a design - after all it was created to take horses and carriages over the Avon Gorge, but today carries many thousands of cars across the gap.

Clifton Bridge and the Avon Gorge

Then yesterday I took the dogs up to Blackdown Rings. It's an Iron Age Hill Fort, on top of which a Norman motte and bailey castle was constructed. The views across the countryside are stupendous, though the hill itself doesn't appear very high from below. It's a great walk as Amy can potter alongside me while Ben can charge around playing at being a Saxon hunting dog (or something similar). And there were no sheep yesterday either which meant I could relax too.

When we've had a lot of rain the ditches fill with clear, cold peaty water which the dogs love to splash around in .....

"Last one in's a sissy!" says Ben

"Not me!" says Amy (spot the bow wave!)

"Come on Mum, it's lovely!"

But I didn't. Guess that makes me the sissy then!

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