Summer had arrived with a vengeance. A delightfully sunny morning greeted us through Billy’s sun roof. Barry and Irene had offered to show us something of Somerset’s attractions and, as we were already somewhat familiar with the Somerset levels, we decided upon an introduction to the Quantock Hills.
Since we were awake early, our first task (after tea, of course) was to visit the local Sainsbury superstore to fix the situation vis-a-vis our deplorable lack of wine. It would have been terribly impolite to drink Barry and Irene dry without contributing some supplies. We started this trip unfamiliar with Sainsburys (our nearest is in Milton Keynes) but we’ve become quite impressed with them (notable exception: their cheese selection is distinctly uninspiring). Most enjoyable was a slogan of theirs on stickers and fridge magnets: "Take an Old Bag Shopping". Wonderful! A sticker for the car and a fridge magnet for my mother 🙂
Deplorable booze situation fixed, Barry and Irene duly arrived and we loaded the walking boots and set off for the Quantocks. These turned out to be delightfully rolling hills largely, where we were at least, covered in some very traditional broad-leafed woodland. It makes such a change to see the beautiful fresh green of beech trees instead of the dark and somber, all-too-common managed conifer plantations under which bluebells would stand no chance. (Nor, indeed, does anything else.) As well as the expected footpaths, there were tracks for the more energetic mountain bikers, too. Probably because it was a good day for thermal activity, buzzards a-plenty were whirling about keeping us entertained on our walk. It’s as well to ignore the small blot on the distant landscape that is the Butlins holiday camp in Minehead but, being so far away, that is easily done.
We returned to more than replace our used calories with further rounds of eating and drinking before bidding farewell to our hosts for their excellent hospitality.
Somerset bears further investigation. I still have to taste some traditional Somerset cider.