Friday, October 26, 2007

Half-term break

We took advantage of the half-term break to use a raffle prize I had won at a summer fair for two nights' bed and breakfast in a Young's pub. Rather than stay somewhere on the South Circular (most Young's pubs are in south London), we investigated locations further afield and plumped for Burnham-on-Sea in Somerset. The Dunstan House Inn offered reasonable accommodation and Burnham-on-Sea was a good base for exploring:

Only a few miles away are the famous Wookey Hole caves, which I remember visiting on a school trip. Since I last went there, they have turned the legend of the witch of Wookey Hole into a bit of a theme park and I felt disappointed that the guide told us scary tales of witches in the caves, frightening the children. The caves are scary enough and I think people sometimes underestimate the power of children's imagination - why feed them tales of witches when the caves would be enough on their own? The first cavern is beautifully lit with pink and blue lighting as you walk into it and it looked quite magical as we went in. The caves are still used for maturing cheddar cheese (the constancy of the temperature means that they offer the perfect environment - although the smell is very strong on the way out!). There is a paper mill adjacent to the caves and the children were able to have a go at making paper too. The paper is made using cotton rather than wood pulp, which means that it has a lovely quality to it and is guaranteed to last at least 500 years without yellowing. (I managed to leave my camera in the car for much of the holiday, which is why there is a dearth of pictures!)

We also visited Wells cathedral, which was beautiful, and the service that was under way at the time added to its tranquil atmosphere. On the way back we visited Avebury, a truly wonderful landscape, and part of Wiltshire's exceptional neolithic heritage:

Much of the original excavations were funded by Alexander Keiller, who made his fortune from marmalade.

On Thursday I took the children to Claremont Landscape Garden in the drizzle just to get some more fresh air. We thoroughly enjoyed doing the Halloween trail around the grounds, which were very picturesque even on a cloudy day:

I had many plans for my knitting over the weekend and made some progress on Birch for the school raffle in the car:

I did get distracted (as usual!) and decided that I would knit my Mum something for her birthday - rather last minute as it was her birthday last week! We went to see her today, by which time I had finished this (please excuse the poor photos - it seems very dark at the moment!):

A scarf in the handspun cashmere I bought at Ally Pally. The pattern is a variation on the Misti Alpaca Ribs and Ruffles scarf, although I used more stitches on the width. It is soooo soft and has a lovely quality when knitted up, although it is quite fuzzy and has not got good stitch definition. She loved it, and has just bought a new coat, which it will go with perfectly!


Anonymous Jill said...

I remember Wookey Hole Caves the way you did - I took my children there about 40 years ago and it was quite scary enough on its own. I shan't go back there, now you say it has all changed!

7:47 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

You guys take the BEST holidays! I always love the photos.

1:00 AM  

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