Somerset has been calling for a few years now. After vacationing in Cornwall/Devon back in 2010 and driving through the beautiful Mendip Hills of Somerset to get there, we’ve had this lovely county on our holiday hit list.
One of our favorite things is renting a self-catering cottage in the (relatively tame) wilds of rural Britain.
The price is unbeatable for what you get, and you don’t have to eat out all the time either which saves more money and also your arteries! Bonus! Having a log fire at your beck and call in the middle of winter is pretty sweet too. But let’s not dwell on the question of whether we successfully lit it — or not.
We hiked out to Brean Down, a little cliff peninsula that juts straight out in the sea. The wind almost blew me over; the Philosopher insisted I was safe but I’ve never trusted his judgment under pressure. I think his arm socket suffered the consequences.
We took in Cheddar Gorge (where cheddar grows, of course) one afternoon. It was lovely, except when we took a wrong turn into a farm and the guard dog shot out at us from across the yard, barking and baring its fangs. It turns out our instincts for dealing with the threat differed slightly. I jogged backwards away from it, sweet-talking in what I hoped was a soothing doggy voice. The Philosopher turned tail and sprinted away. (This tactic, I’ll have you note readers, left his defenseless wife in the danger zone, unprotected. But maybe it was my fault for trying to talk dog as a primary means of excape. The fact that my husband told me what he would have done to the dog should it have attacked me was some small consolation – and also very entertaining.)
One of the funniest things about England is this private/public land issue. The right to ramble basically renders landowners powerless to prevent strangers hiking across their fields. Seems this confusing sign is the best they can come up with. Oh, and guard dogs. (We also saw a terrifying plaque that read “Bull in field. Proceed with caution.” That sign was quite effective.)
While the Philosopher worked, I took in Glastonbury. Despite the hype, the highlight of the trip for me was this gorgeous alleyway, which was considerably enhanced by the smell of bacon frying in the cafe at its entrance.
The wonderful owners of our cottage put a tree up for the duration of our stay. Since we had not one (NOT ONE) Christmas decoration up at home this year, this tree basically saved us from Scroogehood. Sadly, I neglected to take a single photo. But! I can thoroughly recommend the Byre, and Somerset.