The yucky dip

Today we were off to Bath so Mirinda could have her semi-regular meeting with her supervisor. Given Sophie and Tom now live just outside Bath in a new house we haven’t yet seen, we figured we’d make a weekend of it and visit them tomorrow.

I left the girls with Sue only to discover that she was planning to go to Bath (for the day) to pick up her daughter and would be taking all the dogs with her. What fun! Both Sue and Mirinda wondered about the possibility of bumping into each other and wondering what Emma would do.

As it was, it didn’t turn out that way so we were spared that particular experience.

Rather than the university (where Mirinda’s meetings usually are) today we were going to her supervisor’s house which, of course, meant driving through the traffic horror that is Bath. This is very irritating because we’ve only just recently discovered the back way into the university, avoiding Bath.

Still, we valiantly tackled the mayhem and eventually pulled up in the required crescent where we sat in Max, waiting for the resident’s visitor electronic parking pass to be activated. Then Mirinda went off for her meeting and I went down the hill to the closest pub which happened to be the White Hart.

On the walk down the remarkably steep hill, I came across this faceless, garden hatted chap.

Standing guard outside the Natural Theatre Co building

He is made of concrete and stands taller than most people. Quite unusual and I feel like we’d like one for the garden. I reckon he’d look pretty good standing in the middle of what Mirinda mistakenly calls ‘the lawn.’

So I sat in the pub, working on the war dead, drinking a number of pints of Butcombe Original and being entertained by a wonderful 70’s mixed tape all tracks of which I knew. As did a few of the other people in the pub if their reactions were anything to go by.

Gradually the diners left until it was just me and the staff left. I worked on.

The White Hart

The plan was for Mirinda to text me when she’d finished her meeting and I’d struggle up the hill to Max but, having already downed three pints in two hours, I felt I needed to stop drinking and start struggling.

The hill had been quite an effort getting down but that was nothing compared with the return trip. I walked (very, very slowly) behind a chap with a stroller. His story bears the telling.

In the stroller was an infant and around the stroller were dotted many bits and pieces of ‘stuff’ I can only assume he’d purchased and was carrying home. Every now and then something would fall off the stroller and start to roll back down the hill – it was so steep that even the square things rolled. He would apply the brakes to the stroller then retrieve the object and once more try and wedge it into the general melee of merchandise.

Each time he stopped I would start to catch up. Just as I’d reach the stroller, he’d manage to set off again. It was almost a hare and tortoise situation. Oddly enough he wasn’t in the least put out by his constant need to go back and forth, stop and start – the infant was asleep. I guess they do it all the time. 

The chap with the stroller is in the yellow shirt ahead

Finally I reached base camp, halfway up the hill. A conveniently placed bench adequately served to rest my aching limbs while I waited for Mirinda to appear which she did, eventually. We jumped into Max and headed off for Midsomer Norton.

Mirinda had booked us into The Old Priory which, believe it or not, was once a priory. It is rumoured to have a secret tunnel connecting it to the Catholic church while the building is actually almost next door to the Anglican church.

Originally built in the 12th century (and there’s still bits of the original building extant) The Old Priory is a beautiful building, lovingly converted and maintained by Matthew and Melody as a B&B with the slopiest floors I’ve ever almost stood upright on.

Seriously, there’s no way you could have put a bowling ball on the floor of our room and expect it to stay still until it hit a wall. When you’re unsteady on your feet to start with, walking into a room where nothing is level really starts to become a test of balance. Fortunately the room had a massive bed to fall onto when required.

View from our room

Melody is Chinese and a very jolly lady. I was wearing the t-shirt I bought in Beijing which I was assured by the woman who sold it to me, translated to ‘dragon’ in English. I’ve never been certain, thinking it could be one of those jokes played on non-Chinese readers and actually said ‘idiot’ instead. However, the minute Melody saw my t-shirt she said “Ah, dragon!” pointing at the Chinese character.

I explained how happy this happenstance observation had made me and she explained she was Chinese from Taiwan. Matthew, on the other hand, is British. From Britain.

Having settled into our room we then moved out to find a restaurant.

Midsomer Norton (an excellent spot for a murder if ever there was one) does not have a lot of restaurants. The Greek one was a kebab place, the pub only does bar food and the Thai was full. It would appear that to find a good restaurant in Midsomer Norton you have to get into your car and go somewhere else. Having driven from Surrey and through Bath, we really didn’t want to drive anywhere else today.

There’s a few takeaways including a Balti House next door to the Thai restaurant. The Balti House also has a few tables in the room next door. We decided to risk it, asking at the desk if the restaurant was open. It was.

As it turned out, the food was lovely. There was the usual poppadoms with the four dips to go with them (Why is there always three that are lovely and one that is horrible? I must ask Monali.) which we followed with some delicious cauliflower and aubergine veg sides. The chicken and lamb dishes were also lovely though the mango lamb thing was far too sweet for either of us.

They didn’t serve alcohol so we drank water. This is very odd for me but, having had quite a lot of beer at The White Hart, I felt I could manage without for dinner.

The walk back to our accommodation was pleasant enough though, as an example of what Midsomer Norton is like, this was painted on a door in the High Street.

They need to be told this?

I have no idea what sort of person leaves rubbish outside a door on the High Street of a small town. I know we get some irresponsible teenage litterers in Farnham Park but even they, I feel, would not stoop to leaving rubbish outside the shops in the Borough.

Back in our room we collapsed onto the bed (literally in my case) and read for a bit before going to sleep.

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