An unexpected trip to Bath

Mirinda has been looking forward to attending a conference in Bath for ages but the sickness that has plagued her for the last week and a half looked like it was going to hold her back. Though her sickness has now degenerated to a very irritating cough and a gurgling chest, she still feels quite weak. But she really wanted to attend so we decided she would.

This morning, having walked into Farnham for supplies, I worked out how she could make the two hour car trip with less stress than it would normally create. I would go with her. Then I’d catch a few trains back.

The drive is two hours (even taking into account the appalling traffic when you get to Bath), the train is only 40 minutes longer so I didn’t mind. It helps that I don’t work! It also helped that we could book her into the hotel where the Monday night conference dinner is set to be.

So we packed her bag, set Linda the task of finding the best way and set off. True to form, we took two hours and pulled into the car park of the Francis Hotel at about 3:30pm. Check in was a breeze (though Mirinda wasn’t exactly at her friendliest to the poor girl on reception) and the room was lovely. We dumped the bags and I sorted out the wifi for her before heading out for a wander and snack.

A general street scene

I am always raving about the great service I always get at Starbucks but it seems to be more a localised thing. Farnham, South Kensington, New York – these places are excellent when it comes to service. Sadly the same cannot be said for the Bath Starbucks we went into today. I was constantly making sure it was, in fact, a Starbucks as the service reminded me more of a Costa.

Then, to round it all off, a rough looking woman sat between us and another couple and started to roll a cigarette. The other couple moved away as did we as soon as Mirinda had finished her croques monsieur. It was really an awful experience.

But worse was to come. Mirinda decided she needed to go into the Radley shop to make herself feel better. It was in the window of the Radley shop that we witnessed a young serving girl hit herself in the head. We felt it only right that we should tease her about it. This, naturally prompted us to spend a lot of money on a new bag for Mirinda and a new wallet for me. It also prompted Mirinda to remark that it was lucky the serving girl, who had admitted she was incredibly clumsy, worked in a leather shop rather than one full of glassware.

I feel I need to explain something. When I said that I needed a new wallet, Mirinda claimed I was always buying new wallets. Can I just say right here that I can’t actually remember the last time I bought a wallet. The one I was using was a present from Fiona and Andrew about ten years ago. I felt justified in buying a new one. So I did. A nice Radly wallet.

Now laden with a massive carry bag, we wandered down to the river then around the back streets, winding up at the Roman baths, where we saw a man floating in the air with no obvious signs of support. People had gathered around trying to work out how such a thing was possible. Mirinda claimed he was using massive repulse magnets. I claimed it was pixie magic. We’ll never know but I think my explanation was far more likely.

Down by the river, the baskets are flourishing

We also noticed that the little food shop where we sat and had lunch the last time we were in Bath has been completely refurbished into something that’s now called The Roman Baths Kitchen. Sadly we’d already eaten but the next time we visit we will definitely have lunch there. We also found a Mad Hatters Tearoom…another place we’ll have to visit next time. Just goes to show that there’s always more places to see.

The back of Bath Cathedral

There were also an awful lot of Regency Ladies wandering the streets. If one really stretched one’s imagination, one could almost have been transported back to a time when Jane Austen roamed the streets. Mind you, it’s a massive stretch given the cars and general lack of mud.

The Jane Austen Mob just after the bank heist

Back at the hotel, I made sure Mirinda was nice and comfortable and knew where the room service menu was located before setting off for the station.

436 trains later and a goodly walk from the station and I was home. An enjoyably unexpected day out.

After yesterday’s rant, I just have to include this bit of genius. Just shows how incredible the British sense of humour is.

Topless Kate

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