This year I am taking more holiday. Like everyone, my life feels like it hasn't moved for two years, and over the past couple of months I've felt like it's significantly affecting my mood, and my overall attitude to my life. I feel totally uninspired by taking pictures, right now, and that is something that has always been able to lift me up. That's probably the most worrying thing for me, as I benefit massively from having a creative/artistic outlet. I'm not a very artistic person but it makes me feel good to create little things for this site, and not having that has felt very wrong. I'm hoping that more holiday, and changes of scenery, will help that. For the first time in two years, I have made plans to do things, and I have things to look forward to. I've said that there's no point making plans just to be disappointed when they get cancelled, but I'm now realising that's wrong for me. I'm not a pessimistic person (contrary to outward appearances) and living that way is dragging me down so I'm making a concerted effort to put a stop to that.
I have booked time off work for a week in each of Tabitha's breaks from school this year, and we're going to do something for each one. I don't know what, but there will be something. Last week, we went to Somerset, which is somewhere I've never really explored. If you want the TL;DR, Somerset is a beautiful place, with lots of fun roads if you like to drive. It is almost entirely closed until March, so unless you like walking and literally nothing else, February isn't its best foot forward, but for a few days you can definitely find lots to do, as we did.
I'm not sure the point of a TL;DR on this site. If all you do is read this bit then you probably got lost somewhere!
Firstly we went to visit family as we always do when we move more than 10 miles north of Brighton. Making up for lost time.
Got to make sure I have a keyboard and all my cables packed. I did this because I could. Internet was so patchy, I barely spent any time online.
New motorway service station treat. We always stop at Cobham (the best service station on the worst motorway) and we usually get Greggs but I am now all about the McPlant.
We stayed the first night in one of these little huts just outside Stratford-Upon-Avon. It had pretty much everything you could need, but the sofa bed (my bed 😒) was almost comically uncomfortable. Very grammable though.
And we had Snappy's. I haven't had Snappy's for years and I'd been craving the grandma slice. They do stuffed crust now, which made me very happy. Rectangular pizza just tastes better.
Treated to a pretty nice sunrise. I watched from the car as I was physically incapable of sleeping.
Golden hour is overrated. I prefer a nice, diffused overcast morning light.
This is my mum's dog, Steffie. She is a little angel.
Tabitha will always find some dresses to try on. This had velcro so probably not period, but looked the part. In honesty, thinking about the number of germy little paws that touched this before she did makes me feel pretty squeamish, but that was ages ago and we're all still fine so I guess I worry about nothing a lot of the time.
We went to Melt in Bromsgrove, which is currently one of my favourite places to eat. The macaroni cheese special burger was not vegetarian, but they put it on the vegan burger for me. It was very nice. I swear I didn't spend the whole week eating like I'm on death row.
We stayed at a lovely little converted stable Airbnb in Nether Stowey. This wasn't it; this was opposite, but I liked this aesthetic.
We did a bit of exploring of the village but there's not loads there. Plenty to use it as a base, but not a lot else.
Went for a wander around Watchet. My aunt and uncle used to have a holiday home on the harbour in Flushing and I loved it there as a kid. Harbours and marinas are weirdly good for my mood.
Watchet has a pedestrian crossing on the railway line. I find this very odd. It's obviously not a very busy line but still, I'm so used to lights and barriers and alarms whenever you cross the tracks that this felt so alien to me.
Walking anywhere was so muddy, and a couple of the paths were completely impassable (only bringing Jordans to walk in was a huge mistake). "Impassable" sounds like someone from Boston saying "impossible" and now I can't get the word out of my head.
I love looking at things on pebbly beaches. I wonder how long it took for this brick to get smoothly rounded off like this. One day I will learn to identify fossils, but I feel like someone who looks like me bringing a hammer to the beach sends the wrong message. I'd probably get a decent amount of personal space though.
There's this swimming pool built on the beach so that when the tide peels back you can still swim. Perhaps not in February though.
Dunster Castle and grounds closed.
We hiked up to Bat's Castle which was a super nice, moderate walk. I love it when hiking feels unofficial at times. It didn't feel like we were supposed to be going there. It doesn't take a lot to excite me these days.
Case in point: look at this nice lichen.
The view from Bat's Castle is worth the walk, even when it's grey and visibility is poor.
Tourist information is somewhat sparse.
And the place has been taken back by animals, a bit.
Seeing a herd of wild deer roaming around was very special. You need to zoom - typically, I didn't bring my big lens as I didn't think I'd use it. Carried it everywhere for the rest of the week. Didn't use it.
Sampled some of the local wares. Not a huge fan. I'll stick to my Westons; although I should probably just stick to water at this point.
We went to Taunton. Taunton is just a town. They do have minigolf though. Towns of the world, if you have minigolf, Tabitha will find it, rain or shine. Or rain.
Charlotte doesn't really get minigolf
Nice stroll up to Dunkery Beacon. The wind was so strong and the rain was so cold that I couldn't bear it hitting my face and pulled my hood down. Also I fell and spent the rest of the day muddy. Also the driver's seat in the car is very muddy.
Quality beacon though. Very sturdy.
Then we went to look around Minehead. I've had some unfair preconceptions about Minehead. It's a pretty little town with a very nice beach and, yes, look a quay (which, in my nostalgia, is like an honourary harbour). You'd think this kid had never even seen sand before.
We had fresh doughnuts which were exceptional. Also pictured, my dirty thumb after falling over. Yes I had washed my hands but I don't carry a nailbrush and couldn't get this off.
They also have a steam railway which is (all together now) closed in February.
I don't even remember taking this. Framing is an issue on the Ricoh in bright sunlight. Guess it'll just be incredible instinct at play here.
They had chips and indulged me for a nice touristy photo
Tabitha fulfilled what seemed to have been a lifelong dream of hers.
We really missed our daft dog this week. It was so nice to come home to him.
And that's it. Somerset ✅
I took this before we left but we really did miss him a lot
And that's it. We had a very nice few days in Somerset but ended up leaving an evening early because there's a red weather warning across the whole south coast right now.
Somerset seems very nice, but it was a bit frustrating that everything was closed. We managed to find enough to do, but it would've been far better if we'd come when things were a bit more open. Almost all the cafés and attractions were closed until March. Lucky for us you can't close footpaths easily, though the rain made a pretty good effort.