First motorbike ride of the year

The weather is certainly improving now Spring has arrived and yesterday was so nice, it was time for the Old Goat & I to dust of our helmets and meet up with some of our motorbiking friends for lunch in Sussex.

The ride across the Kent & Sussex countryside was really pretty.  The sun was shining and it wasn’t too cold.  We passed lots of lovely old buildings and many pubs along the way.

 

We arrived at the Green Man in Ringmer after just over an hour of riding, to find that not only were we meeting up with the friends who organised the booking, but they had also invited other friends of ours as a surprise!

I can wholeheartedly recommend eating here; we had a huge tasty Sunday roast with dessert, yum yum.  Very good value for money and nice friendly staff.  Green Man at Ringmer

After catching up with each others news and discussing our plans for a Normandy bike trip, sadly it was time to say goodbye and return home in our different directions 😦

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Rape in bloom

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The ride home was just as beautiful as the ride out.  The sun was still shining, although a black cloud as we left looked a bit ominous…. It stayed dry and the lighting and scenery couldn’t have been better.

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Somerset

The weather in Somerset did not disappoint…….

it was much drier than ever before when I’ve been there.  It was a real treat to be able get our bikes out without getting wet backsides through riding on wet roads.  Some sunshine would have been nice but alas, this was not very forthcoming.

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Signpost

We found somewhere to stay between Wells and Glastonbury, so were able to cycle to each quite easily, through lovely quiet country lanes with fantastic views across the countryside.  As usual the old goat was way out in front (the black speck on the left)……

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Countryside Views

Wells is a  beautiful cathedral city with a lovely old market square

It was lovely to walk around the city among such historic architecture.  Apparently it is England’s smallest city, which I can quite believe, because the old goat and I were able to easily walk round and see everything in a couple of hours.  We just managed to squeeze in afternoon tea in some quaint little tea rooms before they closed.

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Wells Cathedral

We walked around the grounds of the Bishop’s Palace, where the springs (or wells) rise from underground.  This is where the city gets its name from.  There is  lovely moat around the outside of the Palace, which houses lots of swans and cygnets, including a beautiful sculpture of a swan on a nest.

From there we walked to the cathedral, a Gothic design built of Doulting stone in the 1100,s. The architecture, both inside and out is stunning.  Apparently there was an earthquake in the 13th century which damaged the central tower.  This was rebuilt and to give it additional strength, scissor arches were added.

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Wells Cathedral – Scissor Arches

Glastonbury, famous for the Glastonbury Music Festival

Is a small country town with quirky little shops and lots of ancient architecture.  It was a bit too ‘hippy’ for the old goat but I loved it!  It is a world-renowned pilgrimage which has a lovely relaxed atmosphere about it.

You will find the Abbey ruins in the town, the base of which was formed in the 7th century.  It is also the legendary burial place of King Arthur.

Close by the Abbey is the Town Hall, built in 1818 with a Georgian frontage which was adorned by pretty flower displays.

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Glastonbury Town Hall

In the grounds of the church of St John the Baptist is the Tercentennial Labyrinth, built to celebrate Glastonbury receiving its town charter from Queen Anne in 1705.

 

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Tercentennial Labyrinth

We had a very plentiful Sunday roast in the quaint little tea rooms opposite the Abbey ruins.  It was a lovely atmosphere and very good value for money.  I can certainly recommend it!

Time to go and burn off our lunch so I shall say ‘Cheers’ for now, until the next time……

Guildford

I found myself being dumped in Guildford for the day by the Old Goat while he went off to work in Bagshot – Well! What to amuse myself with?

I had done a bit of research so knew there was a castle and cathedral but yet to discover what else there was .

First port of call was Tourist Information to get a map and information on the area.  Tourist Info is housed in a beautiful building, Guildford House, also housing a photographic exhibition.  It was lovely to wander round the rooms looking at the beautifully ornate ceilings and inspirational exhibits – what inspiration!  I could hardly believe my eyes when I came across an image of my local church which I got married to the Old Goat in, all these miles from home too!

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Tourist Information and art gallery in Guildford High Street

I left Tourist Info armed with my map and followed the guided route suggested on the map.  The number of times I’ve driven past Guildford and never realised there was so much of interest to see.

First item on the route was the castle.  Sadly all the flower displays had been dug up ready for the winter plants, so instead of seeing a profusion of colour, all there was to see was dark brown earth.  Never mind, it didn’t detract from the beauty of the place.  I came across a war memorial and Alice through her looking glass.

Moving on, past a few other interesting buildings, I was guided to the town mill, which over the centuries had been used for milling corn and pumping the water supply to the town.

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Guildford Water Mill

Lewis Carroll lived in Guildford and wrote much of Alice Through the Looking Glass here.   I came across another sculpture of Alice, this time with the rabbit just about to jump into its hole.

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Alice and the rabbit

Following this was the Holy Trinity Church, Royal Grammar School and the Almshouses, which were very beautiful.

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Abbot’s alms houses in Guildford

I finished my visit to Guildford with a bit of retail therapy before catching the train to Bagshot to meet the Old Goat for our onward journey to Somerset – more on that later……

Heritage Days

One weekend in September lots of historic buildings around the country are open to the public free of charge; generally they are either not open to any old Tom, Dick or Harry, or there would normally be a charge.

 

I grabbed this opportunity (and my camera) with both hands and took advantage of a guided tour around All Saints Church in Maidstone.  I was hoping to be able to go up the tower for a wonderful birds eye view of Maidstone.  Alas, there was nobody in attendance to be able to take us up there, maybe next time.

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Nativity Window

There were only two of us on the tour and it was very interesting.  We were shown around the outside, which included what is reputed to be the oldest wall in Maidstone.  Our guide Joy told us all about the old spire which was made from wood and sadly burnt down by a lightning strike in 1730, the heat was so intense that it melted the lead on the church roof.  We saw some of the most colourful stained glass windows I have ever seen, most of them Victorian and Joy showed us the hidden gems under the original pews.

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Hiding!