I ended up not blogging anything during my time in Somerset. The cottage I was in not only wasn’t online (which I knew in advance), but I couldn’t even get a reasonable mobile data connection. Even the phone service was very hit and miss.

On reflection, this was not a bad thing. I had a relaxing time in the cottage, going out for days (and getting my email fix in Starbucks or similar) and chilling out in the evening.

On the Monday, I went over to Minehead and met up with and family. After a false start, due to my oversleeping, we met up at the station for the West Somerset Railway, and had a pleasant ride on a steam train. Afterwards, I went back with them to their cottage in Porlock, and had a relaxing evening.

On Tuesday, I drove down to Exeter, to see Pete T., who was staying with his mum there. Another rainy day, so we jumped in the car, and headed down to the National Maritime Aquarium in Plymouth. I had been there before, but Pete hadn’t. It’s a fun place to spend an afternoon, and we both enjoyed it. Later we found a pub for dinner, where one of Pete’s friends joined us for a pint.

I found Taunton surprising – I had expected something more built up, but I quite enjoyed looking around, and found a fantastic tea shop on the main high street. On the other hand, Yeovil, which I was looking forward to, was a bit of a disappointment, it seemed to be one huge shopping centre.

The cottage was very comfortable and had all the facilities, including a great kitchen. However, it was even more isolated than I had realised – it seemed the nearest pub was a 1 mile walk down one-track roads with no pedestrian route. OK during the day, but having see how people drove, I wasn’t going to risk it at night. But I was getting out enough during the day, so spending a few evenings in with either the TV or my guitars was no hardship.

The event at Halsway Manor was brilliant, as it was before. The venue is great, and they kept us well fed. There was more programming than I remembered from last time, but it wasn’t compulsary (!) so sometimes I just hung out in the bar. Unfortunately the weather didn’t cooperate, and there were few opportunities for any activities outside.

After the usual goodbyes, I got on the road midmorning, and was home by 2:30. As I approached Peterborough, the skies opened up, and it continued that way for a couple of hours. So it was probably 5pm before I got the chance to go out to the shops and get some provisions.

All in all, a fun 10 days.

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