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Intro

Eight Nutters visit Woodspring Priory, near Weston super Mare, North Somerset.

Landmark Trust Map

The Party

Woodspring PrioryAndrew
Bernie
Dave
Gavin
Jennifer
Laura
Nick
Rick
 

Almost the same party as last year where we stayed in Scotland.

We'll have to take Dave for walks instead of Sprog.

Here's the planning page.

Monday, February 3, 2003

I stayed over at The Jennys' overnight so that we could all meet up and set off from Cambridge.

Our 2 car convoy leaves at 11:00. Red car (Dave, Rick, Bernie) Blue car (Nick, Jennifer, Gav).

I drive the lead Blue car. Perversely I head straight back home to Milton Keynes. It's on the way.

Stony Stratford

I recommend a break at a local favourite restaurant of mine, the Royal Thai Restaurant Stony Stratford. 4.95 business lunch chilli beef and a steamed banana for pudding.

We leave Stony with full bellies at 14:00.

Story

Jennifer, Gav and I are warped to an island off of Thailand. Paradise. We're listening to The Beach, a story narrated on a set of CD's.

We are all oblivious to the route taken: A422, Buckingham, A421, Bicester, A34, Oxford, A420 Swindon, M4, M5, Weston super Mare.

Woodspring Priory

Laura and Andrew arrive at the Priory 5 minutes before us. He calls on the phone whilst we're driving along the track to the building.

We're there around at 17:00.

 

Front door furniture


Andrew directs us to where we are to park: a neighbouring field. The cattle grid on the track to property is being replaced so we cannot park on the normal hard standing. No great hardship, just the minor nuisance of mud.

We enter via the wooden front door. It's solid - with "proper" locks!

The cars are unloaded. It's almost dark

We Explore

Bedrooms

Dave and Nick's room. Rooms are claimed. Laura and Andrew take the only double bedroom in the old North Aisle.

Dave and I share the twin next to the double bedroom. The top of two perpendicular arches face our room.

Bernie takes the twin room with Jennifer in the farmhouse, with Gav and Rick in the room next to them.
Spiral staircase
Steep spiral staircases connect between the floors.

Museum

Opening TimesPart of the building is a public museum.

Every day the concierge, who lives close by, opens the museum at 10:00 and closes it again in the evening.

The museum is isolated from the living accommodation, there is no risk of strangers stomping around, disturbing us.

MuseumMuseum
 
Public Sitting RoomPublic Sitting Room
Leading from the museum is a comfortable sitting room for the public.

Church

CrossingUpper floorThe structure of the church has been altered since the dissolution. Cancel and aisles have been demolished.

A second storey had been built in to the crossing under the tower. This had been removed, restoring the space of the church interior.

A painted wall shows evidence of a room on the upper storey.

TraceryFilled in arch

Food

We go to Sainsbury's supermarket in Weston to load up with wine and ingredients for tomorrow's evening meal.

We head into the town of Weston super Mare. A pub is found. We ask the locals for a fish and chip shop to recommend.

"Papas, Can't miss it. Big Yellow sign."

Yes - we recommend it too.

Priory

We return to the Priory.

In the lounge there is a large hearth and grate. Andrew sets and lights a fire. (Logs are provided at 3.50 a bag.)

Wine is opened.

We talk

We retire.

We sleep.

Tuesday, February 4, 2003

Alternative Property?

The Landmark Trust office phones. They are concerned that the gas used for cooking and heating will run out during our stay. The work on the cattle grid had prevented the gas tanker from getting to the storage tank last Friday.

Would we like an alternative property, a few miles to the south?

We deliberate. Yes it would give a free Landmark to put under our belt, but we do like the Priory.

We decide to stick it out.

Ghost

Ghostly artifacts"Oh yes!" says Bernie, remembering. "There is a ghost. Heard it last night. Walking... the sound wooden floorboards make. Not slow creaking with thermal expansion, but deliberate creaking when someone walks."

Farmer

Woodspring PrioryTowerThere's a farm next door.

Jennifer and I locate the farmer. We wanted to give him the opportunity to get acquainted with his new neighbours. 

He appeared with a splattered Barber coat and plastic smock.

He was affable and friendly. There was no shotgun or "Get off my Land!"

He pointed out where the footpaths were, and resumed his work, shoving his arm up a cow's backside.

Headland Walk

"It's a bright sunny day!"

Gavin and friendJennifer, Bernie, Gav, Rick, Dave and I put on our walking shoes, gloves and woolly hats, and set of towards the headland.
HeadlandGavin on Beach - volcanic outcropWe walk up a short made up track, climb a gentle slope, and we're by the water. 
HeahlandGav
Enjoying the viewGarmin old and not so old. We are at ST 33998 66603Naturally, all the true Nutters bring their GPS receivers along for the walk.
JenniferWhere are we?Half an hour's walk along the coast finds us at Sand Bay.
PubRick and HorseWe found the New Inn at Keystoke. Beer and food are ordered.

The landlord is pleased to have the custom.

February is not tourist season.
Bus StopA muddy walk backWe find a very muddy path back to the priory.

Priory

Prioy with infirmaryA five mile walk is good for you. Makes you hungry!
KitchenGavin fixing his rattling radio

7MHz Radio

RadioBernie has brought along his amateur radio gear. I help erect the wire aerial.

Bernie talks into the microphone. Gavin and I look on

"Yes, you're 5 9 plus" Bernie shouts, transmitting to Jenny in Cambridge

Gavin look at me aghast. "That's utter crap! I can barely hear her! Use the phone for Pete's sake!"

Evening

Priory at sunsetThe others start looking for secret rooms. I attempt to capture pictures of the buildings in the sunset glow.
Gavin in dominant pose
I spot the concierge.

"Evening!" he calls, rattling his keys.

"Evening. How about a trip up the tower?" I ask, half expecting a rebuttal.

"Good idea. It will be very clear tonight. Come on up!"

I call the others. The concierge leads them up.

The others are made of sterner stuff. I resume fiddling with my camera.
 

Tower Tour

Concierge and BernieTower View. Infirmary
Old exposed timbersA secret room is revealed. Old exposed timbers support the roof.
Tower view. BarnTower view. Farmhouse
The view is magnificent!" exclaimed Jennifer after climbing down from the top.
The stairs are dark and steep.

It took her a careful 15 minutes to get down from the tower.

Evening Meal

We meet up with Laura and Andrew. They spent the day with Laura's cousin Graham and partner Nicky.

Laura has organised our evening meal. Beef has been stewing all day. A favourite recipe involving Guinness. Gavin and I peel a massive swede and 24 potatoes. Andrew does the mashing. The oven is somewhat slow - finally at 21:30 the pasty is deemed to have cooked, and of the correct crispness factor.

We all sit together along the huge kitchen table, four either side. The table could easily seat twenty.

Kitchen FireGavin with your webmaster.
Wine and beer flow.

We end the evening talking, crowding around the kitchen fire.

Wednesday, February 5, 2003

Morning Walk

Blue sky!Cattle"It's another bright sunny day!"
Nick Andrew Laura on HeadlandLaura and Andrew join us for a walk up to the headland.

"How wonderful to have the sea so close! Only 10 minutes away!" they remark.

Today we turn right, eastward. We can see across the Bristol Channel to Wales, and northward to the two motorway bridges crossing the River Severn.

Second Severn Crossing Second Severn Crossing
CardiffCardiff
Flat HolmFlat Holm
 
Fenced outWe look...We're on National Trust property.

We cannot walk all the way to the head: there's a chain link fence with razor wire blocking our way.

Sharp objects?

QinetiQRazor wireThe MOD occupy St Thomas's Head.

 

Wookey Hole

Wookey Hole EntranceThe caves are interesting.

Slightly tacky tour - we could do without the animated witch! The caves are splendid on their own merit.
EntranceCave
CaveCavePlease don't use flash - it annoys the bats!
CaveCave
Paper making demostrationWatermarkThere's a paper museum on the site, with a demonstration of paper being made.

Paper manufacture relies on plentiful running water, hence its location on the river flowing from the caves.
MirrorsIdiotThere's an end of the pier display.

What is the association with the caves?  I don't know!

The local pub is shut and the restaurant doesn't appeal. We head off to Wells, only a few miles away.

Wells

MemorialI revisit a favourite city.

Was it really 1983 when I was last here? I was celebrating New Year's Eve with college friends.
Tosser!Transmitting mast
We find a pub in the centre - Old Tosser! Had to have some of that! Good food too.

Rick gives us a run down on the transmitting mast on the Mendip Hills, overlooking the city.

West Front. Wells CathedralNave
We visit the cathedral.

It's 17:15, evensong is starting.

I like Wells.

We find a loose flagstone in the Cathedral. We lift it. There's a tunnel. We're immediately transported back to Woodspring Priory.

A Change in the Weather

Darkness falls. I pop outside with Laura - she's going to enjoy a "ciggy break". A crisp sharp frost is on the ground. The sky is filled with stars.

By 22:00 the frost and stars have gone. It's milder, and beginning to rain.

KitchenBack to the warm fire, wine, sleep...

Thursday, February 6, 2003

Helicopter Museum

Demonstration of linkagesDave, Rick, Gav, I head off for the Helicopter Museum in Weston super Mare.

Laura and Andrew had visited the museum last year, and recommend it to us.

There's a lot to take in.
Sky CamGavin the Pilot
I'm intrigued by the 1970's vintage Marconi TV Sky Camera.
RobinsonAnother Helicopter
The museum volunteers strip off paint, refurbish the bodywork and repaint the craft in original colours.
Yet Another HelicopterQueen's Flight
The aim of the refurbishment is for static display only, not for flying.

Airframes have a set lifetime in hours. (30,000 hours) Once that has expired - that's it: the helicopter may not be flown anymore.
GraveyardCorrosion
A guide, with a voice like a helicopter, choppy and gravely asks us if we would like a look around the workshops and the graveyard.

On some of the craft, the metal airframe is made from a magnesium aluminium alloy: that means serious corrosion with seawater. Helicopters fizz!

 

Weston super Mare

WestonBoatsWe park on the beach.

Before you email the council, it's allocated for parking.

Vague attempts to do handbrake turns in a four wheel drive and a car full of people doesn't really work!

Clag

Weston and Tourist


Weston is empty. This is the time of year to come! No tourists.

The weather closes in. Clag is a good word to use.

A lazy relaxed afternoon is spent in a local pub.

We take the toll road back to the Priory.

No one takes the money.

Priory

ProiryProiryWe return just as night falls.

Cattle grid

Cattle Grid worksThe workmen are nearly finished the work. They're impatient to finish: they're waiting for the grid to turn up.

"They should have got one off the shelf. We had to make a template. It's silly! The grid is bound to be slightly none square. It just makes our live difficult"

The two workmen have done an excellent job. (I speak with some experience: I'm currently living in a new estate where houses are being thrown up.)

Fungi
The side fence is being opened up to access for the gas. The gas tanker is due the next day. The next Landmark residents will have a full tank.

Risk

Risk

Of course Rick wins.

Friday, February 7, 2003

Packing up

We pack up our luggage and clean up the lounge and kitchen.

We leave the Priory just before the 11:00 deadline.

Cheddar Gorge

CheddarJennifer not smoking

We detour via the Cheddar Gorge.

Beer and lunch is enjoyed at the Cox's Mill Hotel.

I liberate a stuffed sheep from a tourist shop.

"No. I don't come from Wales!" I reply when challenged.

 

Goats: 2 pairs of Nanny and KidWeir. Bernie contemplates free energy.
The goats we saw at the top of the escarpment have now make their way down to the village.

 

 

Homeward

By 14:00 we leave and head for Cambridge, taking a cross country route. The Nutters in my car listen to the turbulent end to our story, The Beach.

We adjourn at the Black Horse at Woburn for pudding and beer. (Another familiar haunt of mine.)

The roads back to Cambridge are familiar. 

Home

We're welcomed by Jenny and Jack.

The cars are unloaded. Remnants of our food store are shared out.

Jack is delighted: he immediately helps himself to two packs of chocolate cereal, soaks then in milk, and starts eating.

"Been fed pizzas all week. I'm starving!" he claims.

Conclusion

SnowdropsWe would be happy to have had more days at the Priory. Four days was too short.
FlowersTreeWinter is leaving us. Snowdrops and crocuses are "happening". Days are getting longer.

Hello summer!

Photos

Between the four of us with digital cameras there were 552 photos taken. 102 ended up on these pages.

Who took what?

Look at the path to the image:

e.g. http://www.anotherurl.com/travel/WoodspringPriory/images/nh/IMG_0273.jpg

ah Andrew

bw Bernie

db Dave

jl Jennifer

nh - Nick

Copyright remains with each of the above photographers.

I have a copy of the original image files on CD ROM.

Errors and omissions

Please let me know!

N G Hubbard February 2003