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Thursday, 22nd October 2015
Our long weekend started with a stressful journey to Axbridge through the heart of Coventry. The Satnav meant kindly probably, meaning to miss congestion, but I would happily have missed the feeling of doom I get from driving around lost inside a big city. A bad start. We stopped at a service station down the A46, I had a mulled apple drink at a neat Starbucks at Warwick Budbrooke, and we refuelled.

The rest of the journey including the M5 wasn't bad, but finding our holiday hideaway the Parsonage was. It was hidden away up a rough steep stony track the car protested traversing, the sign only saying Wells 10 miles. Tricky. The house itself was very appealing, full of character and narrow windy staircases. A 21-year old cat Rosie sat on the back of a chair. The friendly proprietress did full English breakfast in a dainty ornamented breakfast room. A great view down to the nearby reservoir. Not a lot of parking space, slight challenge reversing the car to get back down the trail in. We didn't get a key for the room which caused me perhaps unnecessary unease.

We ate in Axbridge itself at the Lamb Inn, I admired its charm and antiquity and oak beams as I had a Butcombe Ale pie.
The next day (23rd October) after a good full English breakfast we survived the stress of weird road systems to get to Cheddar Gorge, and the purse survived the stress of the sizeable entrance fee for Gough's Cave. We were happily an early customer so wandered the echoey caverns without the happy sound of children hunting us. At Cheddar Gorge they handed out handsets with numbered narration for the various places, I didn't listen really. Damp, algae and lichen and even weeds growing in the artificial light. Beautiful flows of calcite, magical pools mirrors.

Right at the lowest point a helpful guide confirmed I had seen a bat, showed how translucent the stalagmites were with a green laser pointer, turned down the lights so we could see how little the original discoverers saw. Cheddar Gorge cave had some cheese being cave matured, we got some in the shops outside the caverns when we exited - we could have bought a wheel of cheese for £340 but it would take us years to eat it! Odd was a politically correct museum which argued that cannibalism is quite reasonable really. Roast leg of insurance salesman anyone?

Our lunch was less adventurous but pleasant in the nicely old Almshouse Teashop. We did a bit more history in the King John Hunting Lodge which as it dates from well after his time may not have much to do with him. Plenty of exhibits, and a panel to open to see wattle and daub (being able to see through the floorboards to the room below was eerie).
It had been dry if not blazing sun, but Saturday (24th) changed that. We voyaged through the rain to see Clarks Shoe Museum in Street but they failed to open! In desperation we went to Wookey Hole where so long ago I closed my eyes rather than see the 'witch'. OK the cave had some formations to admire, bridges over chasms, but it was clearly aimed at the kids including wearing a white safety helmet and queueing for ages for a free pumpkin toy! As an adult it felt tacky and twee, to a child probably magical. Wookey Hole now has dinosaurs not to climb on, over-stretched staff to get pasties and sausage rolls (not bad) from, and a gauntlet of kiddie fun to suffer before you reach the exit. A long walk across sodden meadows with toy policemen at the pedestrian crossing completes the picture.

In the evening we dined at Brewers Fayre, first time we had used that chain. Not as relaxed to order at bar instead of someone taking your order, but they fed us. More stress driving back in unfamiliar near dark missing turnings.
And then Sunday (25th) and time to return. Top avoid Coventry we headed for the M4 ignoring the Satnav advice - but our punishment was ending up in the chaos of runners in the streets of Bristol! We did escape eventually and had a simple journey back along the M4 then M25 then A1 then A505 then A10 then M11. On the way we stopped at a Macdonalds where you could order at a touch sensitive screen - smart, but also dehumanising too.