Birthday, Bathford, Bristol and Bradford

Amazingly, a year has gone by since the birth of our latest granddaughter, Ruby Rose, so we took the opportunity for a few days away to attend her first birthday party. It also gave Alison a chance to go wedding dress shopping with Ruby’s Mum, Gabrielle, in Bristol.

We drove down on Saturday morning to the Moose Hall in Swindon for the party – a straightforward drive for once but time was of the essence, so we ate our sandwich lunch on the move. It was freezing in Wiltshire, despite previous claims from our southern based offspring that it’s always warm down south.

Ruby seemed to have a good time, but there were so many people there that she might have been a bit overwhelmed at times. She got so many presents that she could be opening them for weeks.

The party also gave us a chance to meet more of Ruby’s Dad’s relatives ahead of Gabbie and Jay’s wedding in November, which was a bonus.

We’d booked a cottage just north of Bath in a small village called Bathford. It was about a 45 minute drive from Swindon but on the way we realised that one of us hadn’t packed Ralf’s food for the weekend. Who that person was is still up for debate but, fortunately, we were able to divert to Pets at Home to buy some more. We were soon settled in and ready for a few days R&R.

Sunday was an opportunity to leave the car at the cottage and take Ralf for a walk. Alison found a route to Batheaston, along the River Avon, back via the other bank and back to Bathford. It was my first decent walk for months as I’ve been suffering with the osteoarthritis in my knee and hip and the grey wet weather at home has kept me in the house.


We stopped at the Crown in Bathford for a coffee and a hot chocolate on the way back, before climbing the steep road up to Sand Fairy Cottage.

The Crown at Bathford – Classic pub food of integrity and a great selection of beers – wines in a warm family atmosphere


Sand Fairy Cottage photo 24

Sand Fairy Cottage - Somerset & Wiltshire - 1060060 - photo 1

In the evening we met Gabbie, Jay and Ruby at the Gurkha Restaurant in Calne for dinner. The meal was excellent and it was good to catch up and spend some quality time with them. I’d thoroughly recommend The Gurkha Baynjan at the Black Dog if you’re ever in the area.

On Monday, Gabbie collected Alison and they drove to Bristol to go wedding dress shopping. It was a succesful mission, although, for obvious reasons, I can’t post a photo of her in the dress.

Whilst his Mum was away, I took Ralf for a walk to Browne’s Folly, high above the village. It was quite a drag up to the woodland and it didn’t get much flatter as we walked up to the Folly. There were great views from the top and I was glad I’d gone, although I declined the walk up the unguarded stone spiral staircase up the top of the Folly. Getting up there would be difficult at the best of times, but being accompanied by a hefty Schnauzer would have been a climb too far.

It was great to be out and the weather was quite spring like – there were even signs of the new season, which made me smile.

We’d visited this area quite a bit when we still had Absinthe, because we used to drive down to Danbury at Yate to have her serviced twice a year. On one trip we’d gone to Bradford on Avon and really liked the town, so on Tuesday we decided to head there again – a short trip from the cottage of about 15 minutes.  We parked at the railway station, before taking Ralf for a walk along the river and then up to the Kennet and Avon Canal towards Freshford. There’s a lively community of people living on the narrow boats – an alternative lifestyle that I wish I had the courage to emulate.

We popped down to the Tithe Barn in Barton Farm Country Park, before heading into town for a fish and chip lunch, followed by some retail therapy for Mrs B.

We were back at the cottage in time for me to watch the (not so) Mighty Boro lose 4-1 to Sheffield United – not an ideal end to the day, but I don’t get as wound up by losses as I used to (it’s just a game, you know).

The drive back home on Wednesday was quite relaxed, although paying £1.74 per litre for diesel when we filled up the Landrover was a bit of a shock.

We’re in the process of prepping our house for sale at the moment, so we haven’t got too many trips planned and haven’t even been down to the Static since the site opened at the beginning of this month. We have got a week on Ardnamurchan in April, though, so look at for another Blog then.

Meanwhile, if there’s anything you can do to help the people of Ukraine, please do so. Our friend, Pete is involved with a Group in Totnes – if you can help please join the Group on Facebook:

When Vladimir Putin escalates his war, the world must meet him | The Economist










One comment

  1. Peter Baxter

    It sounds like a fab few days away and stunning pictures as ever! Why wasn’t I surprised that you couldn’t keep Alison off the bouncy castle? And thanks for the plug at the end. £245 raised so far after 5 days for United World Kitchen and Medecins Sans Frontieres.


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