Posted by: christinelaennec | August 10, 2014

Bath-ing

Not long ago, I had a little getaway to the city of Bath, in Somerset.  Until a punning friend reminded me, I’d forgotten once being told that in proper English, taking a bath is not bathing (rhymes with scathing).  That means swimming in the sea.  The verb for taking a bath, I was informed, is bath-ing.  My own form of Bath-ing was strictly touristic and the only water involved was some rain.

I left the Dafter and Michael for two nights and three days.  On the first day, I travelled down – this involved three separate trains, all of which were overcrowded and the last of which was delayed.  But I didn’t mind – I had my book and my knitting, and I just loved having time to think.

When I arrived in Bath, what should I find within a few minutes?  A wool shop, and a patchwork shop!  Honest, I didn’t know they were there.  Both were very delightful.

A few steps from the train station, a wool shop and a patchwork shop!  Bath, August 2014.

A few steps from the train station, a wool shop and a patchwork shop! Bath, August 2014.

In Bath you can see a lot of history in a small area.  The Abbey is built on a site where there has been a place of worship for over a thousand years.  It is right next to the Roman Baths:

Bath Abbey and the entrance to the Roman Baths.  August 2014.

Bath Abbey and the entrance to the Roman Baths. August 2014.

I was surprised (in my ignorance) that the legacy of the healing waters in Bath is still very much alive, in the form of the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, which is still going strong today:

Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, Bath.

Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, Bath.

Not far away either are remnants of the medieval walls of Bath:

Part of the medieval walls of Bath.

Part of the medieval walls of Bath.

I was very interested to see that Bath has a sunken park not unlike Aberdeen’s Union Terrace Gardens.  Whereas in Aberdeen there has been a huge fight to keep Union Terrace Gardens out of the hands of the developers (I’m not too sure what’s happening at the moment), in Bath people are charged money to go in!

Parade Gardens, Bath.  August 2014.

Parade Gardens, Bath. August 2014.

I had two objectives during my trip:  firstly, to visit my friend Olga, and secondly, to see the Kaffe Fassett exhibition at the American Museum in Britain.  I will be writing separate blog posts about the exhibition and about the museum.  Olga and I had a really good visit.  We met over ten years ago in Aberdeen, at the school gates.  She had just come from Russia, having married a man in the oil industry.  They moved to Bath a few years ago, and we hadn’t seen each other recently, so it was really good to catch up.

I couldn’t believe the size of some of the trees in the public squares in Bath!  Here is one – I think it’s a London plane tree:

My friend Olga standing next to a massive tree!

My friend Olga standing next to a massive tree!

Olga and her family live outside of Bath, in a lovely place further along the River Avon:

Standing on a bridge over the River Avon, in Chippenham.  August 2014.

Standing on a bridge over the River Avon, in Chippenham. August 2014.

The next day Olga and I had a coffee before she went to work, and then I spent the afternoon at the American Museum, which I just loved.  I will show you that soon.  I was back in the city centre by 4 pm, by which time the weather had changed and it was rainy – but no less beautiful.

Bridge over the River Avon in Bath, August 2014.

Bridge over the River Avon in Bath, August 2014.

I took refuge in the beautiful Bridge Cafe.  I believe the window in the photo below is the centre window over the left arch of the bridge in the photo above.

View from the Bridge Cafe (one of the windows in the photo above).

View from the Bridge Cafe (one of the windows in the photo above).

It was very peaceful there, and the cakes were delicious:

Yummy cakes at the Bridge Cafe.

Yummy cakes at the Bridge Cafe.  You can see how narrow the cafe is, and the view out over the river through the windows on the opposite side.

I had another hour of reading and knitting, and practising relaxing on my own.  I did find it rather challenging, during these three days, not to worry too much about the Dafter, which shows the importance of taking a break.  At one point I was the only native English speaker in the cafe.  I noticed that most of the waiters and waitresses in Bath were from other countries – whereas the staff at the American Museum all sounded like Hagrid to my ears, with their Somerset twang!

I met Olga after work, and she took me up to the famous Royal Crescent.  Can you tell that Olga is a dancer?

Olga putting down a plastic bag, next to the Royal Crescent, Bath.  August 2014.

Elegant Olga putting down a plastic bag, next to the Royal Crescent, Bath. August 2014.

It is a very imposing piece of architecture – much bigger than I had imagined it!

The Royal Crescent, Bath.  August 2014.

The Royal Crescent, Bath. August 2014.

The next day it poured, and I headed northwards again on the train.  There was signalling chaos and all sorts of delays and cancellations at the start of my journey, but luckily I was home in about nine hours.  (Where it was still raining hard!)  Having had time to read and knit, and just get a bit of perspective on things, was a huge luxury.  And of course my other two had managed absolutely fine without me!  In fact, father and Dafter had enjoyed some quality time together.  So it was a good trip all round.

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Responses

  1. I truly enjoyed reading this story of your time in Bath. How nice that you were able to spend time with Olga–and drink in some of the history and culture of the city. Time away can truly be healing. Sometimes for all involved. Sounds like this was so for all of you.

  2. Bath is a wonderful city, I studied there for a few months when I was 18, so glad you have had a lovely trip there.

  3. What a nice trip for you, Christine, in a lovely city. How nice to have some good shops, good friendship, and beautiful scenery despite the rain. Too bad about the delays, but I’m sure it was worth the trouble. Lovely photos of you and your friend, and yes, that tree is amazing! I loved seeing some of the sights in this beautiful city. xo Karen

  4. You’ve done it justice Christine!! So glad you had a lovely time away and sounds as if it was just what you needed !

  5. It seems like you had a very successful trip, catching up with friends, knitting and reading and visiting a wonderful place.

  6. Thanks everyone! Yes, it was a great little trip. Scruffybadger, I’d forgotten that you are a Bath-ite. I’ve hardly done the place justice but thanks for saying so anyway. (Next time I go I will keep an eye out for you taking zany selfies of your latest creation.)

  7. So nice to see such beautiful pictures and hear a bit more about Bath. I think it should be on my list of future places to visit. 🙂 It is such a significant place in the Austen novels. Very glad that you were able to get away for a little break and everyone managed fine and you could relax a bit.


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