Postcards from Bath:

This is a reblog of some tumblr posts I made in February 2011. Needs some editing and adding to.
27th Feb 2011

Postcard from Bath. One in a series of.

We went to Bath for a couple of days- just because we could. A week or so ago I asked #bath on twitter for any tips and ideas on what to see, do and consume but I only received 1 reply. (More on that in a future postcard.) So we got here guideless and I was able to do what I like doing most in cities I haven’t visited before: walk around randomly. I find that if you go somewhere with a “must do” list you risk becoming so anxious to tick everything on you list that you look at many things but see nothing.

   We arrived in Bath at 13.00 on Wednesday only to find that the key to the place we were staying was not where it was supposed to be.Trying to sort this out involved calls to Hong Kong and… I’ll spare you the details. It also allowed us to visit the Marlborough Tavern while we waited to see where we would sleep that night. This is a gastro pub which is definitely more gastro than pub.I had a pint of Otter ale which was ok but also proved to be the dearest pint I had in Bath. A cheese and ham sandwich with a cone of chips set us back £7.50 though to be fair it was big enough for the two of us to share as a snack.

We finally got into the house at 16.00 after a trip to an outlying estate and much getting frazzled in Bath’s traffic.

After a house inspection, shower and working out the Sky box, our thoughts turned again to food.

I had had one reply to my enquiries at #bath on twitter and that was from Bath Ales.

They recommended two of their pubs in Bath; the Salamander and the Hop Pole .

The Salamander was closest so we went there for an early evening meal.

The Salamander is in the heart of the city and manages to combine the feel of an old fashioned pub with modern, clean looking features. For fellow Derby folk, think The Greyhound. Bath Ales produce a wide range of real ales of varying strengths and hues to suite most tastes and occasions. I had a Brainstormer (or two) which is a very dark bitter which punches above it’s 4.7% weight.

When we went there (18.30) the pub was full with a mix of locals, young and old, and tourists.There is an upstairs restaurant but we decided to eat in the bar….

The menu is pub food plus. You can have gammon, egg and chips and burgers but I opted for mussels served in a Bath Ales cider and cream sauce. This was truly delicious; good but not overwhelming portion of mussels cooked a la point in a rich creamy sauce. Good to see the mussels served in a proper mussels pot too!

My partner opted for the breast of free range chicken with Puy lentils in a sherry vinegar and cream sauce. Again, a good portion with a generous helping of delicious sauce.

A very friendly pub, prompt but attentive service with a good range of ales and wines. The food is not the cheapest you will find but is very reasonably priced for freshly cooked food with quality ingredients. (The mussels were £9.50, the chicken £10.25.)

Definitely worth a visit.

Professional association football players are not welcome in this Rugby Union town

Bath Abbey is well worth a visit. I am not a religious person but I do appreciate the sense of space created by the high vaulted walls and the contrast of light and dark spaces. I certainly prefer these cathedral to the cathedrals erected to celebrate mammon (eg, the Westfield Centres).

Did I say cathedral? Sorry, Bath has an Abbey. The Abbey has a tremendous stained glass window, depicting 52(?) stories from the Bible. Above all though, Bath Abbey has over 600 memorials on the walls. Each tell a story of a family blighted by death. What is particularly fascinating is that these memorials feature people from across the world: Scotland, Wales, Canada, America, Barbados and people involved with the East India Company. There is a great collection of photos here  (Not mine.)

One particular memorial was to Joseph Maycock who died from”effects of exposure during the Indian Mutiny” in August 1860. 3 of his children died before him in 1849 and 1860. 1 child died a few months later in November 1860.

There’s a story (costume drama there) but what is most telling; we know nothing of the wife and mother. In the Abbey there are over 600 stories to be told…..


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