Somerset – More than just Cider – Pt 1

Blogs. It seems everyone's’ doing one these days, and on just about every subject too, from hobbies, travel and DIY to more carnal matters. There’s plenty of those I can assure you. Since we’ve been putting the word out on Twitter about  ‘A Load of Nonsense!’ I’ve looked at quite a few centred around caravanning to see how others approach their writing. There’s some great ones out there too all written in a variety of different styles, but one in particular caught my eye. The blog itself outlines their trips out and about but I particularly liked the section describing the couples’ hobbies. There’s all the usual activities listed but the one at the bottom of the list caught my eye. Wine. Drinking it, not making it. What a great way to describe the fact that you enjoy a drink, describing it as a hobby. I like their style. So from now on, when we’ve spent the evening sloshing back  some cab sav to wash down the nightly cheese and biscuits, I’ll simply tell you we’ve been indulging in our hobby. And when we’ve spent the evening lurching from pub to pub sampling the local ale I can tell you that we’ve just been carrying out research for our hobby. Sounds much better than saying we’ve been on the pi$$. Again.

Talking of drinking, one the blog readers asked for a mention in the next blog, so here iIMAG0303t is. Paul can be found most lunchtimes propping up the bar in the Rottingdean Club, although as the afternoon progresses, it’s the bar that increasingly does the propping. If you are ever in the club say hello - he’s a nice chap, even when you get to know him! You’ll see a picture below of yours truly with him a couple of Saturdays ago.  We are in the club most Saturday lunchtimes for a pint or two and a toasty. Well sometimes three. Pints, that is, not toasties. Aren’t hobbies wonderful? Keen followers of the blog will note that for once I am not dressed entirely in black. Clearly the rampant melanophilia had abated somewhat that day. So there you go Paul, there’s your mention. First name only, if you want your surname in too that’s extra!

Right, enough of the fill. The reason that this has arrived in your inbox – those of you on the email list that is – is because once again we are away in Patsy, sited just a couple of miles away from the town of Glastonbury in Somerset. We left home Saturday morning heading west along the A27 turning north just after Southampton and going through Salisbury before heading west again. It took about three and a half hours in some pretty poor conditions – lots of heavy rain and winds buffeting poor old Patsy from side to side although the sun did put in a few all too rare appearances too.

So, the site itself. Wow! Quite simply the best we have ever been on. On the site of a farm, The Old Oaks  is beautifully laid out with individual six ‘paddocks’ housing 20 or so large, very level pitches. In fact it’s the first time for ages that we haven’t had to use the levelling ramps. On booking in we found that Tara – part of the family that owns and runs the site - had kindly upgraded us to a ‘super’ pitch as well, so we’re all hooked up with no water to fill or waste to empty. The shower blocks too were stunning – again, the best we have ever had on site – shiny, spacious and immaculately clean and tidy. You’d have to be very picky indeed to find any fault at all with this place.

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So, as has become the norm having set up the van and had a much needed cuppa, we put up the awning whilst dodging the showers – just the small one again. It’s unlikely to be warm enough to sit out but come in handy for coats, shoes and so on. Patsy got a quick wash front and back too, just to keep her looking smart.

So, what have we done since we got here. Well, on Sunday some friends joined us for a couple of days, breaking their journey down to Cornwall to meet up with friends and family. There’s no room in Patsy of course but the site has little cabins to rent which are ideal for a stopover, or even longer for the more adventurous. Moreover it is a great way for caravanners to holiday with their non-caravanning friends – we could have pitched next to them if we wanted. We did accommodate a third guest though – their little Jack Russell called Buster. Dog’s are not allowed in the cabins so Buster stayed with us. Facilities for dogs are excellent too. As well as plenty of places to exercise there is even a hut with a  doggy shower. I kid you not – and the water is heated too. Talk about pampered pooches. There’s nothing they haven’t thought of here. It’s been good fun too, entertaining in Patsy. We’ve used the BBQ every night and celebrated St Paddy’s day with some Guinness. The on site shop sells some locally brewed real ale too so we’ve been able to enjoy our er, hobby to the full.

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On Monday morning we walked, well weezed,  up the Glastonbury Tour – a mound some 500 or so feet high with the remains of a church on the top. The weather was pretty kind and gave us some great views too. Now, some of you may not know this (!) but Trev has a heart condition, and went under the knife nine years ago for a quadruple bypass. We took our time, and paused regularly but he was particularly pleased to have made it too the top. For me, it was a reminder of how unfit I had become. Nevertheless it was worth it and a must if you come to Glastonbury.

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Having paused for breath and photos we descended via a different route and in to the town itself. On the face of it, similar to other small towns but it’s the range of shops that set it apart. Lot’s of outlets selling crystals, tarot cards, candles and the like. Books too on alternative’s to mainstream religion and politics. Pills and potions for every ailment including those of a more er, personal nature. I’ll let you know if they work – no on second thoughts…..A nice relaxed feel with a colourful clientele and hardly a chain store in sight. We eschewed the chance to pay to look around the old abbey – if I want to look at an old ruin I only need a mirror these days it seems. We paused at a Cafe (veggie, obviously) for a reviving coffee, then returned later for doorstep sandwich before getting a taxi back to the site.

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Kevin & Lawrence have left us now to continue their journey south and west. We have no specific plans for the rest of the day (other than to get this out). It largely depends on the weather. The forecast is not good, but the early mist is lifting and the sun is breaking through. We’ve just been down to reception to have my photo taken with Tara & James and two of the Wardens; Drew & Sue. Later in the week – weather permitting we’re planning a visit to Wells and it’s stunning cathedral and a trip west to the coast. And It will soon be Patsy’s first anniversary too!

Thanks for reading – if you have that is and haven't just skipped to the photo’s! Do please email me at with any comments or questions. It would be great to hear from you.

P.S. Quick weather update. The sun has gone to replaced by clouds and some rather loud thunder so we may be staying put. So it may be beer o’clock!

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  1. Stumbled across your blog as a result of The Old Oaks reposting it. Keep up the great work!

  2. Thanks for your comment, glad you enjoyed it. More soon!