The City of Bath

[ Photo Gallery # 84 }

Bath

Bath is the largest city in the ceremonial county of Somerset, England.  It is renowned in particular for its Roman spa baths, built c. 60 AD, when it went under the Latin name of Aquae Sulis (‘The Waters of Sulis’).   In 2011, the city had a population of almost 89 thousand.

Bath is in the valley of the River Avon, 97 miles (156 km) west of London.  The town is set in the rolling countryside of south-west England, and is known for its natural hot springs and 18th-century Georgian architecture.  It has strong connections with the 18th Century author, Jane Austen, who lived here during the Regency period from 1801 to 1806 and who set two of her novels, ‘Northanger Abbey’ and ‘Persuasion’, in Bath.

Honey-coloured Bath stone has been used extensively in the town’s architecture, including at Bath Abbey, noted for its fan-vaulting, tower and large stained-glass windows. The museum at the site of the original Roman-era Baths includes The Great Bath, statues and a temple.

In 1704, Richard (‘Beau’) Nash, the celebrated leader of fashion, became ‘Master of Ceremonies’ at the then rising spa town of  Bath.  He lived in the town for much of the first part of the 18th Century and played a leading role in making Bath the most fashionable resort in 18th-century England.

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I hope my gallery of photographs, taken in Bath on a visit to the city about 12 years ago, will give a taste of the pleasures and architectural delights of this city, one of the most visited in the United Kingdom.

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The River Avon and Pulteney Bridge at Bath. Designed by Robert Adam in a Palladian style, it is exceptional in having shops built across its full span on both sides. 

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The Avon Weir, beside Pulteney Bridge

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Close-up of the Avon Weir

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A more distant view of Pulteney Bridge and the Avon Weir

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Statue of Mozart in the Parade Gardens, Grand Parade, BATH

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View of the East window of Bath Abbey from the Parade Gardens

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Fan vaulting on the nave of Bath Abbey

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Close-up of the nave ceiling at Bath Abbey

 

 

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Memorial to Sir Richard Hussey Bickerton (1759-1832) in Bath Abbey.  He was a British naval officer, at times, second in command to Lord Nelson

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The Great Bath – the entire structure above the level of the pillar bases is a later construction. There are four main features to the complex: the Sacred Spring, the Roman Temple, the Roman Bath House and the museum

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The Spring rises within the courtyard of the Temple of Sulis Minerva and water from it feeds the Roman Baths

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Sally Lunn’s is much more than a world famous tea and eating house in the centre of Bath.  This historic building is one of the oldest houses in the city.  It owes its fame to the creation of the first Bath bun, an authentic regional speciality known throughout the world, and first introduced by the legendary young Huguenot baker, Sally Lunn, in Georgian Bath.

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Coleridge At Watchet

[  Photograph Gallery # 69  ]

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The harbour town of Watchet lies on the North Somerset coast of England, between the Quantock Hills and the Brendon Hills on the Eastern edge of Exmoor.

The harbour at Watchet is said to have been the inspiration for Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s famous epic poem ‘The Ancient Mariner’.  Whilst on a walk with his friends, William and Dorothy Wordsworth, over the Quantock Hills in 1797 from his home in nearby Nether Stowey, they came upon Watchet.  It has been said that looking down at the town from St. Decuman’s Church in the town gave him the idea for his poem.

‘The ship was cheered, the harbour cleared, 
Merrily did we drop 
Below the kirk, below the hill, 
Below the lighthouse top.’
In 2002 the Watchet Market House Museum Society decided to commemorate the town’s important link with Coleridge by commissioning a statue. A seven-foot high effigy of the mariner was designed and created by sculptor Alan B. Herriot, of Penicuik, Scotland, cast by Powderhall Fine Art Foundries in Edinburgh and unveiled by Dr. Katherine Wyndham in 2003.  This statue now stands overlooking the marina on Watchet Esplanade.
There is now a designated ‘Coleridge Way’ walk of 51 miles through the landscape that inspired Coleridge to produce some of his best known work.  It takes an east to west path from Nether Stowey to Lynmouth through the lovely Somerset countryside of the Quantock Hills, the Brendon Hills and Exmoor – or obviously, in the reverse direction.

My photographs below were taken on a visit to the area in and around Watchet in 2007.

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Watchet – Harbour & Marina

 

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Looking north-east from Watchet harbour across the Bristol Channel to the island of Steep Holm

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Coleridge’s ‘Ancient Mariner’. created by the Scottish sculptor, Alan Herriot

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‘God save thee, ancient Mariner! 
From the fiends, that plague thee thus! — 
Why look’st thou so?’ — With my cross-bow 
I shot the ALBATROSS..

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(Coleridge) … this renowned poet resided for some years at the nearby village of Nether Stowey.  In 1797, while on a walking tour, Coleridge visited Watchet.  On seeing the harbour he was inspired to compose one of the best known poems in English literature, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’

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While the black-backed gulls keep an eye on events

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Coastal rock striations near Watchet 

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Dead, or just over-wintering?

Quinzaine

After my attempt at a cinquaine in yesterday’s blog, I turn to another verse form, sounding rather similar but conforming to a different set of rules.

A Quinzaine is an un-rhymed verse of fifteen syllables. The word comes from the French word quinze, meaning fifteen. The syllables are distributed over three lines so that there are seven syllables in the first line, five in the second line, and three in the third line (7/5/3). The first line makes a statement. The next two lines ask a question relating to that statement. (From: Wikipedia).

Below are 4 of my attempts at a quinzaine, each related to one of my own photographs 

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Cardiff Waterfront

Look! The sun is coming out.
Isn’t it home time?
Dog: Food time?

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Coleridge’s ‘The Ancient Mariner’, Watchet Harbourside, Somerset

I just shot an albatross
Does that mean bad luck?
Isn’t life short?

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Funeral Urn – Churchyard, Surrey

Resting place for my ashes.
Will I end up there?
Who can tell?

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Stone Owl – Yorkshire

The owl is a wise old bird.
Does a stone one count?
Can he hoot?

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THE INTERIM FIRE ESCAPE

 

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Found behind a large hotel I was staying at in Somerset, UK, in 2010.  Photo: WHB

THE  INTERIM  FIRE  ESCAPE

 

For want of a staircase a ladder will do,

Perhaps when the fire starts there won’t be a queue.

Such was the thinking by those in the know;

For a four star hotel this came as a blow.

 

To all we old codgers who can’t climb up stairs

This came as a setback, to add to our cares.

To find our retreat cut off in such fashion

Was a palpable blow that sent us all ashen.

 

So we went to reception describing our plight.

We were told not to worry, things would fast be put right.

A new lift had been ordered to be installed soon.

When I asked them just when they said “Maybe next June.”

 

“But don’t worry sir, we’ve got adequate cover.

Our waiter’s a big lad and so is his brother.

Between them they’ll see that you come to no harm,

And besides we’ve just installed a new smoke alarm.”

 

 

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In Memoriam – D.A.K. #2

I follow up my blog of yesterday, remembering that outstanding poetic blogger, David Alexander King (DAK), with a further personal reminiscence of him.

DAK always had a great sense of both the profound and the ridiculous.  He was a great teller of stories from his past and he loved the banter of everyday conversation.

In 2010 whilst holidaying together in Somerset, I (almost) managed to persuade a hapless passer-by to take a photograph of DAK and Yours Truly, Roland, masquerading as two distinguished-looking and mature Asian matrons in the grounds of Wells Cathedral.

If  DAK had not been beaten to it by a certain workaday northern nature poet called Wordsworth, I know he would have penned something like the following lines to describe the scene . . .

Earth has not anything to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty: 

 I publish the resulting photograph below . . .

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OK, I own up, the above photographic study was photoshopped by me from 3 of my own photographs, all taken on the same day in 2010 in the grounds of Wells Cathedral, Somerset..