Saturday, 14 May 2011

Four days living in nostalgia

Well, I haven't blogged in a while, and now I have a definite backlog of things I need to blog about. And not just in the sense of "Hey, I could write a blog post about those things," in the sense of "I am going to write a blog post about those things." Three blog posts I intend to definitely write, and there'll be a fourth by the end of this week.

Anyway. Last- wait, no. It's been more than a week. I've really been dragging my feet on getting these videos sorted out. In my defence, I got back home, went immediately to a party, didn't return home from that until the following evening, then had rehearsals and a show and more rehearsals and I'm currently doing another show, and in the midst of that I also had to sort out all my photos, of which there were over 300 (Full photo albums are on facebook, here you only get selected highlights).
From the 25th to the 29th of April, I was on holiday in Minehead. Which, if you didn't know, is a small seaside town on the southern side of the Bristol channel (Which, if you didn't know, is the bit of sea between the most southwest bits of England and Wales), near Taunton, in Somerset.

The reason for this was simple - we used to go every year to visit my maternal grandparents (Paternal grandparents got a raw deal as far as visitation goes, but they brought it on themselves by choosing to live in South Africa). But since they're now both dead, we stopped going. However, I still have an aunt, uncle and cousins in that area who we hadn't seen for years, and we still have all the nostalgic memories of the things we used to do every year, so we wanted to revisit those.
So, a visit to the Tropiquaria (Animals!) and a wander around Dunster, Dunster Castle and Dunster Mill.

And so it began.
Oddly, though we continued going there until I was 17, I mainly associated all those nostalgic memories with me being a child - early teens at the latest.

The B&B we were staying in was in some ways disconcertingly similar to my Granny's old cottage. Complete coincidence of course.

A brief look around my room.

Though, we realised afterwards, that really, that room was probably for families with small children - if we'd put me and my brother both in that twin room it would have felt really cramped. So it was for the best, really.

Day 1.

Fun day. One of the great things about having this holiday was that it got me away from the concerns of my regular life, and this as a first day was perfect for that, because spending time with my cousins once removed gave me the excuse to behave like the child I was reminiscing about being the whole week.

Though I don't think I was quite as prone to posing as a child.

Day 2.

Lots of animals. Of course, an advantage of digital cameras over film ones (Yeah, yeah, showing my age, I know...) is that I can take pretty much as many photos as I want, so I made sure to photograph the signs saying what the animals were as well as the animals themselves, allowing me to identify them afterwards instead of being all "So this is some sort of snake... and this is a bird... Ooh! Ring-tailed lemur! I know this one! Um, and another bird..." etc.
It seems the man who used to say he'd feed small children to the snapping turtles is gone. As are the snapping turtles themselves. This makes me sad, but I suppose I couldn't expect everything to have remained the same, and while the newer people don't have the same flair for the comedic, they 're obviously very good at looking after the animals.
A few of my photos:
This squirrel scoffs at gravity!
Baby lemur is the most adorable thing ever. Fact.
Otters are pretty cute too.
I don't know how well you could hear what I was saying on the video clip of the otter making an escape attempt - he's the reason there's extra metalwork up around the enclosure. Wire fencing to stop up any gaps he might be able to get out through.

Oh, the Tropiquaria has some children's adventure playground type things as well:
For I am a Pirate King?
And so, on to:

Day 3.

Now this really felt like it hadn't changed at all, other than the part where my Granny's old cottage is now a B&B. We said maybe we should have stayed there, but on the other hand that might have been kind of weird. However, if for whatever reason I go back again, I may well be tempted to stay there, and take with me an old photo album so I can go "See, this is what this place used to look like."
Dunster does feel a bit timeless. It's a little village populated primarily (So far as I can tell) by old people. Not a lot changes, at least not quickly.

Selected photos:
Dunster Castle

This being the week before Yeomen of the Guard, I was interested to see the halberds on the walls.
This clearly leads to Narnia.
Immured in an uncomfortable dungeon.
 We got a tour round some of the lower areas of the castle, which haven't been restored or anything - just pretty much left as they were, and our guide told us a bit about the historical owners of the castle, including one very shrewd woman whose name escapes me, but who apparently managed to sell the castle, but then still collect some income from it. While living in a different castle. Rent free.
It was also interesting just being reminded of some of the things we take for granted now - we looked at the old kitchens and store-rooms, and while it doesn't occur to us so much now since we have refrigerators, of course back then they had to store things like meat in specific cold rooms, which had to be a reasonable distance from the kitchen itself, because the kitchen was always very hot.

Dunster Water Mill.
It makes some slightly odd noises. My mum commented that it could almost be something out of The Clangers.
Early petrol powered sheep shearer. Not entirely sure how it works, and I would be rather worried about putting a sheep in there.
And at the start of our short walk:

Day 4 I don't have a video for. We took the steam train to Watchet
-and wandered around a little before coming back and just relaxing.
Statue of the Ancient Mariner.
Mosaic of Saint Decuman, who crossed the Bristol Channel on a raft, with his cow.
And that's basically all I had. I took a little bit of video in Blenheim Gardens (The camera ran out after about 40 seconds) with the intention of adding a voice over a la John Green, in which I'd try to sound all deep and stuff. Talking about how I was reminded of the importance of family, how they matter to me and I to them even if we haven't seen each other for years, the importance of just enjoying oneself and not losing touch with one's childhood. That sort of thing. Anyway, it turns out I'm not entirely sure how to get a voice-over onto an existing video (I'm going to need better video-editing software if I want to do this more often), and I've put this off too much already, so you'll have to manage without that last video.

Onto the next blog post!

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