Saturday, 29 June 2013

Weston-Super-Mare

Just when I thought I was on for the mother of all lie-ins, I was awoken by the bizarre sensation of someone pulling the duvet off me: first my shoulders were exposed, then my back, then my legs and then I was freezing cold and Nathan was laughing. I felt like I was being emptied out of a carrier bag! 

It seemed we were off to the seaside town of Weston-Super-Mare and within half an hour, I was sitting in the passenger seat of our car, feeling slightly confused and holding a weak tea which I'd hurriedly bought from a cafe in Muswell Hill. 

It turns out a trip to Weston-Super-Mare was actually just what the doctor ordered on what turned out to be an incredibly hot summer's day. First we went to see Nathan's father and step mother, Liz, who have recently returned from Spain and set up house in a village just north of the seaside town. 

We visited their new bungalow and sat in the garden playing with Barney, one of the most well-behaved dogs I've ever met. I suddenly had a burning desire to see the sea, so we jumped in cars and drove to Sandbay at the tip of the Severn Estuary, which it turns out is one of the windiest places in the country. 

We walked along the beach, buffeted and sand-blasted by a breeze which felt almost like a trade wind. We shared a cream tea in a little cafe run by two queens, where a dog was being wheeled around in a pram by a woman who was almost too fat to walk.

We left Sandbay and headed back to Weston-Super-Mare along the coastal road, which took us past the rather spooky Birnbeck Island. Linked to the mainland by a rickety pier, this three acre island was once a hotel and restaurant complex, but is now a derelict ghost town. The last people crossed the pier in the early 90s and the place is now crumbling into the sea. It's a terribly sad, almost eerie sight. I'm told the buildings, all of which are Victorian gothic masterpieces, are grade II listed, but that no one can work out what to do with them. If in doubt, let them go to rack and ruin! I think it would be a wonderful 1930s-inspired glamorous hotel.

We spent the afternoon and evening with the RAFTA crowd, in the honeysuckle-filled walled garden of Fran and Rob's stunning town house. There was a massive barbecue going and plates and plates of delicious food, salads, cheeses, and beautiful cakes, which we ate whilst the sun glared down on us. It was a hugely relaxing afternoon spent with a wonderful crowd. 

I particularly enjoyed chatting to Carrie's husband, Paul, whose wedding was actually the first proper date I went on with Nathan almost 11 years ago. It seems like yesterday. 

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