A few years ago I used to run a series of
blogs under the general heading of Clare's Counties. Since I
moved to Portugal I have not done much to continue that
series, but perhaps now is as good a time as any to re-connect
with the old country.
The UK does seem to be going through a strange period. There
seems to be a distinct lack of faith in being a Brit these
days. The country is also pestered with a seriously inept
bunch of politicians no matter which side of the table you
prefer to sit. The conservatives really do appear to be a
bunch of jellies, and labour is mired in an imagined world
that ceased to exist with the end of the second world war.
But, if you get out and about, life doesn't seem to mirror
what the general media would have us believe. Life goes on,
and it seems to be going on very well.
I have spent most of the last three months travelling around
the UK, and the people I've met have been charming, they all
seem to be prospering. Yes, they hate the mob in Westminster,
or simply ignore them as being utterly irrelevant, and they
are still buying and selling houses, which is what this
website is about.
I have been travelling pretty well all over North Somerset
recently, from Portishead, where an old school-friend lives,
down to Yeovil where I have a few caustic remarks to make
about the local magistrates court, but the main area I have
been covering is known simply as the Chew Valley
The river itself is not exactly easy to spot. From source to
the Avon is only about seventeen miles, where it empties into
the larger river at Keynsham. It is damned along its route to
form the Chew Valley lake
(which only goes to show how
much it can rain on top of the Mendips
, which is where
all this water comes from.
But it is a wonderful part of the world. You have the large
city of Bristol as a hub, and that hub is not only a hub for
intersecting motorways, but the airport has grown beyond
belief over the years.
I remember when it was called Lulsgate (after the village at
the bottom of the hill), and I used to take my mother there to
catch a plane to Dublin. Now you can go pretty well anywhere
in the world.
You have the beauty spots of Burrington
the local milk and cheese, and the area is still on the edge
of the sheep rearing hills and pastures where the woollen
industry has thrived for centuries.
The earliest scientifically dated cemetery in Great Britain
was found at Aveline's Hole
human bone fragments it contained, from about twenty-one
different individuals, are thought to be between roughly
10,200 and 10,400 years old. A series of inscribed crosses
found on the wall of the Aveline's Hole
believed to date from the early Mesolithic period
just after the last Ice Age.
This is also where a certain Rev Toplady got caught in the
rain and tried to hide in a cleft in the rock. He subsequently
wrote a poem about his experience which was later turned into
the well-known hymn, Rock of Ages
Interestingly, someone took some DNA samples from people
living in Cheddar
some while back. The fascinating
finding was that four of those people could be traced as
descendants from the stone age people who used to live in the
caves. Now that's some family tree!
One of the great pleasures for me is to hire a car on a late
spring morning and drive down through the quaint villages, and
along the winding lanes of this part of the world. The views
can be spectacular, especially as one drives south down the A
38 highway. They are also spectacular from the heights of Dundry
where you can sit in the churchyard and look over Bristol
spread at your feet, and off towards the fields of
and the view...
The last time I was there I was hoping to sample the delights
of the local inn, but it was closed. However, this is another
great thing about this part of the world; the quality of some
of the inns. Of course there are the industrial places which
are soulless. But all along that A 38 are a selection of pubs,
most offering great deals, fine ales, and plenty of charm.
Next week I will introduce you to a few of my favourite places
along the way. And in the third episode of this short series I
will introduce you to some real estate that is for sale in
this area. So, Stay Tuned!