For Valentine's Day we decided to go away on a mini-break to Exmoor National Park. We used to do this a few years back, but house, mortgage and work kind of tied us down.
So I sneaked out half an hour earlier from work on Thursday in yet another snow blizzard in order to pick up Lundulph and drive off to Somerset. It didn't look good and I'd called the B&B on Monday to find out if we'd be able to get there.
We certainly did get there, later than planned, but not only was it not snowing, it was +8 degrees according to the car.
Our landlords had lit a very nice fire for us, but we were too tired to enjoy it.
We spent the next two days hiking up and down the rolling hills and did some funny walks in the evenings. Not to mention that going away off season means that feeding places are rare and open at awkward hours. We kipped a few pints in the various establishments on Porlock High Street while waiting for at least one to start serving food. Lundulph got his rare steak, still flapping on the plate and I went for the healthy option of veggie burger with chips...
Anyway, on our last day we made a few stops on our way back, one of these being the town of Cheddar to admire the Gorge and also buy some genuine, real, original, the one and only Farmhouse Cheddar.
The gooseberry and elderflower jam just seemed too intriguing. The Cheddar shop had oak smoked wedges and I have a very spot soft for smoked cheeses. They also had Cheddar rounds aged in caves. They were covered in cheese cloth that had gone black with mould. I bought the smallest size they had and I suspect I'll have to share it with someone, it's way too big for me and Lundulph has an unnatural and inexplicable aversion to cheese.
Speaking of caves, we also went to Wookie Hole and we did that before Cheddar Gorge and that was such a waste of pretty much everything, put me in a bad mood. Not only was it quite far to get to, they had some sort of "Experience" fairground attraction collection for which they had the nerve to charge £15 per person. This gave us a guided tour of 30 minutes with one guide who was lacking in the areas of organisation and pronunciation, so the group ended up wandering too far in and had to retrace our steps and at least I struggled hearing what he was saying (in case he had some interesting things to say). After that we got to walk through the "Fairyland" - artificial islands with fairy statues of various sizes and wind chimes - and through pre-historic earth with a "Neanderthal man" who seemed to be pregnant with a sheep and have his wig on backwards and a selection of plastic dinosaurs desperately in need of a lick of paint. Even the little children failed to bring up enthusiasm and I can't blame them - Jurassic Park is a tough act to follow. The trail then took us around the back of the place where all the skips are kept and into some sort of demo area for making paper, but the chap stationed there didn't seem to be too interested.
There was some sort of cafe to rip you off further before allowing the victims into the nostalgia entertainment arcade. I must say it as an impressive collection of very early one armed bandits - two had Sega written on them, but you had to pay 50 p for 5 old pennies in order to play them.
The maze of mirrors was sort of OK and there was a decent selection of bendy mirrors to make you look funny and finally we reached the exit and the massive shop. This is a lot bigger than I've seen at other places and had the usual tat. At this point Lundulph got fed up and we walked off.
So the lesson learned is don't bother, it's not worth it.
But do go to Cheddar Gorge, it is very pretty, though there were so many people there.
I'll blog further on this when I've opened my cheeses. Must see when Lundulph is out next...