After our two bus tours of the City of Bath I insisted that Hubby and I visit the Roman Baths.
"So we're going to see the Roman part of Bath?" Hubby asked as we walked the few yards from the Abbey to the Baths.
"Well, they are Roman, but they're actually baths."
"Like bath tubs?"
"Like huge bath tubs. They're underground hot springs that come to the surface. Bath was a popular place for invalids and people who were sick to come to take the waters in the late 18th and 19th centuries. And, no, they didn't actually take the waters away with them. To take the waters meant to drink them and to soak in them. They hadn't any real medicine back then, so the only alternatives were what we would call holistic or herbal remedies."
"Originally, wheelchairs were called Bath chairs. They were invented here since the invalids needed to be able to get around the City."
"And the Wellington connection is what? I know it's coming."
"There is no Wellington connection to Bath. As far as I can make out. He did go to Cheltenham Spa with Kitty and the boys when he had that ear thing," I said, blowing my nose on some loo paper.
"What ear thing?"
"He came down with a bad fever while he was in India and it settled in his left ear. He had pain in that ear ever after and sought out various cures, none of which worked. Then, when he was in Verona, a cannon went off very close to him and the Duke suffered a temporary hearing loss in both ears. Finally, in 1822, he went to a doctor who poured hot vinegar into the left ear, which only served to make him deaf."
"The doctor made Wellington deaf?"
I nodded. I would have said who? who? at this juncture had I been with Victoria, but as I wasn't, I left it alone.
In we went to the Roman Baths and Museum and, once again, we each picked up an audio guide. Hubby was becoming a dab hand at using them by this point. I must say, the Baths were very atmospheric when we visited, the day being cold and dreary, they had the torches going, as you'll see my pictures below.
You can see a video tour of the Baths here and another which shows even more of the museum and its antiquities here. Hubby thoroughly enjoyed the tour and seemed inordinately interested in the mechanics of the plumbing, cisterns, etc. Go figure. However, by the end of our tour, he had started to look a tad peaked himself.
"What's wrong?" I asked.
"I hate to say it, Hon, but I think I'm getting sick." Oh the irony - for centuries, people had come to Bath in order to get well. We, on the other hand, had apparently come to Bath in order to meet our deaths. And have I mentioned that today was New Year's Eve? Dinner at the Cote Brasserie? Fireworks over the Abbey? Oh, the best laid plans . . . . . . for which I had waited for months. Sigh.
"Let's get back to the hotel. We can walk from here." Hubby gave me a skeptical look. "Really, we can."
So home we strolled, passing by chance the take-out place Hubby had discovered the day before.
"Look, Hon, it's the place where I got the chicken wraps. Let's get some." I really had no appetite, but it was now close to five o'clock and, honestly, it didn't look good for our keeping our dinner reservation. And seeing as I hadn't eaten a meal for more than twenty-four hours, I agreed to a wrap. It really was a take-out place, with nothing inside but a counter to place one's order at and, behind it, a kitchen. When our food was ready, I grabbed a couple of Coke's out of the cooler and added them to our order. Strictly for medicinal purposes, you'll understand.
From there, it was a short stroll to Duke's Hotel and we went in and climbed the stairs to our room. I began to understand what Hubby meant when he said it seemed as if they kept moving the Wellington Suite up a flight. Each time we arrived at a landing, I was certain it would be ours. But it wasn't.
"I told you," Hubby said, as if reading my mind. "Just when you think you're there, you're not." Finally, we arrived at our room, where I found an envelope on our bed. Opening it, I saw that it was invitation from the owners of the hotel, asking us to join them and our fellow guests for a New Year's Eve drink in the lounge. Reader, I truly could have cried. Instead, I made myself a rum and Coke.
"Drinking?" Hubby asked as he bit into his chicken wrap.
I nodded. "Do you want one?"
"God, no. I feel awful." Come to think of it, I still felt awful myself, but as I said earlier, the rum and Coke was strictly for medicinal purposes. And it was New Year's Eve, after all. Besides, a little rum never hurt the Royal Navy. Hubby urged the chicken wrap on me and I took a few bites, but I had no appetite.
Done now with his meal, Hubby lay down on the bed. "Would you be really disappointed if we didn't go to dinner?"
"Yes. Very disappointed, but to tell you the truth, the last thing I want to do is get all dolled up or eat anything or stay up until midnight. I feel like crap."
"I'm sorry, Hon. I know how much you were looking forward to tonight."
"S'okay," I said, gathering up what was left of my cold syrup, ibuprofen and tissues. "Here," I handed everything across to Hubby. "You'd better start dosing yourself now." I finished my drink and then made another and took it with me as I went for a long, hot soak in the bath. It really was a gorgeous bath. In Bath. In England. Then I thought about how much I'd looked forward to being in the Wellington Suite on New Year's Eve. I just hadn't counted on seeing quite so much of the Wellington Suite. Sigh. Have I mentioned that I could have cried?
By the time I returned to the bedroom, Hubby looked the worse for wear and was soon asleep. I climbed into bed and watched Miss Marple for a while before I, too, fell asleep. Sometime later, I woke to the sound of cannon fire. Had I been dreaming about Wellington going deaf at Verona? Boom! . . . . Boom! . . . .Boom! What the Hell? You'll understand that it took me a few moments to get my wits about me and to realize that what I was hearing were fireworks. Going off over the Abbey. Without me.
And a Happy New Year to you, too. Sigh.
Part Seven Coming Soon!