By the time I woke up the next morning, I felt marginally better, even though the flu/cold/cholera had now settled in my chest and head. I was alone and so I laid in bed for a bit taking stock of the day. It was New Year's Eve - the New Year's Eve I'd been planning for ages. We had dinner reservations tonight at Cote Brasserie restaurant for 8:30, with fireworks over the Abbey afterwards. Sigh. Thank goodness I hadn't booked the horse and carriage drive I'd been contemplating for tonight.
Hubby came in the door. "You missed breakfast."
"Don't care," I told him.
"How do you feel?"
"Like crap. What's it doing outside?"
"Rainy, cold and grey. Typical English weather. There's something fishy about this hotel."
I stared at him. "It's like they keep moving the Wellington Suite," he went on. I stared at him some more. "Every time I climb those stairs and think our room is just one more flight up, it isn't. It's like they add a flight of stairs whenever I leave the hotel."
"They don't move the room. You're just old. What do you want to do today?"
"Are you well enough to do anything?"
That was an excellent question. Was I well enough? Had I been this ill at home, I'd have either stayed in bed all day or checked myself into a hospital. As it was, we were in Bath and I was determined to see it.
"Well, I'm not dead. That's something. And if I'm not dead, I'm not losing another whole day in Bath. Let's start with the bus tour."
"They have a bus tour here? Like in London?" Hubby asked with enthusiasm.
On that happy note I got myself washed and dressed and we trundled down the stairs, where we met Eliza.
"Are you feeling any better?" she asked.
"I'm no longer convinced that I'm going to die, so I suppose it's an improvement." Eliza then told us that the tour bus made a stop one block away, in front of the Holburne Museum
, which I'd wanted to visit anyway. So Hubby and I headed out into the drizzle.
We arrived at the Museum and spent a few minutes looking at the exhibits before Hubby parked himself on a bench and refused to budge. "You go look around. Take your time," he told me. So I strolled about a bit, without really taking much in. I was simply too sick to appreciate the fabulous displays properly. Do check the Museum's link above to properly view their permanent collections.
Before long, I put Hubby out of his misery and suggested that we wait for the tour bus in the shelter in front of the Museum. You can see the bus shelter in the bottom right of the photo above. By this time, it was raining a bit harder, so we huddled together and looked out at Great Pulteney Street.
After a while, I dug into my shoulder bag, found the roll of loo paper I'd put in there before leaving the room and blew my nose.
"We've been sitting here for more than fifteen minutes, haven't we?" Hubby asked.
"I think so."
"Eliza said the tour bus stopped here every fifteen minutes." We waited another fifteen minutes in the misty cold. Still no bus.
"The main tour bus stop is by the Abbey. We can walk there." I said, taking my travel umbrella out of the shoulder bag. So Hubby and I trudged up Great Pulteney Street towards Laura Place.
And we arrived at Bridge Street and crossed the bridge.
No sooner had we gotten properly into town than what did we spy but a Cafe Nero. Our spirits soared as Hubby and I shouldered one another out of the way in an effort to be first in the door.
Hubby used our loyalty card to get us two free coffees and we sat at a table and gratefully drank our brews. There is a God, I thought as I blew my nose again.
"Do you want some food?" Hubby asked. "You didn't eat anything yesterday. Aren't you starving?"
The thought of food was repulsive. I shook my head. I finally knew how Daphne "I'll eat when I'm dead" Guinness feels.
Even that didn't sound appealing, but I accompanied Hubby into the alley at the side of Café Nero's that leads to a quaint shopping street. If anyone knows it's name, let me know.
From here, I led us to the bus stop at the Abbey, where we found the errant tour bus.
Bath City Tours offer two routes, the Skyline Tour and the City Tour. We began with the Skyline tour, boarded the bus and settled into front row seats on the top.
"This is great, Hon."
We adjusted our earphones as the bus pulled away from the kerb and headed towards Manvers Street and North Parade, a terrace of Grade I listed buildings built by John Wood the Elder circa 1741 as a summer promenade, ending with a viewpoint high above the river.
In the distance, we could see Sham Castle, a folly that appears to be the entrance gate to an impressive baronial hall, but which is nothing more than a single wall. It was built at the direction of Ralph Allen "to charm all visitors to Bath."
Then we arrived at Great Pulteney Street. "Look, Hon, there's our hotel!" I nodded. "And the Holburne Museum."
Before long we arrived at Cleveland Bridge and the toll house.
The bridge, the third across the River Avon and the most northerly, was built by a private company at a cost of some £10,000 for the Earl of Darlington, owner of the Bathwick estate, who was created Marquess of Cleveland in 1827. One of the finest late Georgian bridges in the Greek Revival style anywhere, the bridge opened up the Bathwick Estate to considerably more traffic, and provided a new, and more dignified approach to the City by bypassing Walcot Street.
Leaving the City, we meandered along country lanes and were treated to gorgeous views of both the countryside and the City of Bath.
We passed the American Museum
and the National Trust Landscape Gardens before we returned to the City centre, where we left the bus, hand in hand. The weather was still bleak, but we had both enjoyed the tour, which had lifted our spirits. Somewhat.
"Do you want to do the other tour?" Hubby asked.
"Sure, do you?"
"Yeah. I love these tours, Hon."
I smiled at Hubby. "I love you. Sorry I'm sick and ruining your time in Bath."
"You're not ruining it! We're having fun, aren't we?"
"Yes," I said determinedly. "We are."
Part Two Coming Soon!
Labels: A Couple in England, Kristine Hughes