Friday, 4 September 2015

Cheddar Gorge.

So, having spent most of the day at Banksy's 'Dismaland' (I'll post about that tomorrow) we then headed off into the Somerset countryside.

I drove up onto the ridge of The Mendip Hills, and we took a look at The Sedgemoor or The Somerset levels which is a great low lying flatland.

It seems to stretch away forever. We were looking over it when we were up on Glastonbury Tor a month or so ago. It still floods every so often even though it was drained by Dutch engineers long ago;

Then we headed for Cheddar, home of the Cheese!

Unfortunately it had changed a lot since I'd last been there; tourist shops everywhere, crazy car park charges and people everywhere.

Then, almost by accident we drove up the Gorge itself;

It's more dramatic than I remembered - great vertical walls and an almost alpine road, winding backwards and forwards.

The Limestone has been eaten away for millennia and there are lots of caves. The really big ones are now tourist attractions.

The Gorge started life as an underground stream that just got bigger and bigger, cutting away a cavern which eventually collapsed, the road lies on the fallen roof.

We saw one big damp cave and then found the stream which still runs underneath when we went down to the village later;

It is breathtaking and I just wished I was in the Alps.

 And then something amazing happened!
When I broke my back, no one spotted it for 5 months until I forced them to give me another appointment with Dr Feelgood.
It was so bad at times that I could only sleep in an armchair - I couldn't move a lot. I ended up watching a lot of 'Daytime TV' and that often meant old repeats of 'Wheeler Dealers' which starts out life on the Discovery Channel if you have satellite.
For someone who used to have to work on elderly cars when I couldn't really afford to drive one it was a great programme - they buy an old wreck and then they do it up before they sell it on.
Robyn hated it!
Anyway, we were parking up in the middle of the gorge when Robyn spotted this orange car and shouted out to me;

It's 'The Wheeler Dealers' road testing one of the cars they fixed up!

Mike Brewer the car dealer is driving, Edd China the mechanic is giving me a big smile.

Behind you can see the camera car with one camera at the front. At the back was a platform for a camera person to film the driver from the front.

I always assumed that while the cars looked alright for TV they would be tatty in real life.

It was immaculate.

I know it's stupid but it was a big buzz for me.

This was why we were there, I'm looking a bit haggard in this selfie;

All these pictures are Robyn's as my camara gave up at 'Dismaland'.

We were able to watch them making Cheddar - here they are filling moulds with cheese before they are squashed into shape by a press.

Then they store the cheese for at least three months ;

We got a chance to taste some different cheeses and then ended up buying some very expensive Cheddar from Cheddar Gorge.
We took a walk through the village - we'd got there late and it was closing up by now and the street was emptying.
We found the stream, by now out of the ground and on the surface.
It was the clearest stream I have ever seen, rainwater that has percolated down through the rock.
I was exhausted by now and so we sat for a while in the car park, looking over the Mill Pond where the stream is dammed.
There are clumps of wild watercress;

Most of the day had been fairly grey or even raining but now in late afternoon the sun came out.
We finished our sandwiches and I just drowsed, listening to the trickle of the stream.
Then we headed off to search for some Cider, which I wrote about yesterday.
Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)

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