Wednesday Wander – Watchet, Somerset

This little harbour town in Somerset is has neither the fame of San Francisco nor the glamour of Biarritz, yet it is where I’m wandering this week.

Watchet is a charming place with an ancient history, situated at the mouth of the River Severn. An Iron age hill-fort nearby, later re-fortified by Alfred the Great, is said to be the origin of the settlement, with the harbour originally named Gow Coed by the Celts, meaning ‘under the wood’. Across the water lie the misty hills of Wales and it is from the harbour, looking at the view, that Coleridge is said to have been inspired to write The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. A statue marks the spot, the Ancient Mariner and his albatross together for eternity.

We stayed in a pink-painted cottage with a view of the sea, walking the cobbled streets to the local pub or fish and chip shop, wandering the bric-a-brac and antique stores (where I scored an excellent pair of vintage boots).

A trip to the nearby beach produced further treasure in the shape of fossils – ammonites and oyster shells frozen in time for millions of years, tumbled among the stones that lined the shore.

As we walked back from the beach we took a bramble-lined path running between the trainline and the sea. In the 19th century, Watchet was a centre of the industrialised paper industry, its products travelling country-wide. Now the tracks are used by commuters and sightseers, and it was a rather special day. The famous Flying Scotsman steam train was in town, taking people on journeys through the beautiful green countryside. People lined the tracks to watch it pass, and so did we.

We had only a couple of days in Watchet, yet it made an impression that lingers, of hidden houses down curving streets, distant hills and fossil beaches, and water that changes with the sky and tides. I hope to go back there one day…

Thanks for coming on another Wednesday Wander with me – see you next time!

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Thursday Doors – The British Library, London

IMG_1259 This is the main entrance to The British Library, London. Through it you can see into the central piazza, and the large statue of Isaac Newton (based on a drawing by William Blake). This was the meeting point for the first Blogger’s Bash last year, and I have fond memories of us all standing around and chatting like old friends, even though most of us were meeting for the first time.

IMG_1260 I went past the library this weekend past, which prompted me to take these shots. Someone had, rather incongruously, left a small baby doll propped against the open door – whether a lost toy or an artistic statement, it was hard to tell.

IMG_1261 The Library was created in 1973, as part of the British Library Act of 1972, and is the largest library in the world (by virtue of the number of items catalogued there). My own books are here – this is due to the principle of Legal Deposit, which dates back to to 1610. It states that the Library is entitled to a free copy of every book published or distributed within Britain, as are five other libraries, The Bodleian Library at Oxford, The University Library at Cambridge, The Trinity College Library at Dublin, and the National Libraries of both Scotland and Wales. While you have to send a copy of your book to the British Library, the other five libraries will only request a copy if required, which you then have to send at your own cost (and yes, this happened to me).

Thanks for reading my entry for this week’s Thursday Doors Challenge, courtesy of Norm 2.0. To see more doors or add one of your own, head on over to his site.