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!


If you enjoyed this post and would like to read more, you can find me on Twitter @AuthorHelenJFacebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Plus my latest book release, A Thousand Rooms, is now available on Amazon. Visit my Amazon Author Page to see more.

 

Hugh’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Week 27 – Vintage

Lace Edwardian dress - bodice. This dress was a gift from a lovely lady I met at a vintage fashion show.

Lace Edwardian dress – bodice. This dress was a gift from a lovely lady I met at a vintage fashion show in Canada – it had belonged to one of her relatives, and would have most likely been made by hand.

This weeks Hugh’s Photography Challenge is ‘Vintage’ and, as I said to Hugh in the comments, he is speaking my language. I’ve collected vintage clothing and accessories since I was a teenager and, several years ago, a friend and I even had our own permanent vintage stall at an antique market. I’ve moved quite a lot over the past two decades, however, so my collection has grown and shrunk and grown again, pieces coming and going as my closet space allows.

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I bought these gloves in Sydney, Australia, at a jumble sale. They are suede, elbow length, and stamped ‘Made In France’ on the inside. Beautifully stitched along the seams and edges, the pearl buttons are a perfect finishing touch.

One of the things I’ve always loved about vintage clothing is the detail, which you really don’t see in modern mass-produced clothing. Tiny hand stitches, delicate beadwork, fine embroidery, gathered pleats – I even had an embroidered cotton dress once that had been repaired, yet the repair work was so finely done it was part of the charm of the dress. So, for Hugh’s challenge, I’ve decided to focus on the details.

This bag is, apparently, French, and is beaded in the Art Nouveau style on both sides, with tiny bugle beads.

This French evening bag is beaded in the Art Nouveau style on both sides, using tiny bugle beads. It is probably about a hundred years old, and I found it at a vintage clothing market in Australia.

If you’d like to participate in Hugh’s Challenge, here’s what to do:

1. Take or choose a photo that you’ve taken which shows something that is Vintage.
2. Create a new post on your blog entitled “Hugh’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Week 27 – ‘Vintage’
3. Add the photo(s) you have taken to the post and tell us a little about what you are showing.
4. Create a pingback to Hugh’s post or leave a link to your post in his comments section, so other participants can view the post.

 

Hugh’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Week 24 – Hats

I happen to love hats. I also happen to love vintage clothing and, for a while, had a stall with a friend at an antique market. One of our best purchases was a bulk lot of vintage hats from a woman in Wales – the hats, when they arrived, were all 1930s and 40s vintage, with gorgeous buckles, pleating and floral details. They sold like hot cakes, as you can imagine.

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The stall is no more, but I still have a vintage hat or two in my collection. This detail shot is from two hats I own – the one on the left is from the 1940s, woven straw with velvet details, while the one on the right is actually not vintage, it just looks like it is.

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I do wear the black hat quite often during winter, and always get compliments when I do. I’ve not worn the 1940s one yet, but perhaps the occasion will present itself one day. For now I just love the details, the black velvet and pink flowers with tiny pearl centres.

This was a great theme for me – thanks, Hugh! If you’re a hat-lover like me and want to enter Hugh’s Weekly Photo Challenge, visit his blog.