We had a great time at the market in Wells yesterday. It was a fun mish-mash of flea market, farmer's market and open air food vendors. There were tons of fresh fruits and veggies, lots of local dairy and meat, jellies, chutneys, honeys, mustards, homemade cakes and shortbreads, juices.... There were also arts and crafts, used book and movie stalls, jewellery, clothes... Organic food and dairy are more accessible here - I think the movement has been "mainstream" here awhile. Prince Charles had been interested in the organic foods movement and actively supportive of organic farming for over twenty years. We bought an assortment of juice, jelly, honey, mustard and curd to bring home. We also got some homemade desserts to have later at the hotel. There were several places serving up fresh made curries and sausages and other good food. It smelled amazing but we were still full from breakfast.
After the market, we visited the Wells Abbey which is breathtakingly beautiful and has a gorgeous garden. Next to Lacock Abbey, this may be Tim's favorite spot. We could have spent all day just admiring. After the Abbey, we walked around looking at some of the other gorgeous medieval buildings all around town. There is a large open lawn in front of the Abbey and I loved the layering of history as we watched a group of college age guys playing rugby on the lawn with ancient buildings rising up in the background.
On the way back to the car, we stopped at the grocery store to buy more penguins (chocolate covered tea biscuits) to replace the ones I bought for Joni but then ate...
After Wells, we finally made it to the Jane Austen Centre and the Fashion Museum. Tim chose not to join me for the Jane Austen tour :). There were some fun replicas in the exhibits but the best thing was the 20 minute talk given by the curator about Jane and her family. I also loved the tiny gift shop packed with ALL THINGS Jane Austen. I have noticed that nearly every image of Mr. Darcy, everywhere we have been so far, is modelled after Colin Firth in the 1995 BBC version of Pride and Prejudice - not a one modelled after Matthew McFaddyn, who starred as Mr. Darcy in the 2005 Hollywood version. These Brits know their Austen:) Did you know there is even a Jane Austen magazine??? There is!
After my visit with Jane, Tim and I went to the Fashion Museum which our guidebook raved about but which we found disappointing. It was a rather short tour considering the admission price and as pictures weren't allowed I won't really be able to recall even the really impressive displays. But while we were there we did view the Bath Assembly Rooms, which are in the same building. That was very fun for me since that figure prominently in Jane Austen's "Bath novels" Northanger Abbey and Persuasion.
We ate dinner in a great local pub, the Pig and Fiddle. We had our usual drinks and burgers with chips. They were very good and reasonably priced. Some people (you know who you are!!) will think we're completely mad, but we are loving the English beef!
We finished the day relatively early but it will be nice to relax in the room a bit. One of my favorite BBC series, Midsomer Murders, is coming on soon so we're looking forward to an evening with Insp. Barnaby and Troy and a nice cuppa with caramel shortbread. YUM!
Coincidentally, we passed Midsomer today...