The few days we stayed were lovely; we had a delicious dinner at the local pub... there was hot sponge pudding with sticky toffee and clotted cream that was drool-worthy! We visited the small city of Wells and admired the cathedral and bishops palace from the riverside with coffee and homemade cake from a market stall.
Then on the Sunday we set off on a mission over the border into Wiltshire for Bucket List item #2: Go to a Safari Park. In my case with such limited time and money it's unlikely I'll make it to Africa (although anyone offering I would never turn it down!) so Longleat would fulfill this particular item!
Started as a reserve by an Earl in the sixties Longleat has grown into a huge attraction, quite unique in the sense that you have the opportunity to get much closer to the animals than in most zoos. My personal highlights included:
- The boat trip past hippos and gorilla island, home to a huge Silverback gorilla named Nico.
- Holding a snake; which I have done before but I love it. Their skin is so smooth!
- Seeing a birds of prey display where they had trained vultures to fly very low around the heads of the crowd along with buzzards circling higher up to give the experience of being in a whirl of birds. They came so close we had to duck our heads and for me personally, with no small amount of bird phobia, it took some guts, which makes me proud. I am less scared of things now it seems. It also gives me hope that I will be up to the challenge of Falconry (#21).
- Finally driving through the actual safari, clambering about the jeep to take pictures; we saw white rhino just the other side of the car door and monkeys hitching a ride on the roof! One even ran off with an Imagine It card!! I am an animal lover and being so close to these animals given the freedom to roam was brillent.
There is so much more to see at Longleat, we got nowhere near the house, but we spent all day there and I enjoyed every minute. Plus we are getting through that list, it has given me ideas as to which tasks to focus on next especially the falconry... that seemed a giant challenge to me, but after the vultures I am confident I can do it!!
Our last day in Somerset we went to visit the famed Cheddar Gorge; I have studied it for my degree and driven past it on the M5 numerous times but never been so of course it made The List #90. As with many tourist attractions the place is inundated with fripperies and woolly facts on the Ice Age but the caverns are a spectacular geographical wonder and I loved to reminded of how much I actually learnt at Uni when at times it can seem like the work I had put into some areas of my life if completely irrelevant! But in short, hey I know stuff!
This blog only really serves to catch you up on the highlights and to hopefully highlight just how dedicated to achieving these goals I am. Some seem really big and I worry I simply won't have the time to do them at all. With the news of my recent scan not being so good and the break from chemo treatment allowing me to see really quite how rubbish it makes me feel for very little benefit I am strongly considering not going back to it. The question remains a shorter time of better quality before the inevitable downward slide or just a longer downward slide? What would you do?