Saturday, July 23, 2011

Back from Bath

We're back from Bath - whole and refreshed and thankful for the much needed break. We trotted off with our good friends Savage and Tootsie for six days of recreation and for the most part we had a wonderful time. Mrs Kinch did point out that it was the first holiday we'd managed together in over a year and the time together was a gift.

Highlights of the trip included...

Savage in one of the "covered ways" up which the Cornish infantry charged towards the Roundhead lines. The Sir Bevil Grenvill* monument is to the right out of shot.

Having a tramp around the battlefield of Lansdowne - this was the site of a set to between Roundhead and Cavalier in 1643. This was a real treat because the battlefield has changed little since the engagement and we managed to view it at the same time of year, in conditions that were similar.

I have never taken much of an interest in the English Civil War, beyond reading Simon as a boy and having a hearty detestation of the Commonwealth. My sympathies are naturally with the Cavaliers, while Savage is a Parliamentarian. You will see Savage in the picture above in a characteristic pose not dancing, nor celebrating Christmas. Neither did he attend the theatre while we were on holiday. My smoking was also curtailed.

Parliamentarian swine.

What is wrong with this picture?

Also due to my posting while I was away, my friend Mike realised that I was in Bath and we managed to meet up for a pint in "The Volunteer Rifleman's Arms". A splendid establishment. It was very interesting to meet Mike in person as we had only corresponded before. A fascinating few hours during which we talked wargaming, writing history books, publishing, cartography and oddballs in the fraternity. We also met Mike's family, who gave us a warm welcome. We then changed pubs. Inexplicably, in a Mecca of cask beers, we managed to find a pub that served Guinness which Savage drinks when he can't get any turps. Unfortunately, it wasn't very good Guinness as is evidenced by the picture above.

This was a real surprise and something I'll have to repeat. A game next time Embree!

I had to stay quite quiet to get this shot of this little fellow, who is a common Marmoset, which seems something of a misnomer to me. I had imagined a common Marmoset would wear a flat cap, drink bitter and say things like "Eeee lad". Look at him, probably hasn't a days work in his life.

The highlight of the trip so far as Mrs Kinch was concerned was our outing to Longleat Animal Park. This was fantastic, even better than I remembered it. There had been big changes to the park since we were last there. You can walk in amongst the Meerkats for example, which is great. My camera battery ran out regretably quickly, so many of my pictures were taken on my phone, but expect a torrent of Meerkat videos.

The SS Great Britain (Mrs Kinch for scale)

We went on a day trip to Bristol which was mainly memorable for SS Great Britain museum. I hadn't been that keen on going and was mainly there to accompany Savage who has a passion for Isambard Kingdom Brunel that should worry Tootsie, were it not that the chap is safely dead and buried. The ship is a magnificent sight and is a credit to the team that restored her. She's held in drydock and you descend through a sheet of plate glass which represents the water line to inspect the hull. This area is kept at 20% humidity or less to keep the hull from rusting. What makes this an even more surreal experience is the fact that there is a layer of water on top of the glass, so that one looks up to see rippling rain falling on the water "surface" from underneath.


Mrs Kinch and I recently celebrated our three year anniversary. As it happens we went to Bath on our honeymoon and had a splendid cream tea in the Jane Austen exhibition rooms in 2008. I'm very fond of this particular meal and when we returned we were shown to a table right next to where we'd had tea on our last visit. I asked if we could be moved, the waitress agreed, but was a bit perplexed until I explained why. Needless to say she rose to the occasion as you can see above.

It wouldn't really be a holiday without some book shopping and I managed to substantially increase my collection of Henty's. I read "With Moore at Corunna" on the way home - fine, stirring stuff.

Taking communion at Bath Abbey was wonderful. A particularly pleasant and welcoming group of communicants made a stranger feel very welcome.

Savage and I also went on a trip to Frome on the good advice of Stryker. We were not disappointed. The Frome Model Centre is enormous, well stocked and staffed by pleasant and well informed staff who seperated me from my money with significantly less sting than usual. Savage picked up some Soviet Anti-Aircraft guns which will soon be gracing Libyan technicals, while I bought some Beech trees to dolly up my game boards as well as some ECW plastics.

Some rather excellant meals were eaten while we were away, but the palm must go to the Barrique Bistro. This restaurant looks slightly grotty on the outside, but the unassuming exterior conceal a real treat within. The food is best described as French tapas, small portions of classic French dishes served in little pots by some of the nicest waitstaff we'd met in a while. Very affordable too.

And that concludes "What I did on my holidays" by Conrad Kinch, Age 31 and one third.

*Respects were paid, Steve.


  1. An excellent report Conrad -glad all went well.I loved the cakestand!
    best wishes

  2. Sounds excellant - glad you hasd a nice time

  3. All I remember from my trip to Bath as a young lad was the postcard my sister bought of "The Man Who Asked for a Scotch in the Grand Pumproom at Bath"

    Sounds like a lot more fun was had by you and Mrs. Kinch than my 12 yr. old self experienced!

  4. Sounds like an absolutely delightful holiday.

    I've only had a proper tea once, in the 70's a friend and I did the grand tour in $5 a day. Brit-rail passes, youth hostels and hitchhiking. Early on we were caught off guard by no trains on a Scottish Sunday and tried hitching which resulted in a 24 hour visit to Glencoe, where there was also not much open. Tea at the hotel was for guests only but eventually we looked sufficiently pitiable that we ere allowed in. It didn't take long for 2 19 year olds who hadn't eaten in 12 hours to inhale the contents of the tray. I'm fairly sure that was not the approved manner of doing so.

    A glass of something substantial saw us through the evening when the pub opened for a few minutes and finally, the next morning (not being able to eat the hay in the sheep shed we had slept in) we gave up on a lift and started walking. Imagine our delight and annoyance when we found a 24 hour diner/truck stop a kilometer down the road. It seems our many requests about a place to get something to eat hadn't specified that we were willing to travel that far.

  5. Sounds like a very lovely holiday. I agree about the book-shopping. If I don't return from a vacation with suitcases heavy with books something would probably seem off (not that it's happened in recent memory).