Genuflecting and drinking beer in Devon, England

I had a very pleasant 8 days in Torquay, The 5 weeks prior were very full-on and I needed some “cave time”.

Torquay is endeavoring to sell itself as the English Riviera, but the weather for the first 5 days, was not picture postcard stuff. I was starting to wonder if the sun was still in existence, above the gray sky and intermittent rain, that were visible from my motel room, overlooking the English Channel

a lovely promenade and harbour to wonder around in, while I got a salt water fix

I had quite a few afternoons in the town pubs, sharing stories with the colourful locals.

The skyline is dominated by the local Anglican ChurchSaint John the ApostleWhile the TV show Grand Design, gives one some idea of what is involved in building. Building a building like this, in the 1860’s would have been a monumental undertaking. The stonemasons used the rock excavated to level the site, for the church walls. the ceiling was lines with wood parquetry (far better in real life, than this photo, unfortunately) Venetian Mosaics on the wallI braved the rain, to attend Sunday service,lovely organ playing.

The vicar have a engaging charisma, which was evident in how he conducted the service and his sermon.

there would have been less than 30 people in the congregation, with an average age, the wrong side of 70. There is no youngies coming in, to replace the oldies as they die of old age.

After service it was back to the rectory for a cup of tea.

Sunday is Sunday Roast Day, so I ask for the local knowledge on the best pub for Sunday Roast. The unanimous recommendation was The Hole in the Wall.

The food was very good.

It was Australia Day so I ordered a pint of Fosters to celebrate the day. Unfortunately my beer drinking palette, has evolved well past Fosters, and that was as much as it was interested in drinking.a number of people had told me that I needed to go up to Exeter, to see the Exeter Cathedral, so I caught the train up there for the day.

building started in 1107 in Norman Style, followed by a massive rebuild starting to 1258 to add more height, to change the style to Decorated Gothic, which was finished by 1400, which is how it has been since.

multi ribbed vaulted ceiling400 decorated ceiling bosses, one of which depicts the murder of Thomas BecketThe minstrels’ gallery in the nave, dates to around 1360 and is unique in English cathedrals. Its front is decorated with 12 carved and painted angels playing medieval musical instruments,the engineering and workmanship, and the history (which my genome was part of) was enjoyed in a quite, unrushed and un-crowded way (unlike Prague)

The 18-metre-high (59 ft) bishop’s throne in the quire, was made from Devon oak between 1312 and 1316 (it spend WW2 hidden away in the hills)graves from Medieval times

and history from the British Empire

There was 5.30pm Choral Evensong, which was too tempting for me not to hang around Exeter for.

this organ playingaccompanying the choir, seated in the quireme seated in the pews beside the choir, was a very special musical experience, in this ambiance. Comparable with a musical festival, without the crowds and the hero worshiping.

As much as I was enjoying Torquay, it was time to move on, catching the train to Bristolmy hotel room was not ready, so I went into town, looking for the craft breweries that Lisa knew I would  enjoy.

Finding a BrewDogwith 20 craft beers on tapI very much enjoyed a pint of their Small Batch Hazy, and their Zombie Cake, will make Guinness taste very industrial, when I get to Ireland Like Torquay the building that dominated the skline of Bristol is the church, St Mary Redcliffe ChurchThe church building was constructed from the 12th to the 15th centuries, and it has been a place of Christian worship for over 900 years. A spectactular Gothic vaulted ceiling

one of the lovely things about these larger Anglican Churches are their very high quality choirs, which sing most the services accompanied by the church’s centuries old organ. So I will be back in 2 days time for Sunday’s 11.15am Choral Mattins.

I enjoyed wondering around Bristol

a “salty sea dog” statue


plenty of high quality cheap foodtracking down the Craft Brewery recommendations Lisa had given me20 unique beers on-taptheir sour Amuse Strawberry, with 10% strawberry juice was a very enjoyable journey for my taste budstheir Millionaire Salted Caramel Milk Stout, was like drinking the most delectable salted caramel chocolateand their 7.5% alcohol Wilde Red, was comparable with the best port, except better according to my taste buds.

I had learnt my lesson from 2 pints the day before, so was drinking thirds.

In 1973, my family (including me) came to Bristol to visit my Aunty Barbara, who was then working here, for Australian Immigration. Somehow the memories of visiting the Roman Baths in Bath then, were still embedder in my memory banks, so a trip to Bath had to be on the next day’s agenda.

A short walk to the Temple Mead Train station, for the half hour train ride to Bath

Bath is a lot more touristy than Bristolthe Roman Baths were just as I remembered from 47 years ago

then off to do some more genuflecting in the spectacular, Bath Abbey

the Fan Vaulted Ceiling, created in the 1500s, by the king’s master masons

there was a tour, up the 212 steps of the Bell Tower, that I put my name down for, in an hour’s time. while waiting I checked out the Pulteney Bridge the views of Bath, from the Bell Tower were very goodlooking down at the Roman Bathsand over at Bath Rugby’s fieldrather unusually there was an Australian Flag, in front of an Australian Coat of Arms on the Abby’s wall.

Admiral Arthur Phillip, after leading the First Fleet to Australia in 1788(and then becoming the first Governor of Australia), he retired to Bath.

Our public holiday on the 26th of January, (called Australia Day), is the date he raised the Union Jack on Australian soils for the first was a lovely day to wonder around Bathup to the Circusthen across to the Royal Crescentand then it was time to go looking for The Bath Brew Housethe Roman Influence was obvious in the naming of their beersI’d arrived in time to catch the first game of the Rugby 6 Nations.

A bloke’s heaven, good great beers and rugby on the bar’s TVthey also had a very good salted caramel stout called Carpe Noctem (a Latin phrase meaning “seize the night“)I kept too halfs (not full pints), so as to be able to make it back to my hotel, via the train.

Next days service in St Mary Redciffe Church was very enjoyable, with the female choir singing. The male choir sing the 6.30pm Choral Evensong, so I had to come back for that, which I was very glad I did.between services I went to Brewdog’s to enjoy the sour beers, they had recently put on.

Their dark 10.1% alcohol Arcade City, was a taste heaven, for my taste budstwo great cities to visit, with very contracting experiences to be enjoyed.


I am writing this in Dublin

Drinking Guinnessand eating Irish stew


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