Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Two go mad in Salisbury

Mr Robot and I celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary this week. (We've been together for 22 years now.) Usually we go away on holiday when our anniversary rolls round, but the cattery was fully booked, so instead of going away for a week we decided to make do with one night somewhere nice.

This was a pretty big decision as the Urchins had never been left on their own, and we were terrified that if we left them alone for too long Ziggy might go wandering again as he did in May. Because of that, we picked somewhere fairly close, so we could get home easily: Salisbury.
"Abandon me and go to Salisbury, would you?
You will pay. YOU WILL PAY."
We didn't plan to do lots of things while we were there, though Mr Robot was keen to get photos of the cathedral from across the water meadows, as Constable painted it. We arrived by train, and scouted out the area round the water meadows. It was really lovely. The meadows were designed to be flooded for good grass growth/grazing, and somehow they're still there - I'm honestly surprised some vandal developer hasn't planted new houses all over them. Maybe all the water poses too much of a flood risk, or perhaps Salisbury council values the beauty of the area. At any rate, on a sunny day it must be heavenly there. A moody sky would also have been something. Unfortunately we got a boring, flat grey sky.


We walked all the way round and came back into the city from the other side. The place we stayed is The Chapter House, which has a steakhouse/grill downstairs and rooms upstairs. We got soooo lucky with our room. As you can see, the building is quite old, and ours was on the first floor (American: second floor) in the half-timbered bit. It was enormous, with wonderful wood panelling and a really comfy bed.
As well as the steakhouse, there are private dining rooms downstairs, all panelled walls and dark furniture, looking like something out of Poldark.

Salisbury itself feels very Poldarky, or perhaps very Hardy-y. Dorchester is the heart of Hardy country, but Salisbury still has that classic 'Wessex' feel. Buildings there date from the 12th century onwards, but there are plenty of Georgian ones too. It's one of those places where you don't need to use much imagination to visualise it as it must have been a hundred or two hundred years ago. The shops are a good mix of high street staples, plus there's a decent market in the town square. We grabbed some Thai street food for lunch at the market.

I dragged Mr Robot into the chazzas (where it was a good job we travelled by train or we might have come home with another dinner service) and to the little Antiques Centre. That had a lot of very nice-looking silverware, but as we'd never polish it there's no point us owning any silver. I also accompanied him to the pubs. Among the pubs we stopped at, we had a drink in the 12th-century Red Lion, which is a lovely building with a very pretty courtyard but the bar is very modern and unsatisfying, and another at the New Inn, which is very new indeed being from the 15th century...
"My cat doesn't understand me like you do, pub cat..."
The New Inn was our favourite pub of all those we visited, for several reasons. It was cosy inside, with leather seats and wooden beams and the smell of the log burner. It had a garden at the back from where you could see the cathedral tower. The range of beers was pleasing. And it had a most excellent pub cat, a fat bruiser of a tomcat called Poppy. Clearly he had become a muscly lump to overcome being given a girl's name. We liked Poppy lots.
Last night we ate dinner in the Chapter House's steakhouse, and enjoyed it very much. After dinner we took a moonlight stroll round by the cathedral. It struck me that none of the cathedrals I've visited in Spain have grass round them, but most of those here in the West country have lawns around them. Our soggy climate has to have some advantages! The floodlighting really brought out the beauty of the architecture (Early English Gothic, apart from the tower and west front, which are Decorated Gothic, buildings fans.

After a night in our luxurious room, we could have spent more time in town, but were desperate to get home to the cats and make sure they still loved us. I think they still do.

Outfit note for people who like that sort of thing: I wore one of my current favourite daytime outfits: pleated tartan skirt, me-made late 40s navy cardigan, blue vest top and navy tights, plus black penny loafers. (I ought to have brown brogues for this outfit.) Usually I'd button the cardigan up but it was too hot, so the world just had to see the vest top... Anyway, it was ideal for a day stamping round Salisbury and along the water meadows path.

19 comments :

  1. I'm off to Salisbury to meet up with my sisters for an early birthday get together next month. You've made me look forward to it even more now. The Chapter House looks beautiful, just perfect for an anniversary. Beasts, eh? They keep us on the straight and narrow, don't they?! My name isTania and I'm interested in outfits. Very nice one you've got there. Really really suits you!

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    1. The fanciest place in town is Charter 1227 - I did regret not booking us in there to eat. But the New Inn was fantastic for beer.

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  2. Happy Anniversary, you two!
    Salisbury looks wonderful, you're right very Hardy'y. I love the look of the hotel you stayed in and that spectacular room.
    Glad the kittens behaved themselves. I hope you didn't tell them about Poppy, they'll be jealous!
    Looking gorgeous in your kilt and blue top. xxx

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    1. I did pay a fair bit for the room, but that's one of the reasons we set aside travelling money every month - so we can do what we like when we're away. That said, I'm usually a stingebag when it comes to London, because you DON'T get what you pay for in London, so it's usually better to go the Travelodge/Premier Inn route there.

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  3. Congratulations on your anniversary, Mim!

    I've never been to Salisbury and having read your post I'd like to go. It looks like an interesting place and your hotel and room was brilliant. What were the chazzas like? Any good?

    Hope the cats were fine when you got back. That's one of the reasons I don't have any pets...

    I liked your outfit - beautifully coordinated!

    Hope your week is going well.

    Veronica
    vronni60s.blogspot.com

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    1. The chazzas were okay, I saw a few nice things though nothing I needed to take home. Annoyingly, by the time we went to the one that looked really interesting, it had closed (grr, what sort of chazza closes at 4pm?)

      Last week was, Salisbury aside, a week of big housey things - cutting up a tree in the garden, sorting out the front garden etc. My back is glad i'm back at work this week!

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  4. Happy Anniversary.

    We have an abomination called, Salisbury steak (a ground beef patty covered in some sweet brown sauce)but hopefully, you weren't served anything like that!

    That is a beautiful cardigan-you are so talented (I can't manage a scarf without messing it up).

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    1. Nope, it was a proper steak!

      I wish to try another great American steak abomination, cheese steak. That looks junklicious.

      It's hard to make out in the photos, but there's an intricate stitch pattern all over the cardi. It took me over a year to complete.

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  5. Happy anniversary! Sounds like a lovely way to spend it. Your room was splendid and that skirt is really good on you (looks nice with the navy, I must note that colour combination!) X

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    1. Being able to dig out my woollies is one of the few consolations Autumn brings. I love that skirt, it's so warm (and another chazza cheapo).

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  6. Happy anniversary!! Looks like a fab little getaway, that room is splendid. I really like that skirt with the navy, very smart looking x

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  7. Happy Anniversary, Mim and Mr. Robot! By coincidence, we have also been together for 22 years this September! Doesn't your room at the Chapter House look nice and cosy, even if it was enormous? Salisbury itself is well-worth a visit indeed (I was there many years ago, when we were staying in ... Bath) and I love that photo of the cathedral all lit up at night. xxx

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    1. Oh, congratulations on your anniversary!

      It was a very cosy room. I'd definitely stay there again if I went back to Salisbury. I'm hoping to talk the Mr into going back just for the day, as they have regular vintage markets.

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  8. Happy anniversary to you both! Love the judgemental kitty cat face, that's so cute! How lovely is that room.

    We haven't been to Salisbury in years, I think one of the last times we meandered over to the Old Sarum where I had a spectacular and very graceful fall. It was so magnificent I was actually annoyed that no one was there to see; there was a spin and a very ballerina esque descent to the floor xxx

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    1. Ziggy has a very expressive face, bless him, mostly veering between huge-eyed 'YOU MAKE KITTY SCARED', epic bitchface, and an expression of pure bliss. The bitchface is a fib, really - he's either nervous or very happy. He just looks grumpy.

      Erk, good job you didn't do yourself a serious ankle injury - it'd be a sod getting down from Old Sarum if you'd done that.

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  9. Happy Anniversary to you both. I am loving that room it's HUGE!!! I'm trying to remember if I have been to Salisbury or not, I think I have years ago, clearly I need to go again.

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    1. Salisbury is aces, though full of annoying, slow-moving tourists. (I am a fast-moving tourist!) It's a really nice town, and while tourism is big business, it doesn't swamp the town like it does in places like Bath or Oxford. It's still a 'functional' town.

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  10. Happy anniversary to you both! What a fabulous place to get away to, your hotel looks absolutely lovely. I bet it would be great in the middle of winter with all that cosy panelling. I have never been to Salisbury so thank you for the virtual tour. It sounds/looks lovely. Thank goodness that the water meadows are still there. So many nice things get lost under crappy housing these days. I am cracked up at Ziggy's face. I get that look too. I love the thought of pub cats, every pub should have one. There used to be a very angry tomcat in the pub I drank in in Wageningen but he wasn't very friendly. I used to go there just to see him so I suppose that it works having one about. Xx

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    1. Ziggy's not as grouchy as he looks, he has natural bitchface. (You should see his side-eye, it's something a 1930s actress would envy.) Most of the time he's either blissfully happy or terrified, poor nervy little chap.

      There's a pub in Bristol where the landlord has about 10 cats, but apparently he's annoyed at it becoming known as the 'cat pub' as it keeps filling up with hipsters...

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