We should have spent more time in Somerset and at Bath. But. I fell into the canal. So. We didn’t.
Our family left very early in the morning, on a train from London, south west to Bath. And the train ride through the English countryside was breathtaking. We probably passed two hundred sheep. And a fox, sneaking up on one of the unexpecting. That gave us a thrill (and a chill).
You may wonder (or you may not wonder), why does Bath, England sound so familiar? Let me tell you: Jane Austen. You think you know, Jane Austen? Give this quiz a try.
Jane Austen lived in Bath for a short time, and wrote about it’s attractions in her novels. The city used to be a large resort-type location, hosting the Roman Baths, “popular with fashionable society”.
Today, you can still visit the Roman Baths, if you wish. But the city has slowed some, and we wanted to see what architecture it boasts and what views were to be had, from the seat of a bicycle.
So that’s what we did! Beginning with Bath Abbey, up High Street, and across the Avon River. Some prefer to traverse the river on a luxury canal boat. We opted to hire bikes.
Bryant chose the Avon Cycle Route, as it promised to be Britain’s most beautiful “long-distance waterside cycle route”. And it was gorgeous.
At points along the way, as we neared low bridges, the gravel path became quite narrow and quite steep. Bryant led with the boys in the trailer, and E was just in front of me. I called to her, asking her to alight, and walk her bike down the steeper bits. I told her, she was “too young to do THIS” – and I showed her how an adult could safely straddle the bicycle and remain in control.
I lost control.
I missed the hairpin turn.
Down the very short decline, and…
Picture me flying. Really really flying – arms out Superman style – depositing my bike in the brambles that lined the canal, and my person, head first, into the canal itself.
E called casually down the path Bryant had successfully passed before us, “Ummm. Dad. Mum fell in.”
Bryant’s frantic face, when he ran around the corner at top speed, is a site I will cherish forever. I could cry right now, remembering that face, and for the love I have for that man.
It took Bryant, and a handful of fellow tourists (yes…my flight was witnessed), to pull my bike out of the brambles. And it took me a wet walk down the canal to find a place where I could climb out.
I was hoping this was a common occurrence. No one wants to believe they are the only ones who could do something so thick. But the faces of the employees when I walked into a nearby GAP reaffirmed my fear – I alone have swam the Bath canal. I must have looked like a swamp creature, dripping and sloshing my way toward the women’s department. I had to replace everything. Everything.
We didn’t use this as an excuse to miss The Circus, the museum, or the Royal Crescent:
And then, ice cream for all! With a 99 Flake, to make it truly a British experience.
Said a native, “I doubt there’s a single British child that hasn’t lapped at the sweet spumy lather of a 99 Flake. It’s welded to our youth like chicken pox.”
After returning our bikes, mine a bit roughed up, we found it necessary to run to the station in order to catch the train back to London.
I am grateful to the Lord for sparing me worse that day in Bath.