In my bath in our hotel in Bath I found a TV. I don’t mean Sarah’s post wedding blues became so unbearable that she decided to end it all on her honeymoon a la Claude Francois,
rather it was built into the wall so that guests can soak themselves and watch smug couples from South East London deciding not to buy ramshackle Welsh farmhouses on Escape to the Country.
Eventually, we decided it was time to investigate Somerset’s fairest City. As the hotel was à proximité du centre-ville we reasoned that it would be better to tramp in on foot.
We were advised to make our way down town via a tow path along the Kent and Avon canal. The route was busy with locals and canal boat residents, all of whom seemed to fall into the same demographic. Lean thirty-somethings with beards and a strange enthusiasm for papier-mâché skulls, old bikes and various exotic “plants”.
The message here was clearly one of “We’ve made a brave life changing decision to drop out and this canal boat my friend, is as alternative as it gets.” Which translated actually means, “Tobias got downsized from the city so we cashed in on our shoebox in Brixton and now we spend our time growing runner beans and waiting for his Great Aunt Felicity to kick the bucket.”
Terribly nice families cycled past, with galloping chocolate labs with their tongues lolling in the Indian summer heat following close behind.
A pleasingly fresh faced Mummy called after her charges as they raced on ahead, “Harriet, please be careful near the canal, and tell Harry to mind out for Tarquin.”
Differentiating between who might be her son and who might be the family pet proving too difficult, I decided to concentrate on the Heron who had decided to alight upon some old duffer’s barge. Just after I took this picture, the bird took flight. Momentarily settling on its haunches, it sprang open it’s improbable span and glided over the stratospherically priced houses abutting the canal.
Eventually, we made it into town. Holding hands and strolling through the achingly beautiful streets was a perfect way to spend an afternoon. Turning each corner, we were presented with yet another gorgeous Georgian facade. Being a nosey northern oik and wanting to see how much these ancient piles went for on the open market I went in search of an Estate Agent. This was more difficult than first thought as every window containing pictures of houses belonged to letting agents. No one can afford to buy a house anymore. The smallest terrace was in the hundreds of thousands of pounds. Generation rent is here to stay and if prices go up much more and the jobs become any more scarce generation rent will become generation tent. Or, if you are posh and connected, generation barge.
It was time to eat. The place we ended up choosing would tell us more about Bath than any innocent stroll ever could.