A bit of sauntering

We did a bit of sauntering today. We were restless and wanted to do something in the suddenly bright and blue-skied afternoon which followed the torrential rain and black skies of this morning. Having wandered round our village so often, and on a daily-basis for the months after months we were locked down, we’re a little bored with its charms. It was a little late to go further afield, we went to Burnham -on-Sea our near neighbour last week, and our favourite Bridgwater the week before. We promised ourselves we would go to Glastonbury next week and Wells maybe, but this afternoon, this sunny afternoon, where should we go?

There was an easy answer, we would go into town and wander round Weston-super-Mare. Weston gets an undeserved bad press. In many ways it is a typical seaside town with the sort of difficulties other seaside towns, all round the  coast get – and I believe always have, you only have to read ‘Brighton Rock’ by Graham Greene, or watch the black and white film with a young Richard Attenborough as the anti-hero, Pinkie to know what I mean! However that’s unfair on Weston because there is much more to it than that, a library, there’s light industry, distribution depots, commended education establishments, bowling clubs, loads of restaurants offering all sorts of cuisine, two cinemas and a theatre and the renowned Winter Gardens, retail parks (but sadly rather a dearth of shops in the town centre – the fate of many towns these days) two golf courses, a sports centre, oh and much more.  There are many activities to enjoy, every sport you can think of, musical groups of all sorts, loads of book and reading groups, and of course, writing groups!!

So back to this afternoon. Where did we go inn all the lovely sunshine?  We went into town. We parked above the Sovereign Centre, then wandered through it and out into what to be honest is an example – in my opinion, of town planning at it’s most dull, what was the Winter Gardens. It used to be a nice area of lawns, flower beds, paths, behind the actual Winter Gardens Pavilion which is nearly a hundred years old and described as ‘a neo-Georgian pavilion’.  It’s now a paved area of zero interest, but we sauntered across, and followed the High Street past the Playhouse Theatre, and several little cafés, bars and pubs to Grove Park.

Grove Park used to be the gardens of a late C17 house, and now is an attractive place to wander, paths, lawns, flower beds to admire, a slightly raised area with trees and little paths, a fish pond with mighty fish, and war memorials to the fallen of the two world wars and other military encounters. Weston was bombed during World War II so there are civilians commemorated too. it’s a pleasant and attractive place. One of its features is a memorial garden to the journalist and broadcaster Jill Dando who was born in Weston but was tragically murdered in London in a mysterious shooting.

We left Grove Park and walked down to the sea front and ambled along the promenade with lots of other people of all ages. As we passed the front of the Winter Gardens we noticed dark clouds across the sea. We crossed over and called inn at PJ’s ice cream parlour and treated ourselves to the best ice-cream in Weston, before heading back to the Sovereign Centre and to find our car.

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