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Old 07-07-2018, 01:40 AM   #1
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Back to Bath and my donkeys… COMPLETED 7/25

Back to Bath and my donkeys…

Pre-trip report – part one: a Christmas present that leads to a weekend away….

Dates: Friday 15 – Sunday 17 June
Adventurers: Me, Cheryl (45) and DH Mark (52)
Destinations: Bath and Sidmouth for the Donkey Sanctuary
Resorts: Tracy Park Country Hotel and
Meets: DSIL Sara and Anne and DBIL Sean
Celebration: using up the Bath Spa voucher we had from Jan spending time with family and enjoying some donkey time

This trip started in back in December 2017, when we gave Mark’s sister Anne a birthday present of vouchers for the Thermae Bath Spa. We’d done this the year before and she and one of Mark’s other sisters, Sara, had loved their visit to the Bath Spa. Sara’s birthday is February and I think it’s fair to say she wasn’t surprised when she got a voucher as well….

The last time we did this, we went with them to the spa, as we just love visiting. In fact, I’ve lost count of the amount of times we’ve been, that’s how much we love it.

Now we were going to pay for our spa session, but we were due to visit at Easter and, as anyone who read that trip report will know, it didn’t happen. Why? Something to do with an operation on the tendons in my right ankle about three and a half weeks beforehand. I got out of plaster 10 days before we were due to go to the spa, but I was still in a support boot and on one crutch. Although my consultant told me I’d be fine to go, I didn’t feel confident enough. The last thing I wanted to do was slip as I made my way around on a wet floor.

A couple of days beforehand, I rang them to explain the situation and they told me that the voucher we were going to use, which we’d kindly been given by Jan, Bill’s widow (again many of you will remember Bill aka LizardCop from the boards – he was tragically murdered a couple of years ago) could be used at a weekend. Phew – it wouldn’t go to waste.

Jan came to stay with us on the second anniversary of his death in September 2017, as she couldn’t bear to be at home for the day, understandably enough, and to thank us, she bought us spa vouchers, as she’d had such a great time there – now that was saying something, given she’d never been to a spa in her life before.

The original plan was that we’d take Anne and Sean down for the day, but Anne said the last time we visited that her husband Sean would love it at the spa, so we knew there was a chance that they’d be making their own way down and so it turned out to be. It turned out that there was a party that night for Sean’s parents’ golden wedding anniversary, so they had to be home for that.

That left us free to come and go as we pleased in our own car. As a result, I knew I could plan a side visit in to see my beloved donkeys. For those who don’t know, Mark bought me the most amazing present a few years ago now – he adopted two donkeys for me at the Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth. Sadly, both (Teddy and Gareth) have now departed to the donkey heaven, but I have others – Bonnie and Ruby, who are beautiful and I have a soft spot for all the miniature donkeys, especially Gareth’s best friend (donkeys pair bond for life) Benji and love going to visit all of them.

It helps that we’ve also fallen in love with Sidmouth as a place. We just find it so calming and beautiful there, so we’ll be heading to Sidmouth after the spa, spending the night there and spending time both in the town and in the donkey sanctuary and then making another visit to the donkeys the next morning before heading home.

Next: no Internet!
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Old 07-07-2018, 08:31 AM   #2
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Sounds like another wonderful trip! I love seeing pictures of those adorable donkeys!


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Old 07-07-2018, 08:34 AM   #3
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So glad you were able to make use of that gift certificate! And to get another visit with the donkeys too, of course! Always up for more views of the coast too, sounds wonderful.
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Old 07-07-2018, 09:26 AM   #4
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Sounds like another wonderful trip! I love seeing pictures of those adorable donkeys!
You're going to love this trip report then!
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Old 07-07-2018, 10:04 AM   #5
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So glad you were able to make use of that gift certificate!
Oh trust me, there was no way that gift certificate was ever going to go to waste! It was too good a present and we just love going there.

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And to get another visit with the donkeys too, of course! Always up for more views of the coast too, sounds wonderful.
Plenty of those to come - it's such a beautiful part of the country.
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Old 07-07-2018, 10:47 AM   #6
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Sounds like another wonderful weekend adventure. Can't wait to hear about all the donkeys and their antics.
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Old 07-07-2018, 11:54 AM   #7
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Sounds like the beginning of another great trip and even better as you get to spent it with your beloved donkeys!
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Old 07-07-2018, 12:00 PM   #8
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Sounds like the beginning of another great trip and even better as you get to spent it with your beloved donkeys!
You're so right - any time with the donkeys is good time!
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Old 07-07-2018, 01:52 PM   #9
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Spa & donkeys. What's not to love? Looking forward to more ...
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Old 07-07-2018, 08:49 PM   #10
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Sounds like a perfect Pendry trip complete with donkeys and a spa.
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Old 07-08-2018, 02:36 AM   #11
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Sounds like a perfect Pendry trip complete with donkeys and a spa.
Pretty much!
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Old 07-08-2018, 02:38 AM   #12
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Friday 15 June – part one: no Internet!

The original plan was to travel down to Bath first thing tomorrow morning, but I managed to find a deal for a place that looked amazing – a country club and hotel. At first, at the weekend, it was £110 ($145), but by Tuesday night, it had gone down to £85 ($110), so I went for it. Surely we couldn’t go wrong for that price?

I figured we’d leave later in the rush hour to avoid the traffic, but it didn’t pan out like that. I was working from home and Mark said he’d try and get home a bit earlier. Ok, that works. I thought maybe we’d leave about 4:30pm. After all, I was supposed to be working a full day.

When I got downstairs this morning, I discovered we had no Internet. I checked online with my phone and discovered it was a massive problem by the looks of it – one of those where the providers has an update on their website, saying they know about it and basically it’s affecting everything and they’re working on it. Even worse, the fix time was 4:00pm! Ok…

I decided that I’d still work, despite being very limited on what I could do. I worked on offline documents and did what I could with a BlackBerry and, for anyone who has a BlackBerry, you know that’s not much. For goodness sake, the darned thing doesn’t even do predictive text. Do you have any idea how long it takes to write emails without that? I’ll give you a clue…. A long time!

Anyway, I stopped work about lunchtime, as it was all just getting so frustrating and then spent the afternoon photographing the garden and watching Doctor Who. I was going to do something more useful and weedkill, but I didn’t have what I needed.

Mark called me about 1:15pm and said he should be home by 2:45pm, so we could get on the road earlier. Ok, that works. He actually arrived back about 2:20pm, so he made very good time.

We were off and on the road about half an hour later. At first, we had a good run and even along some of the M25, which is notorious for traffic jams. However, I knew it wasn’t going to last, as I was keeping an eye on Google Maps. Sure enough, the western side was clogged up, as it seems to be all the time, and we just crawled along. I think Google told me that it added 20 minutes to our journey. Not what we needed!

Finally we got to our junction and we were off and running again. There was a lot less traffic on this motorway, so we stayed on it for some time. Google kept changing its mind about where we needed to come off, which was fine with me, as the longer we stayed on, the better, considering it was moving.

I knew that there were problems on the M4, which is the motorway that takes you to Bath, although thankfully one of the accidents had cleared by the time we got there.

However, then there was the Rolling Stones issue. By this, I mean the fact that they were playing in Cardiff. Now you might be thinking “but Cardiff is in Wales”. Yes, it is… but the M4 takes you into south Wales and eventually on to Cardiff. We’d been hearing since about 4:00pm that the whole of Cardiff was gridlocked, literally every street, and that was spreading further and further back along the M4. At first, we kept hearing that it was just beyond the Bath turning – excellent, but the closer we got, the more the traffic seemed to be spreading back until Google Maps told us to get off at the exit before.

It took us through the country, thankfully not through any narrow lanes, which I hate, so I was relieved about that… well that was until we got to a major turning. Google then said the tailback on the main road was about eight minutes so we headed down a very narrow lane, which wasn’t a lot of fun, but it did the trick. When we got to the roundabout, we could see the massive line of traffic, which we’d managed to miss out. Result!

We got to our destination and this is what greeted us at the entrance. Oh wow!



Next: you’ve been upgraded!
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Old 07-08-2018, 06:43 AM   #13
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Sounds like you lucked out in missing some nasty traffic. The entrance to your hotel looks amazing!
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Old 07-08-2018, 06:56 AM   #14
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Sounds like you lucked out in missing some nasty traffic.
We were very fortunate in that.

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The entrance to your hotel looks amazing!
My jaw dropped open when I saw that.
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Old 07-08-2018, 07:22 AM   #15
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Good thing Mark got off early and that you have a good map program to help avoid the traffic. I can’t wait to see your hotel as the entrance is very grand.
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