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Mary’s train from Paddington two days ago drew in to Castle Cary station four minutes early in the morning, and likewise was punctual on the way back in the evening. That is, unlike yesterday and today when the rail system in the south of the UK is in chaos, thanks to Storm Eunice.

To the George Inn, in Croscombe for a coffee, and the first session of putting the world to rights. And congratulating ourselves, yet again, for having, some time back, chosen the only day this week when passing time outdoors was not forecast to be spoilt by rain.

As we got into the car to move on to Wells, the first spots of rain started. Over the eight minutes it took to get to that city (the smallest in England), the downpour got heavier and heavier, such that, at the point we would normally have left the car to walk to our lunch cafe, it would have been a very unpleasant experience indeed. We sat in the car, not yet having paid for our parking, contemplating what to do. Mary consulted her preferred forecaster, Accuweather, which said it would be pouring for the rest of the day. Mine, BBC Weather, almost denied that it was raining, and said that precipitation would be almost non-existant for the rest of the day. We used our eyes, and decided to give up and to go to my home, 20 minutes away, where I would rustle up something for us to eat.

I backed the car out some 10 feet, and suddenly the rain got lighter, light enough to walk under umbrellas to the café. So, OK, we would lunch in Wells, then decide what to do. We paid for the parking – I accidentally did so for much longer than just having a meal would have needed (incomprehensible instructions on the meter). By the time we were sitting down for our excellent meal at The Good Earth, it had stopped raining and there was blue sky. So both weather forecasters were wrong.

The day’s plans had actually been to focus on seeing seeing the snowdrops at the Bishop’s Palace. We took some quiet old residential streets to get there,

and first went via the Penniless Porch . To quote Wikipedia, ‘It was named for the beggars who plied their trade there,[3][7] however in 2016 a man was prosecuted for begging nearby.[8]

We took a look at the Cathedral,

and at Vicars’ Close (where still all twelve men of the Vicars Choral live).

I came home with well over a hundred pictures taken during the day, so here is a small selection of those I took in the Bishop’s Palace Gardens. (We had actually visited the Palace itself on a previous occasion, perhaps three or four years ago, not written up because the weather was so appalling that photography was worthless, especially in the gardens.)

The Palace’s swans are famous for ringing the bell to get food.
What remains of the Great Hall
Enhanced by a bed of beautiful hellebores
Ramparts and a moat surround the entire palace and its gardens.
Cathedral, Palace, and Mary

The next picture may be of historic interest! It may be the last ever taken of St Thomas’s church spire before its top was blown down by Storm Eunice yesterday morning! It’s there, a little distorted by torsion, at the very left of the picture on the horizon.

The incident has been widely covered in the media, but here is a link to it for the record. Excuse the language if your sound is on… The St Thomas’s link above includes the spire wobbling beforehand as well, and here’s the vicar on the subject.

Daffodils, cyclamen and snowdrops
Crocuses and snowdrops
(courtesy of Mary)

There was a stiff breeze blowing…

I loved the shape of this tree in the children’s play area

Just because everyone takes this view, there’s no reason I shouldn’t.

The Palace’s swans are very tame…

From a distance I had wondered whether the near-adult swan by the sculpture was a sculpture itself. But no, as this video shows. The voice heard is that of the bystander seen at the end. I had advised her to back off…

Mary and I sat for a while on a swing seat in a formal garden of parterres,

with this in front of us. (I just love stipa tenuissima.)

Emerging back through the Great Hall’s wall, we enjoyed this view.

We contemplated going to visit the Cathedral, but opted instead for a cup of tea in the café, The Bishops’ Table,

with this for a view,

and me clearly pontificating on something.

Mary spotted this as we made our way back to the car. Burns the Bread is an excellent small local bakery chain.

We had already obeyed their instruction, at The Bishop’s Table.

We didn’t go straight back to the car park as I had left my umbrella at The Good Earth at lunchtime. It was fortunate that the rain had held off.

Having decided not to ‘do’ the Cathedral, we instead visited St Cuthbert’s church on the way. Live music was being practised on the organ.

Sadly, this photo does not do justice to the bright colours of the roof.
A charming chamber organ,
the important side of which I could not get far enough away from to see fully.
Looking back down the church

Just as we got back to the car – it was fortunate that we had inadvertently paid sufficient parking to cover more than just lunchtime – it started to rain.

Never mind, we were on our way to the warmth of my house, another cup of tea, to obey Burns the Bread’s instructions once more, and to spend even more time putting the world to rights. Isn’t it amazing how the human ape can talk, and talk, and talk, and not run out of things to say to each other?