Betwixt Goes West. West Country (UK)
Welcome back to Betwixt The Interim, your surefire guide to global travel experience hilarity, hibernating since last September. But Lorks, Glory abounds, as King Charles Spaniel gets to consume Coronation Chicken, and I disappear off to Ooh Arr ooh arr (just a little bit), West Country Lands to visit goddaughter, her parents and various super buddies unseen since Covid, Cancer and Art Attack dominated this traveller’s immediate occupation.
Bunting. I bunt, you bunt? There’s a word….the size of said Union Jack Themed decor here at Paddington Station deserves the Penance (Pennants, geddit?) it deserves….namely Coronation minor. It’s all down to Rishi Budget I guess.
People from “Across The World” (Daily Mail) have travelled to the UK to watch Brian May play guitar again atop some Palace or other, whereas Queen Camilla (“CONSORT”-the late QE2) now sees her devious plans bear fruit. She MUST be nice though, she liked Paul O’Grady (RIP).
Great Western Railways are now called GWR, and are darn sleek, plus connected to Mrs Internet. Hence this delightful musing en route to Bristol Temple Meads. What joy?
Alongside my train is an equally sleek Heathrow Express, adorned with sketches of places I’d really rather be at the moment (San Francisco, Barcelona, Melbourne etc etc)….but Bristol’s a start. Last time I was in that city, an old friend was telling me how often people jumped off the city’s Clifton Suspension Bridge to Certain Death. I can’t wait to arrive there, then leave. Rapidly as it happens for the next day, I will depart from my Accor Ibis Hotel (complementary breakfast) and head for Exmouth in a county named Devon. More of that later.
Good to see some hotel bureaucracies are still alive and ill even in Bristol. “Can we take a £20 deposit for the room sir?” “But I paid in full a month ago..””ah yes, but this is for THE ROOM….”.
Bristol (pronounced Brizzle, my friend Darren informs me) is Mostly Harmless. Building work galore and dereliction of more than duty sadly. But at least there’s a new Greggs opening soon. Vegan Sausage Rolls for All. Lovely to see my goddaughter plus boyf (a most chortling couple) and happy memories as I scarper to Exmouth via Tiverton Parrrrrrrkway… I’m unreliably informed that the first train I’m catching is The Plymouth Train. It’s mouth mouth mouth everywhere down ‘eeer. You’d think it was too quaint for anything but paper tickets doilies and moons, but nope: my ticket is contained in my phone on a friendly sounding App called TrainPal, or rather Let’s flog you something every time you open the wretched thing. Ah well. Tonight, I am taking my friends to see the astonishing Betty Legs Diamond and Troupe. I first saw her in 1985 performing at a cabaret venue at 11.30pm having already performed in 42nd Street that night in London’s Glittering West End. Her late night act included her tap dancing at the rate of knots whilst lighting then smoking a Players Number 6, and miming to some 1930s Hollywood Soundtrack. Tremendous.
And now all this, close to the Corrrrrnush Coast! I expect my Timbers to be well and truly Shiverred by bedtime, me hearties.
And thence to Devon and Zummazet…lovely “fresh” (ie bracing) air and surprisingly efficient Khazis on Great Western Railway, plus some fabulous company and chuckling in village pubs. Great stuff all in all. Woke up this morning to a notification (as it’s Coronation Day) from my MyMcDonald’s App saying “treat yourself to a King Size Chicken Sizzler, Fit for a King”. YESSSSS I GET IT. A hilarious genuine announcer at Taunton station said in a glorious Charles accent: “one wishes you all a wonderful Coronation Weekend, and don’t forget to Mind The Gap.”
Off to my final village on my whirlwind tour, this time for Coronation and Birthday celebrations in Dorset, in a village called Shroton with friends and a Ska band tonight. Super.
Well TBH (to be honest, I’m fed up of acronyms), it wasn’t STRICTLY SPEAKING a ska band, but the Peroni was £2 so MY 2-Tone is as good as your Buster Bloodvessel…..
It’s always rather lovely to sit down on a comfy seat on a train…unless you’re continually barged into by a Man With Bicycle…still, finally getting to Dorset during Camillaration, Charlesiffocation and Harryneglection was rather nice, if a shade Whelming. Union Jack Whelming. Still, I’m mostly sure I won’t be alive for the Next One, sponsored by Sir Elon Musk III and Broadcast by Trumpflix.
Dorset done including a boogie to Said Nearly Ska band, followed by following day Pic Nic On The Park, whence the train journey was uneventful, apart from just the one Replacement Hip Service (between places called Andover and Woking). Clapham Greeted me (well, my mates in the pub did) and the only Betwixtational Analysis I can draw from all this mayhem is, Thank Gawd I missed the strikes and I’m soooo looking forward to the Heathrow Champagne Lounge pre-my next appearance in a City Near YOU!
Hopefully, Los Angeles.