July 12, 2014 – Bath – Stow-on-the-Wold.
From my journal:
Wonderful day in Bath.
Laura, not feeling well, sent me off to tour the Roman baths by myself. I was going to come out in time to start the free walking tour of the town at 10:30, and she was going to meet me there if she felt well enough.
I got a cappuccino, and…enjoyed the the drink and the sunny, quiet, almost empty square in front of the Abbey.
Video: The Square about 10:30 when it was pretty quiet, then an hour later as people came to see the Roman baths, and queue up for tours of the city.
Then I went back to urge Laura to join me on the tour. She did.
We took a great walk around the Georgian town, form 10:30 to 12:50. here’s the lowdown.
This town was built up in the 18th century by brilliant, ambitious, visionary people. And interesting, too. And no one seems to have written the definitive history of this era in Bath. Really?
I asked the tour guide, and she said she had pieced her history together from disparate sources, none of them apparently worth a recommendation. (I asked her if she had a favorite book on the era and people.) Same with the town’s bookseller, who has a whole section on Bath, and presumably would know.
Chief cast of characters:
- John Wood the elder – visionary designer and architect.
- Ralph Allen – self-made business tycoon, who worked with Wood to realize his vision.
- “Beau” Nash – the Master of Ceremonies, the man who made everything happen socially in Bath. Held the post for over 50 years.
- Lady Anne Hastings — had the idea for the hospital. Got Wood and Allen to build it.
After the tour I had my first pasty – for lunch. Awesome.
We walked across one bridge, along the other side of the river and across the Pultney Bridge, past the Gardens.
Got our stuff and drove to Stow-on-the-Wold. In Stow we checked in at 5:00, got settled, ordered some dinner from the hostel for 6:15, and went for a short walk around town.
Saw a poster for a concert at the Methodist church at 7:30 – by the Chipping Norton Amateur Operatic Singers – singing show tunes! So after dinner we went – and it was a blast! (Yes, there’s video.)
Video: The Chipping Norton Amateur Operatic Singers offer up “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” from Carousel, and “Do You Hear the People Sing,” from Les Miserables.