Knowing we would already be down in Somerset for Lisa’s wedding, we decided to treat ourselves by turning what would have been a fairly manic weekend into a more chilled out week long holiday. It’s been a tough few months and we really needed a break. We knew we liked the bits of the county we’d already visited, so we were happy to make our base not too far from where Lisa was getting married, and make the time to explore the area a little more.
We wanted somewhere to stay that would fit our many and complex needs. Regular readers will know of previous holiday disasters and the fact that we are now absolute sticklers when it comes to things being right for us. We figure that if we only get a week or two a year’s holiday, and we want to properly relax, we want things the way we want them.
Even if that does make us sound like spoiled brats.
We’ve had too many ‘making do’ holidays where they ended up more stressful than staying at home, and we’ve toughed it out because well, holiday and all that. It’s a bit like that weird British phenomena of persisting with things like picnics in the teeth of a gale because it’s technically summer, even when you’ve gone blue in the lips and your child is actually frozen to a picnic rug.
We don’t do that any more. We made a pact. We no longer pretend to have fun in any situation because we ‘should’ be having fun. If we don’t like it, we come home, and put the kettle on.
We always rent a house when we’re on holiday because we’re much better at doing things in our own time, and to our own routine. We don’t want to get up for breakfast between nine and eleven. We don’t want to sit down for lunch between twelve and two. We don’t want to be awake at three in the morning, sitting wide eyed in the dark, waiting for everyone else to get up because there’s nowhere else to go.
In the house we want things like washing machines and tumble dryers, sharp knives, coffee pots and king sized beds, copious hot water supply, plenty of space to spread out so we don’t drive each other mental, and plenty of space to come together so we can all bicker furiously over the dinner table. We like warmth, and cleanliness, duvets and large towels, sprawling sofas, and other people’s interesting books to read.
We looked at all sorts of options, and in the end we plumped for this beauty via Airbnb. Loads of people had recommended Airbnb to us in the past, but this was the first time we have used it. I have to say that it couldn’t have been easier, and we will definitely be using it again.
The house is in a small market town called Axbridge. It’s an old, converted pub. The frontage looks Georgian, but there are parts of the house which are considerably older. The house was huge and sprawling, and yet it was not intimidatingly large or echoey and we never felt lost in it. There is room to accommodate twelve people, but we are loud, and busy, so the five of us easily made like a dozen.
The house is owned by Juliet and David, charming hosts who could not be more helpful. They live in a flat on the property so are available whenever needed, although we never felt overlooked or crowded. They were extremely helpful with the few things we needed, and their advice on places to visit was perfect for us and the way we like to holiday.
The house is decorated in a way that I love. It’s full of art, and vintage finds, and stuff, and yet it didn’t feel cluttered, and everything was usable and comfortable. The kitchen was better equipped than mine, and I’ve got a pottery/gadget obsession in full flow. There was a library full of books, proper books that have obviously been read and loved, and have not been bought by the yard just for effect. Each room has been put together with love, almost curated, although, as I said, not in a ‘don’t touch me’ sort of way. It felt a lot like home.
There’s a courtyard with a barbecue and cute, instagrammable lighting for eating outside, as well as a beautiful walled garden, higher up behind the house. We were encouraged to pick as many sweet peas and eat as many green beans as we liked while we were there, as both were in abundant supply.
For those of a practical bent, there is off street parking, and a washing machine and tumble dryer, as well as a utility room the size of a small town, replete with clothes airers (the pulley kind that you winch up to the ceiling. I can’t for the life of me remember what they’re called, despite having owned one or two in my time). There are two ovens and a microwave, a fabulous coffee maker as well as several cafetieres. Pots and pan wise there is everything from a milk pan to a frying pan you could actually serve up a toddler in it was so big. There are gallons of tea towels, towels and bed linen galore, all impeccably laundered. There is an iron/ironing board and so many cleaning products you could open a branch of Molly Maids. There are two bathrooms, one on the first and one on the second floor. A bathroom with a bath on the first floor and a wet room on the second floor. There is no loo downstairs, but that was the only even vaguely negative thing we could find to say.
Special features of the house were things like the full sized pool table, which doubles as a huge dining table and also a ping pong table, the library (which I keep mentioning because you know me and books), the banging stereo system, complete with actual vinyl and turntable, and last but not least the Thirties style, Art Deco cinema.
Yep. You actually get the use of a 32 seater cinema, complete with ticket office and cocktail bar (including pineapple ice bucket – get in), and all the films you can shake a stick at. It’s called The Roxy. You can read about it here.
You can imagine why we didn’t really want to come home.