Not everything that I do (or think about!) has to do with the river. A recent visit to Snowdrop Valley with my friend Celia, for instance, gave me a fresh chance to see that particular wonder of nature:
Snowdrop Valley is on Exmoor, near Wheddon Cross, and the road is closed to everything except a shuttle bus during February. There's also a nice (if muddy!) walk down into the valley.
I don't often go to see films, but The Lady in the Van was brilliant. I have always liked Maggie Smith, and Alex Jennings as Alan Bennett is remarkable. The film is based on the true story of Miss Shepherd, who parks 'temporarily' in the writer's driveway and stays there for fifteen years. The film is advertised as a comedy, but actually it's a tragedy too; as Miss Shepherd's past life – how she came to be the lady in the van – is gradually revealed, the poignancy is palpable. All human life is somehow included in the narrow reality that has become hers.
Then there was The Quantock Hills. Every so often our men's group goes for a lengthy walk somewhere interesting, usually followed by a pub lunch.
And finally, the West Somerset Railway. This is the old branch line from Taunton down to Minehead, which has now been a 'heritage railway' for forty years. It was family outing, the weekend of my youngest grandson's third birthday.