Thursday, 27 June 2013

Glastonbury Tor, Cheddar Gorge, the Bristol Hot Air Balloon Fiesta and France!

The next day (Thursday 9th August 2012), we drove to a car park near the base of Glastonbury Tor, and went for a walk up it. We definitely saw some hippy-new age-type people (like the lady meditating by the side of the road), and I had to try and keep the kids from commenting too loudly about them!
The Tor used to be an island, and is thought to have had settlements there since pre-historic times. The 2nd church on the site, built in the 1360's, survived until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539, when the last Abbot of Glastonbury Abbey was also hanged, drawn and quartered there. The remains of St, Michael's Tower have since been restored.
The kids pretending to sit on a bench (it had no seat slats!) You can see our car down below, in the photo!
After Glastonbury, we drove to Cheddar Gorge. We wandered down through the touristy bit, but had most fun when we walked further up the Gorge, and scrambled up one side of it.
We didn't realise quite how far up we'd gone till we looked down, and saw how small Scott was (in the bottom of the picture.)
From there we drove to Bristol, and saw some of the places Scott went on his mission. We went to a Sainsburys for a meal, and to stock up on foody bits, then headed to Grenville Park, for the Bristol Hot Air Balloon Fiesta. Scott had pre-booked some parking right near the stately home there. The grounds were set up with a huge fun fair, and a big sectioned off area where the hot air balloons would take off from. We got there pretty early, and had a few hours to kill before the balloons took off. It was a really sunny, hot afternoon, and we found ourselves a spot on the hill overlooking the take-off area, and set up camp. 
A big Churchill dog balloon was inflated first - it looks like Scott's levitating a mini dog balloon in this picture!
The kids and I wandered round the park a bit (and past the rows of porta-loos!) The building and gardens were lovely, though the funfair felt pretty tacky and chavvy. Harry got a bit fed up waiting for so long. I let him play with my camera, and he took some pictures of his cars...
Some of the novelty balloons starting to inflate.
Harry enjoying things getting interesting.
It was pretty exciting seeing the first balloons taking off. 
I loved watching this one take off right in front of us and rise right above our heads. They are just so huge and elegant.
Harry and I went for a wander round some of the stalls later on, and found one which was giving away free helium filled balloons.
Our little camp, waiting for the 'Night Glow' show later on in the evening. There was a lot of waiting around, and we got a bit fed up really, but oh my goodness - it totally turned out to be worth it!
Once it started to get dark, the balloons looked amazing when their flames were burning...
At last it was time for the Night Glow! Music was played through huge speakers, and it was like one big disco. (The people in a cigarette kiosk were really getting into it!) We all stood and watched while two long rows of balloons lit up in patterns, in time to the music. It went on for quite a while, and was just fantastic!! The balloons were just so massive and spectacular - the pictures don't do them justice!
 Finally there was a great firework display.
As soon as it was over at about 10.30pm, we made our way back to the car, but ended up being stuck in the car park for over an hour, with hundreds of other cars, because (we found out later) a car had caught fire in the queue to get out the one exit! At one point our car broke down, and Scott couldn't get it going by wiggling the wire to the starter motor. I got out and had a go, and managed to get it working again, which some people in the queue were quite amused by! 
Finally we got going, and drove about 40 minutes to another Travelodge on the M4. We got to bed way after midnight, which the kids thought was pretty exciting, but which I was worried about, because we had an early start the next morning, to get to the Euro Tunnel in time, followed by a huge driving day through France. I needn't have worried though - everything went really smoothly the next day, and the kids weren't grumpy or anything, at all.

On Friday 10th August, we drove to Bel-Air, our shared house in Brittany. The kids all ready to go!
We had set off by 7.15am, but got delayed at the Euro tunnel - we had to unload from one train onto another.
The total tip in our car, having lived out of it for the third day in a row...
When Scott first told me his plans for this holiday, with the two days in England before even driving through France, I was not all that delighted. But after having the European Road Trip under our belts, by the time this holiday came round I felt pretty chilled about it all, and tolerated the semi-organised chaos pretty well!
Harry took up the gangway on the Euro Tunnel with his improvised car park.
It was a very hot day, and our ventilation and air conditioning wasn't working! We drove most of the way with the windows down.
We arrived at Bel-Air in the evening, after stopping at Josselin Super-U, and it was quite exciting later that night, as a big Combine came and harvested the field right next to us.

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