We were only meant to stay in Weston-super-Mare for a couple of nights but the constant accommodation hopping had wiped me out and the one, single, actual day of rest we got wasn’t going to cut it. We arrived on Monday, checked in at 2pm and I just slept. Tuesday, my phone decided to fuck out and stop charging so we walked to a phone repair shop close by to get a part ordered and just that knackered me out. We decided to stay until Friday.
By Wednesday though, I was feeling a lot better although the centre of my head was still a mucus factory and my brain still felt like it was made of cotton wool. Some might say that’s standard. We decided to have a little stroll around the sprawling metropolis of Weston-super-Mare, see how it went. It’s a very laid back kind of place with a God’s Waiting Room vibe to it. I couldn’t understand why it wasn’t busier, I felt like the beach should be packed out in this scorching weather.
Turns out you can’t approach the sea at low tide on account of the fact the sand will suck you in and try to kill you. Yeah so that’s a bit of a seaside mood killer. It’s also not really sand the closer to the water you get, it’s sort of this soft, silty mud stuff which feels a bit creepy when it squishes between your toes. They actually have a lagoon which provides a safe place to swim at low tide without ending up tits deep in silt on your way back to your towel so I went for a paddle and yeah nah. That shit is not pleasant.
We stopped for a cold Coke at a bar, strolled some more, almost took liquid form in this ridiculous heat, and generally wondered what to do with our day. Usually we’d just go for a pint but I don’t want to risk hindering my recovery with booze just yet, and it appears if you take alcohol out of the equation we don’t have a plan B.
Fuck it, we went adventure golfing. I started strong, got too smug and completely fluffed it on two holes. Tarrant finished in spectacular fashion with a hole in one on the 18th as I looked on in horror. Obviously she won, but she totted up the totals so in the spirit of terrible sportsmanship I’m clearly telling everyone she cheated. But anyway. I got my phone repaired and everything was good again.
The bloke who runs the guesthouse we’re staying at is a lovely Egyptian fellow called Sam. We know he’s Egyptian because when we sorted out staying a couple more nights he told us it was worth catching a bus into Bristol to check out the museum as their Egyptian section is better than some exhibits in Egypt (I suspect this is on account of the fact the British nicked all the good shit decades ago), and he’d know because he’s Egyptian. He got quite excited about it so we thought why the fuck not hey? It’s a day out.
On Thursday we hopped on a bus bound for the city to look at a shit tonne of dead shit. I’m partial to a bit of dead shit, not in a “lock up your mortuaries” kind of way you understand. I don’t stalk graveyards with a shovel in one hand and a tube of lube in the other. I’m just fascinated with what the bones of our ancestors can tell us, and the funeral rites of other cultures, both ancient and contemporary. Obviously there are itcthyosaur bones too and that’s just badass.
Something the museum does though is encourages you to think differently about the items on display. It’s no secret that many items on display in British museums were stolen from countries decades ago. Specifically they have a bronze mask looted from Benin, a kingdom in Nigeria, taken when the British invaded, looted and burned the city. The return of the mask has been requested by Nigeria, and the display explores differences of opinions on this. I’ve read that Bristol are open to returning the item but haven’t done so yet.
There are also thoughts on displaying human remains. I’ve made my feelings on dead shit clear, but I do mean really old dead shit. They have the bones of a man who died over 3500 years ago on display but ask you to think about where you draw the line. How would you feel if it were your grandad? Or someone who died as recently as World War 2? Do the age of the remains matter? They give you the choice as to whether or not you want to see a set human remains on display in the Egyptian section, but before you do it reminds you that the bones used to be living human being, just like us.
It’s actually a really cool museum and really well laid out. It covers local and worldwide wildlife with taxidermied examples of various birds and animals, there’s a geology section which takes you through the ages from year dot, and a small but interesting room with three huge reliefs taken from a palace in former Assyria. The Egyptian section, the whole reason we came here, was also excellent and covered beliefs, life, death and the afterlife in ancient Egypt. It was worth the trip I think.
We were all psyched up to get up at some obnoxious hour on Friday morning, catch the train to Bridgwater and be back on the trail by 9am but when we got back from Bristol and Tarrant buggered off to put Maverick into her eyeholes, I plugged my phone in and nope. It wasn’t charging again. The Phone Guys were due to close in ten minutes so we resigned ourselves to being sat outside the shop at 9am so they could have a look at it.
Turns out it’s fucked, mate. That’s the official verdict. Not only was I going to have to splash out on a new device it meant the hanging around in WiFi for half my fucking life whilst Smart Switch did its thing. Thank the gods for Smart Switch though. Do you remember the old days when you just had to spend hours downloading and organising everything manually? Time ticked on and eventually we veered down the “fuck it, let’s start hiking again tomorrow route”, but we really needed to get to Bridgwater today on account of the train strike so we booked a place above a pub just a short bus ride out of town.
Tomorrow though, we really need to get our shit together and get back on this fucking trail. We’re definitely rethinking it though rather than following the End to End route religiously, I wouldn’t usually choose a road or a cycle path but fuck it. Can’t plant a fucking wheat field over a cycle path can you?! I’m not going to lie, Somerset has shat on us since we got here and I can’t wait to leave the place. Four more days, all being well. I’m not looking forward to a single footstep.
Weston-super-Mare and Dunall, Somerset, England
Useful shit to know…
- The 126 runs hourly between Weston-super-Mare and Wells via Cheddar.
- The X1 will take you to Bristol.
- The Interchange by the big Tesco is the best place to catch the above buses in Weston-super-Mare. Do check timetables though, I wouldn’t be horrified if the 126 didn’t run on Sundays for example.
- If you’re unfortunate enough to need your phone fixing in Weston-super-Mare then I can highly recommend The Phone Guys. They go above and beyond to help you.
- The Bristol Museum and Art Gallery is free to get in but they’d really, really like it if you’d donate a fiver.