For King and Country

It was time again for my bestie, Jane, and I to do our usual May pilgrimage to the beach chalet in lovely Dunster.

As we have both had a lot going in our lives that has prevented us getting together as much as we would like; we had a lot of chatting, coffee drinking, cake eating and laughing until we cried to catch up on.

But we also felt we needed to do something we hadn’t already done on our previous visits. Our first outing was to find the infamous Hobby Horse on Minehead seafront.

The May day celebration wouldn’t be complete in Minehead without the procession of the Hobby Horse, or the Sailors’ Horse. This has been a tradition for centuries and it’s origins were thought to come from a bid to frighten away the Danes. These days the horse parades through the town accompanied by drums, accordions and a load of locals/visitors/holiday makers.

The horse is actually a hessian cover over a wire frame with a nightmare inducing freaky mask, ( I don’t do masks!). At one point Jane and I were chased by the creature along the seafront, I still don’t really know why we ran in the first place! Despite this trauma we had a good time marching along in step with the drums until a thirst built up and we needed a pint in the actual Hobby Horse pub.

hobby horsehorse and us


For Day two I planned an afternoon revisiting the English Civil War at Dunster Castle, definitely something we had never done before.

The castle played an important role in the English Civil War, which I touched on in a previous post. So it was an obvious place for the Taunton Garrison to stage a historical  re-enactment.

This group brings the 16th and 17th century to life with music, drama and demonstrations. We were entertained, and deafened, by gun and canon fire and wandered around the tents showing activities from the era. But the highlight of the afternoon was when we were welcomed into the army as new recruits. When all the surrounding children were equipped with their pikes, minus the dangerous sharp pointy ends, we were allowed to join the line. The leader of the garrison explained that we would be learning how to handle our pikes, charge and march. I was worried about the marching as Jane has no sense of direction and doesn’t always know her left from her right. But I was wrong to fret, she took to it like a pro and looked like she was born to march.

After all that activity a cream tea was definitely called for and the little café in the castle grounds have the best scones.

If you don’t want to miss out on the fun of these re-enactments you can find information on their Facebook page and website





Jewel in the crown

On the first Sunday of every month there is a farmer’s market on the Tyntesfield Estate, a beautiful setting that deserves a post of it’s very own.

Among the stalls selling the usual farmer’s market fodder is the star of the show….or of this post.

My good friend, Ann, is a very talented jewellery maker. As a child she started experimenting with bits and bobs and her dad’s tool kit to make earrings. this love of jewellery making grew and she has been selling her wares for about 14 years, after being asked to take a stall at a local country market.

Ann is mainly self taught, although she has completed courses in stained glass and fused glass work. She is a qualified adult tutor and  taught jewellery making, glass painting and silk painting for a community education centre. Ann also has done teaching in some groups and on a one to one basis.

As well as selling at markets and fayres Ann makes commission pieces, she made me a beautiful tiara for my henna night and has recently made a wire sea glass creation for a customer.

Ann makes beautiful jewellery from her retreat in her back garden, I have bought quite a lot to give as presents or to keep for myself. She loves creating and selling, finding it very relaxing. Meeting lots of people and bravely facing the changeable British weather, Ann always has a busy weekend schedule of markets and fayres around the South west.

You can find Ann on her Facebook page here, and her website here and here.