Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Tuesday, 1 November 2016
Beyond the pale by 20 feet
Sitting above the river, having a beer as the sun began to sink on Sunday, I saw a Heron, a Peregrine Falcon, a Kingfisher and an Otter - all in the space of half an hour and all right in the centre of town. If you embiggen (I cannot remember which one of you first coined this word, but I love it) this photo, you will see the Otter in the river, pretty much in the middle of the picture.
Oh, and I forgot to mention, as the sun set in a rosy sky, a lone Bat flitted about over my head, picking up insects which had been brought out by the warm weather. The Otter swam about for most of the time I was there, occasionally coming up for air before looking up, lolling over and diving for fish again. They are bigger than you might imagine - like medium-sized dogs.
Moments like these refresh my appreciation of living in Bath, where the countryside is no more than a mile out of town, and often comes in to it to do a bit of shopping.
I live about 30 yards away from where the photo was taken, and every time I have to renew our contents insurance, I have to explain the situation after answering 'yes' to the question, 'do you live within 100 metres of a river?'
If it is a new broker, I have to qualify the answer by saying that I also live about 50 metres above a river, and if our contents were to be damaged by floodwater, the only thing visible above the deluge in Somerset would be the Mendip Transmission Arial - the highest point in the South of England. I wonder if those people in the row of apartments in the picture manage to get any insurance at all, and if they do, I wonder what the annual premium is.
One of the reasons that our Georgian 3-story house is so high is that it was built on the line of the medieval city wall. The North Gate was about 200 feet to one side of it and the East Gate - the only one remaining intact - goes right down to the river below. The North Gate had a building on top of it, and this was part of the first King Edward Grammar School.
We are overshadowed by the Guildhall - the heart of civic Bath - but for some inexplicable reason, our postcode begins, 'BA2' and not 'BA1' as befits a dwelling in the heart of the little town which calls itself a city.
I do not resent this for any reasons of snobbery, it is just that I am sure that the prefix 'BA2' and not the more prestigious '1' puts our insurance premium up by an appreciable amount, never mind the river.