Sunday 15 May 2011

Dancing on graves

On a tomb in the churchyard at Dundry, there is a dancing lesson in stone. It's interrupted when father comes home from the quarry; there's his hobnailed bootprint on the threshold, see?

We stopped there on our way west, in our hunt for the Giant Faun Of Shepton Mallett. A chamois, it is at home in precipitous places, and lived for a long time on the roof of the Babycham factory. But now it is sheltering under the trees nearby. We managed to get quite close, as you see.

...and then we went looking for a cup of tea, and found a Portuguese cafe in the high street.

I remarked to Deborah that I was sure this was the cafe where I came on a rainy day, twenty years ago, looking for a cup of tea and a bit to eat, and it was full of very large people who looked as though they shared a very small number of ancestors, all eating large gobbets of pork. And it was very steamy.

Today there was Sagres beer on offer, but we went for tea. And soup and rice cake. It was a little touch of Portugal in the west country. I listened carefully to the ads on the telly for maiƓs de banho and elections, and decided that while it sounded superficially like spanish, except for the 'sh' sound, I couldn't make head nor tail of it. And the patron spoke very little english. But one of the crowd at the counter cheerfully offered to translate if necessary. And he got some water for Ted the dog. It was a good cafe.

Outside, Ted started barking at a Very Large Dog with a Very Large Owner, both of whom looked as though they'd eaten quite a few gobbets of pork in their time. The chaps in the cafe came out to watch as we dragged Ted away. We waved cheerfully.


  1. Oh how I love that word 'gobbet' for chunks of meat! My former partner M--- used to hate it though. But it's so evocative, conjuring up visions of Henry VIII munching his way through a roast goose or haunch of venison!

    Seems to me that I'll have to visit the Mendips this autumn, when I'm fit enough again for caravanning.


  2. Did you manage to read the inscription, Dru?

  3. ..and slatherings of congealed grease, Lucy...

    Not yet, Deb, I had a quick go and zilch. Shall try again when a bit less hassled!

  4. I hope the Faun has somewhere secure and safe to live now and is not just roaming lonely in the woods! Love your description of the town- I am so going to have to make a journey southwest one day to visit all these curious places! The cafe looks nice, hope the cake was good too. The pic of Deb is great, love the shadows. Gobbet is the best new word I've learnt in ages- shall now go and use it repeatedly to, I am sure, great effect.

  5. What a Grand Day Out. I'd like to know more about that tombstone if and when you please ...

  6. Very much enjoyed your blog all most as much as I used to enjoy glasses of Showering's Babycham :)

  7. Gobbets would surely contain all of the grisle bu the sound of it.

    How big is the Babycham deer? He looks to be about 30 feet tall in your picture.

  8. I was so pleased to find that cafe. Cheryl, as I've found Shepton a bit, er, *challenging* on my previous visits- went to a pub there once when visiting Richard (who lived not too far away)- bloody scary people....
    No results about the tombstone as yet, Delia; shall ask around.
    Thanks, AHV- I did try some Babycham not long ago (after getting around the difficulty of being refused service because the Asda assistant thought I was going to feed it to my daughter, which tells you something about the assumptions people make) and found it a little disappointing. Must track down some Cidona next, in hopes of recapturing that from-the-chipshop-fridge taste...
    Not far off, Anji- I reckon about 15-0 feet tall.