The Joy Circuit

The sun has shone on Bath allowing us to explore at a leisurely pace. We started by moving the boat slightly further along, closer to Sydney Gardens. We are now opposite the home of a family of differently coloured ducks and regularly children stop to feed them.

Duck family neighbours

Many of the buildings in Bath are like Edinburgh’s new town, with the Georgian classical architecture and honey coloured stone, but very much more concentrated in a small space and of course Edinburgh doesn’t have thermal baths. Cath had told us where the free volunteer run tours started and recommended them, so we had in mind to check them out but meandered around ourselves first. Water features highly of course, even in the names of the shop owners it seems.

Cath had told us about the Pulteney bridge which was at the other end of the road where we had eaten out the night before, so we took that in. It has shops along the bridge itself which Edinburgh certainly doesn’t have, indeed very few places do. The view down is great. I bought a postcard of it and went into the old fashioned chemist there.

Edinburgh is in the throes of the festival now so is probably even busier than Bath but I enjoyed a bit of street entertainment in the form of a dapper jazz singer and dancer. He certainly brought a smile to my face, as did some of the poetry on the nearby flagstones.

From a crack in a rock a river springs and sings its way to the ocean

We found the square where the tours start but by the time we got there we both felt more like a sit down rather than a walking tour so we settled ourselves down at outside chairs with drinks and promised ourselves a tour tomorrow.

Shane completed a circuit for a different route back to the Sydney Gardens. We had picked up a leaflet about an evening comedy tour, but with hot feet, and a different tour recommendation, we gave it a miss. Tourism in the heat is tiring stuff.

We turned up the next day and realised we hadn’t checked out the tour times. We were in time to have a little wander and return in forty minutes. There was now a large crowd gathered around a man with an umbrella held aloft and it seemed an unmanageable group. But we were divided into three groups as there were three volunteers and we were allocated to Joy. She led us to the cathedral to begin our tour and at first our stops were to places we had just been, but of course knew nothng about. Later we covered places we had not seen at all. She managed a multinational group in a calm relaxed manner and we learned about disease, toilets, architecture, Jane Austen, vaccination, Georgian nightclubs and fashion in an easy, light hearted style and two hours passed quickly.

There are 80 guides and each is different. Thanks to Cath for the recommendation as we would probably not have done it otherwise, and thanks to Joy for her relaxing, amusing and interesting tour of Bath.

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