Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Every day we take a walk somewhere in Bath--to the Roman Baths, or the park by the river that costs a pound to get into, or to an antique store--and then we find a place to exercise the two-year-old. Generally it's on the lawn in front of the Royal Crescent, an astonishing semicircular block of townhouses around the corner from the flat we're renting. (The real estate agent's term is a "maisonette," meaning it feels like a house but is two floors of a 5 story building.) There's a bit of private lawn for people who live in the crescent or are staying in the fancy hotel at its center, and then there's a big sloping lawn that makes you feel, as you move across it, as though you are in a bowl, and the top of Royal Crescent is the rim, and the sky is the lid just lifted. From here you can hear on weekends the sound of brass bands from the nearby bandstand. Weekend before last, the band was from Wantage.

But today we climbed the hill behind the Royal Crescent up to Lansdown Crescent. There is a lawn in front of that Georgian crescent, too, but instead of Japanese tourists and midday drinkers and visiting two-year-olds, it is occupied by grazing sheep. The views over the city are pretty astonishing just on the street. I looked in the windows and, as I often do, mulled over how I'd arrange such a house. Kitchen on the garden level in front, playroom behind, with doors out to the garden. A dumbwaiter from kitchen to dining room, of course. Studies up high.

But most of the townhouses have been broken into flats, and besides, I'm strictly from Wantage.

Then we went to the excellent Museum of Bath at Work, where we learned (among other things) that Plasticine was invented in Bath and at one point was exclusively made here.

We came home to our own once spectacular townhouse--our maisonette--now made sad by the scaffolding that's gone up the back: they're repainting the trim on the windows. Our once glorious view over the alottment gardens, to the bit of the Royal Victoria Park where the hot air balloons are launched is now interrupted by pipes and boards and men's feet. Makes me feel a bit from Wantage, actually. Or claustrophobic at the very least,.

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