The weather forecasters had been saying all last week that it was going to be mild and dry for the start of this week so I'd been threatening/promising two good friends that we would take a liesurely 'tour' around the Somerset levels when next we had the chance - and Monday just gone looked like it was going to be that chance. A longstanding biker friend and former work colleague has a 1200 Thruxton RS, and a new-to-biking near neighbour recently bought a 900 Thruxton and both were good with the idea of a day's ride without it being a mad dash or an endurance test! However ..... the best laid plans and all that. I''ve currently got 2 bikes road legal - my Street Triple and a 900 Trident. I decided that, in order to avoid the temptation of the 'rocks-off, balls-out, brain-gone' blast that the Street Triple tends to somehow tempt me into indulging, I would take the Trident. It hadn't been used for quite some time - in fact it's barely turned a wheel since it returned from its MOT in May - and it would be much easier on my backside for an all day jaunt. So, I set about plotting a route that would take in the Somerset levels; a lovely small town with THE BEST toasted teacakes in the South West; England's smallest city; the Mendip Hills; a famous gorge and a Triumph main dealership! Not a bad plan for a short late autumn day's ride? Of course, you know what they say about the best laid plans ......... The day dawned - well, sort of ......... the day emerged slowly, reluctantly almost, from a damp, misty haze with daylight struggling through ten tenths, dense cloud cover. Bummer! Never mind, we could afford a slower and slightly later start and still get the route covered - just. But then, the plot thinned ...... a phone text message arrived to tell me that my RS owner had tested positive for the dreaded Covid, and my near neighbour stopped by on his 900 Thruxton to tell me that his "gig economy" work pattern meant he had to take a day's work he'd been offered at short notice and couldn't make the ride ............... So, I had the choice - call it off completely and continue with some of the endless tasks of renovating, restoring and repairing the crumbling pile we call home, or go it alone. Sod it, it's November for heaven's sake and the temperature's up in the high 50's - how often do you think THAT set of circumstances will obtain? So, ride it was, but with a more relaxed start, a much curtailed plan and a significantly reduced timetable. Still, any day riding beats a day working, right? The Triumvirate of Triumphs had turned into a solo, triple cylinder soundtrack and it was music to my ears. I followed the early part of my pre-planned route and took a brief motorway stretch north to Taunton before heading east on the A378 and B3153 towards my first stop at the small town of Somerton. Both of these roads have some nice, flowing bends and a generally good surface but there are long stretches that are 40 mph resticted and I have, on more than one occasion, seen mobile speed enforcement vans parked up ready to catch the unwary so I keep my speed down to the limit. Good job I'm flying solo on this trip as my preference for observing the speed limits has been known to upset various travelling companions who are much less risk averse than am I! I have a famously hopeless memory and can't recall how or when I first 'found' Somerton but I've been going to the Buttercross tea rooms here for many, many years - not frequently or even often, but it IS always worth a detour or, even better, a destination on any bike ride! The coffee here is good and the home made tea cakes are particularly good - arguably the finest you will find anywhere - and always sell out early .... you have been warned! The tea rooms is named after the historic, medieval building just opposite and shown in the picture below .... and I do mean the building that's medieval, not the steam powered, triple cylinder heavyweight also featured! The Buttercross is a covered market cross not too dissimilar to the much larger - and better known - building in Dunster some 40 miles away on the North Somerset coast. In the image below, the tea rooms can be seen at the right of the picture. There are usually plenty of outside tables - it's pretty cosy inside - but, as can be seen here ... it's closed on Mondays, remember! For a town of its size Somerton has a surprising wealth of beautiful, historic buildings and, if you're interested and can be bothered there's plenty of information, including a 'vritual tour' here http://www.somerton.co.uk/virtual-tour/market-cross/ It is, as the age old saying goes, 'well worth a visit'! For now, though, and for me - with no prospect of a delicious, hot toasted tea cake and coffee to refresh me - it's time to move on to my next destination - the smallest city in England. Wells has long been known as the smallest city in England, though, in actual fact it is the second smallest in area and population after the City of London but, hey, London is too .... well .... London-centric so bowlurks to them, eh? Wells is by far the prettier of the two by any yardstick and has infinitely more character than its counterclaimant so - ner ner na ner na to Laaandan!! It's also a hell of a lot easier for me to get to it - the downside of which might be that you're reading this drivel! Nevertheless, the two cities do have one thing in common - it's a right, royal PITA to park here and there is far too much traffic .... though thinking about that latter point, that's probably true of most anywhere worth visiting in the UK at present. Any road up, m'duck - I managed to find somewhere near the centre to park and took a short stroll into the cathedral area. Wells cathedral is a stunningly beautiful structure with parts of it dating back to the 10th century. I didn't have time to go inside the building, unfortunately, but did so many years ago and remember being overawed by the scale and complexity of a building originally constructed in the 12th century. The west front of the building is particualrly beautiful with a weath of medieval statuary - almost 300, most of which are original. The cathedral; cathedral close and the Bishop's Palace area are sublimely beautiful, though I'd guess in the height and heat of summer they are almost certainly a completely different picture. Today, though, with an overcast sky and a less than inviting autumn temperature it was relatively quiet. The Bishop's Palace is unusual for its moat and drawbridge fortifications - historically required to protect the ability of the Bishops to impose taxes on the local citizenry! These days, however, it's better known for providing shelter and safe care for the swans that have been associated with the feature moat for many, many years. The swans have, over the years, been taught to ring a bell mounted on the Palace outer walls to demand and receive food! A popular event for the tourists but not something I can afford the time to wait and see today! The road to home beckons ....... When originally planning the day for a 'trio of Triumphs' I'd intended to route our small but mighty group of Trumpets westwards from Wells and out along the foot of the Mendips towards Cheddar, then up through the Gorge, thence northwards through the hills and the Chew Valley (any 'mericans bored enough to have read this thus far will be saying "Hey Martha, how 'bout this ..... they have names like 'Chew Valley'; 'Chew Magna' and ........ can ya believe this ......... 'Nempnett Thrubwell'!!! Jeez ..... can you believe that?") and into the southern outskirts of Bristol to thread our way through the city traffic to Fowlers. However, being Billy NoMates and having made a late - and lonesome - start, I decided to head west along the B3139 through Wedmore and Mark before turning south on the B3141 towards Bridgwater and Taunton. Much of the latter part of the journey - especially through Bridgwater and Taunton - was notable only for its mind-numbing boredom and it was almost a pleasure to rejoin the M5 south and allow the Trident to breathe a little! Although it hadn't rained at all during the day's ride, the bike managed to get absolutely minging. Actually, I should really say that I managed to get the bike absolutely minging. Zummerzett mud me 'ansumm! Still, it was worth it. I'd covered over a hundred miles (105, actually) and enjoyed a really nice walk around Wells - a place I haven't visited for at least 3 decades! All in all ....... a grand day out, Grommit! If you have been - thanks for reading!