Thursday, 23 January 2014

mince pies, moors and some very happy ducks.

I just had a look at my last post about's massive...and I see I managed to slip a little Bath trivia lesson in there. Read up, there'll be a quiz later. But this one will be less of an investment of your time, I promise.

With a bagful of home-made gifts and a couple of jars of home-made fruit mince under my arms (I had a lot of time on my hands before christmas...), we delved deeper into Devon, to a little town called Winkleigh where some more of Will's extended family live. On the night before christmas we arrived at a wonderful thatched, converted barn- there were ruins to explore, baking to be done (and a subsequent truck-load of mince pies to be eaten) and table tennis to be played so we were all very happy.

On christmas morning we woke to pancakes and bacon, a surprise bag of very thoughtful gifts each and the promise of an enormous lunch. Will was oblivious to all this though; being finally allowed to play with his (christmas present) yoyo after pestering me all week for it, he did little else the rest of the day.

If you don't call the underside of a rock home, you will know about the fairly hefty amount of moisture this little island has been drowning in of late. Fantastic for the ducks and their brethren; not awesome for two Australians who are keen on sunshine. It does mean though that when the skies do stop crying, we are outside before you can say 'hey look at those two weirdos splashing around in the puddles'. So we have managed a few sun drenched adventures. I like to call them sundrentures.

We admired some very dramatic coastline and pondered over a dead cow on a beach in western Devon, then fed our appetites for tiny cobbled fishing villages and cream teas in Clovelly.

I demonstrated how being bad at tennis probably means you are also going to be bad at table tennis and Will and our new friend Ed demonstrated how boys will be boys by getting all aflutter upon finding full fire extinguishers on an abandoned train.

We got lost on a bike ride on Dartmoor and saw some Dartmoor ponies. I drank any kind of mulled beverage I came across (it's cold here, okay).

We outwitted the floods and managed to find our way down to Cornwall when most of the public transport demonstrated how pathetically unable to deal with water it is, and stayed in  a shack that will probably be in the sea in 10 years (this is no exaggeration- cliff-edge houses have been toppling over at an alarming rate recently). And the next day we had poached eggs for breakfast, a cider and a wander around the blue and white houses and smuggler's coves of Polperro for lunch and got a wee bit lost looking for a coastal path (after sitting in the growing dark and cold for 3 hours, waiting for a lift that was not coming, we were saved a 6 mile walk in the dark by the kindness of strangers- a lady who, according to her fam who were all bundled in the car, liked to 'collect' the lost and hungry looking).

We walked 5 miles on an internet pilgrimage and then had to walk home in the rain (luckily we had pre-rewarded ourselves with a pint before we left town).

And on those days when going outside was vetoed by a look out the window, a look at each other and a weary sigh into a cup of tea, we did other things. Like learn to knit. I am almost the proud owner of a completely boyfriend knitted, extremely warm and cosy looking scarf. And visit the smallest cinema I ever did see to watch about the muted horrors of Irish catholicism. And cook cinnamon buns and go shopping for hiking boots and visit a marble museum.

And in a wonderfully satisfying circle, we then went back to Halberton and Hugh, Lindsay and Jess, who were the very first stop on our Devsplorations. We spent our last day in Devon watching incredibly posh people on huge horses mingle with archetypal English farmers in wellies and those hats before charging off down the road with their hounds, wandering through a wintry forest next to a murky river, clambering halfway up a hill in the mist on Exmoor (and running back down it when that mist turned to rain) and trying to find somewhere that would give us lunch after 2.30pm in small-town Devon on a winter's afternoon.

Take-away pork pie anyone?

P.S. here are some pictures from last blog. enjoy.

This Kombi sells excellent coffee. This is my favourite thing ever. 
Exeter. We spent many a rainy day here shopping. This day we spent watching swans preen.
A country manor. We have delusions of grandeur.
The beautiful Devon at sunset.
What this? It's only the most famous stone circle of all time.
We did a spot of time travel whilst in Bath.
Some of John Wood's architecture.

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