Sunday, 17 August 2014

Holidays and Hurricanes....

Well that’s the holiday over and done with! How come it takes forever to arrive and then flies by at the speed of light?

We have had a pretty good week down in Devon. Things didn’t get off to the best start when the remains of Hurricane Bertha were due to wreak havoc on our first weekend. Typical. Weeks of tropical sunshine, we go away and BOOM – Hurricane! Luckily the worst of it passed through early morning and it didn’t cause much damage where we were. Also, looking on the bright side, our rented apartment had fantastic views directly over Ilfracombe harbour and so we would have had the best seat in the house for any spectacular weather related adventures. The rest of the week ended up being mostly sunny with a few showers but nothing to cry about.

Verity and the rainbow

This little chap was near our apartment.

Our week passed in a whirl of walking (lots of it), eating (also lots of it) and doing touristy things. We made a list on the first day and by the end of the week we had crossed most things off. Eaten lobster on the beach? Yep! Coastal walks, ice cream, beaches, collecting shells and seaglass, corn mill visit, Lynton and Lynmouth, cream teas and cycling. In fact the only thing I got voted against was the trip to Watermouth Castle. We have been before and yet no one else seemed excited by a return visit to GnomeLand and the dodgy mannequins in the castle itself. I consoled myself with a visit to Ilfracombe Museum – a really odd little place with all manner of weird things (two headed kitten anyone?). The children had fun pointing out all the things we already had at home. It made me happy!

Collecting stuff from the beach

The cycling was actually a highlight of the trip. We hired bikes and cycled the Tarka Trail from Barnstaple to Torrington (approx 14.5 miles) AND BACK! DH learned a valuable lesson before we started the ride. Namely I am rubbish at directions and they had all left me to take directions from the bike hire bloke on how to get onto the trail. In fairness it involved more than one instruction and I kind of lost concentration after this one. I tried my best but we did set off in the wrong direction and spent the first 15 mins cycling up a huge hill that proved unnecessary! 

As close as we got to Torrington

Instow signal box - pretty obvious really!

Forgiveness eventually followed and we set off in the correct direction. The T Trail is along a disused railway and so is pretty flat and easy going. You get fabulous views over the Taw estuary and all the wildlife on the mud flats and salt marshes. Along with that you get to see some pretty places and some remains of railway stuff too.

Overlooking the Taw Estuary

Torrington was the scene for a battle in the Civil War in 1646. I won’t pretend to sound knowledgeable about this period of history but basically the Parliamentarians under General Fairfax whooped the arse of the Royalists under Lord Hopton. The battle came to a climax when 70 barrels of gunpowder got blown up in the church killing lots of people.  Sadly I didn’t discover any of this stuff until afterwards and so we didn’t venture into Torrington itself, staying at the old railway station for tiffin and much needed tea!

The week ended with that old tradition, fish and chips on the harbour. Dodging seagulls and coats firmly buttoned against the wind we battled the wooden forks and flapping paper. Next day we packed up and headed home – the fun of the M5 gently thrusting us back into real life once more!

Still – only 11 weeks til I’m off to Egypt with DD. Bet I still won’t get to see any Gnomes there either :(

Friday, 1 August 2014

Pretty bubbles in the air

Mr Boss Man had been on holiday and seen some magical bubble street artists. So this week at work in between all the stuff that needed doing we tried our best to recreate these wonders! Apparently they weren't quite so spectacular but they did make for some good photo opportunities :)