The Bothy. Our little holiday barn conversion, just big enough for two, (though large enough, we figured to fit all of our tiny cottage in). Beautifully furnished, with a bijou, bird-filled garden. Woodburner stove, four-poster bed, beams, wooden floor. Views across the splendid Trentishoe Down. Gorgeous when the sun is out, a bit Sherlock-Holmesy when the inevitable mists and rain set in. But the Bothy was cosy beyond belief, far more so than our own picturesque hovel, and we were very happy there.
What did we do? A lot of biking from A to B to C. Visited friends - some with chickens - (and EGGS - for ME!) -
We were fairly close to the sweetly pretty but over-subscribed village of Lynmouth -
The North Devon coastline is spectacular.
Approach to Heddon's Mouth
There was rock scrambling for Andy. If you are like me and hate heights, don't look too closely at the tiny figures below...
- and his once-yearly dip in the sea - no matter how bracing. And I believe he was suitably braced. I was having none of it.
There were rock pools for me. Each to his - or her - own.
I did get to drag Andy along to the Devon County Show, or rather, he nobly biked us fifty miles down the main road to Exeter, where the city was practically under riot-control due to the show's popularity. We had a lovely time, the sun actually shone, we looked at goats, sheep, cheeses, docile bulls, butter carving, rabbits, vintage bikes, country crafts, wandered about until our cheeks shone and our feet hurt. The bee keeping tent was bustling, and they had sold out of honey - sad for me, but great to know there is a new interest in this vital husbandry. Actually, everywhere was rammed to bursting point, and at midday they had to shut the gates to newcomers. For once the crowds didn't bother me at all, I was so happy to be in my personal paradise. I had a 2GB memory card for my camera and I was going to use it. But I have come to realise that several hundred shots of cows backsides are not everyone's cup of tea. (A friend who's father is a Devon dairy farmer dryly remarked that looking at my camera viewer was rather like looking at her dad's...). So, my heavily pruned set of show pictures are safely squirrelled away in a Flickr set, and they are here, if that is your thing too. (Bizarrely we completely missed the pig section, not sure how we managed that).
1. Bull, 2. Bull, 3. Bull, 4. Bull, 5. Devon Reds, 6. Devon Reds detail, 7. Devon Reds, 8. Devon Red and calf, 9. Untitled, 10. Cattle backs, 11. Spotted cow, 12. Holstein Fresian, 13. Holstein Fresian, 14. Stornmoor Thunder Cloud, 15. Stornmoor Thunder Cloud, 16. White bull, 17. Whites, 18. Whites detail, 19. White bull, 20. White, 21. Ducklings, 22. Poultry show, 23. Big cheese, 24. Butter carving, 25. Butter Carving, 26. Butter carving, 27. Tufty owl, 28. small owl, 29. Fluffy owl, 30. Eagle, 31. Eagle, 32. Eagle detail, 33. barn owl, 34. Sheep shearer, 35. Sheep shearer, 36. Sheep horn detail
On the Last Day and after a convoluted series of messages via Facebook and texting, we visited one of my oldest blog-friends, Donna Flower. Unusually, I didn't take a single photograph. We had a simply lovely afternoon with her, and visited the legendary Fabric Room. There was much groaning and swooning over delectable textiles, which she not only conserves, but sells, through regular open house sales and her website, Donna Flower. Her home is beautiful beyond belief and meeting her after nearly four years was a wonderful end to our holiday. Thank you Donna!
So we return refreshed, yet older and wiser. Reasons we are not moving to North Devon, beautiful though it is; it is mainly connected with tiny, winding roads which are impractical for commuting with a motorbike, especially when the weather gets rough in winter. It is too isolated, not enough jobs, too run down in places. I could not live there without a car, which I can't afford. Weather can be (very) iffy. We've got soft living in the gentle Cotswolds. We kind of knew all this, but eight days of it confirmed it. We had previously decided on North Devon rather than South Devon, as South is so much more expensive, though coming from there I would have much preferred that.
Can we afford it, ever? We don't know. We are in limbo again. But (oh, how contrary I can be), I was terribly homesick while we were away and it was wonderful beyond belief to get back to our sedate, lush patch. Mustn't feel too settled though, as we've got a snowball's chance in Hell of finding anything we can remotely think about here. Now we wait another year, carrying on scraping our house deposit together and hope to God the housing market doesn't shoot off again. One day we will be settled.
Thank you to every single person who left a lovely comment after my last post. I did sneak in half an hour's internet access mid-week and went all teary eyed and snuffly when I found the good wishes. Although it has been a nice break, I was raging to get back to work and missed all my internet friends. We have, however, rather taken to four-poster beds...