Reading: The Lord of the Rings
Playing: Sonic Forces
Well, you’ll probably have gathered by now that I’m home from our family holiday, but still… I have been intending to write up a journal on our week away.
September 22nd, Saturday</b>
We woke up at the crack of dawn this day, as Mum wanted us to get on the road as soon as possible. We ate on the road (or at least, at service stations when we stopped to rest)
There were four of us: Mum and Dad and myself – and our dog Mr Tumnus.
Taking my car to travel, Dad and I shared the load when it came to driving.
We reached Cheriton Bishop, Devon at some point during the mid-afternoon… and heavy rain followed us all the way! Seriously, it was so heavy that the spray from the traffic lowered visibility to practically zero!
Anyway, we paused at Exeter (which was heavy with traffic) to get a KFC for dinner, as well as some shopping and petrol… and then the handbrake seized up on the car – probably caused by the excessive rain getting into the pads? I’m not sure what happened, but it soon fixed itself after we prayed about it.
Finally, we went on to Cheriton Bishop (on the road between Exeter and Okehampton) to the place where we stayed for the week, at a place called Venbridge Farm. Here, we met our host, Anne, the farmer’s wife – who had also left a Devonshire cream tea for us! (Scones, jam and clotted cream)
Once there, we unpacked, watched Pointless Celebrities on TV and generally settled in. And we found we had WiFi, so that was good! I could at least keep up with my dA notifications through my phone. During the week, we were also able to watch a few episodes of a series called Time Teams with Tony Robinson that Mum has been into recently. They are quite interesting. We learned a number of things, like the location of an old Roman ironworking industry from what remained of a smelting workshop, iron–ore workings and even the overseer’s nearby bathhouse facility.
September 23rd, Sunday
It was still raining when we woke up.
After asking Anne about local places, we went to West Down Evangelical Church, who were very friendly people. They even allowed Tumnus in (though he got restless with just sitting around)
By then the weather cheered up a bit, so we had a walk afterwards and had a look at the village of Cheriton Bishop. It turned out they even had a little convenience store, which was handy.
Then I had a bit of a disaster. My camera took a suicide-dive from my pocket and broke itself! Though it still switched on and displayed the saved pictures, the screen was only displaying noise and couldn’t take actual photos anymore. At least the existing photos already on the SD card were safe, so we were able to transfer those onto Mum’s laptop
September 24th, Monday
Another nice morning.
So we went over to Exeter and Dad went to see his old Baptist Church on Wonford Road, where he was baptised. These days, it’s not actually active as a church, but rather as a conference centre for the South West Baptist Association.
After that, we went into Exeter Town Centre to wander round. Dad also got me new camera to replace the one that broke itself.
We spent the afternoon with our family-friends, Paul & Pam, who are possible-cousins through our family history research, and we took Tumnus for a walk along quay beside the River Exe, before having dinner together.
September 25th, Tuesday
Today, we went on the Round Robin trip.
First we went to Paignton to catch a ride on a steam train to Kingswear, which was pulled by an engine called King Edward II.
We then took a ferry across the River Dart to Dartmouth, where we had a fish ‘n’ chip lunch and a couple of hours to wander round town. I got some clotted cream fudge from one of the local shops.
Later, we took the river cruise to Totnes, passing by some interesting sights, such as Agatha Christie’s white house at Greenways, grey seals lounging on a pontoon, a heron… I even got a brief sight of a passing kingfisher – though Mum unfortunately missed it, being distracted by Tumnus, who had again become rather restless on the long cruise.
Once arriving at Totnes, we got the bus back to Paignton so we could go home.
September 26th, Wednesday
Today, we went to Budleigh Salterton to see Dad’s old home and had a wander round town and down to the seafront. I also got a stick of mint seaside rock (with Budleigh Salterton written right through it).
We then went to see Mum’s old friend, Pauline, and spent the afternoon with her. Tumnus also made friends with her shih-tzu puppy, Roxy, who was a right character herself. They got along very well. Tumnus always was friendly, and Roxy seemed to really fall in love with him – even if he did manage to tread on her a couple of times. Him being so much bigger and leggier, she did tend to get under his feet.
September 27th, Thursday
We started the day with a brief trip to Dawlish (where we bought a cream tea from a local family bakery, Gays Creamery) and Teignmouth. We had a walk along the seafront at Teignmouth.
Then we went on to Dartmoor, where we had our cream tea lunch at the foot of Haytor. Afterwards, we took a walk, climbing the hill to the tor (although we didn’t climb the tor itself, as none of us had really brought the right sort of footwear on the trip) – it was enough of a climb just beating the steep hill!
Afterwards, we went to Widecombe-in-the-Moor to wander around the old village, made famous by the old folksong about the seven men who rode to Widecombe Fair on an old grey mare. Whilst there, we had some Devonshire ice cream – that is, ice-cream (of a flavour of our choosing) with a chocolate flake and a scoop of clotted cream on top. Even Tumnus had a small ice-cream himself – though minus the flake or cream, of course!
After driving around to see an old church and one or two other points of interest, we then let the SatNav lead us back across the moor by the “shortest route” – pointing us down what turned out to be an overgrown dirt-track of a back road… called Sweet Meadow Hill. Somebody must have had a sense of humour…
We had a heck of a bumpy trip back to Cheriton Bishop, but it certainly gave those new anti-roll bars on my car a workout!
September 28th, Friday
Not much to write about today. We went off to Bideford and Barnstaple to have a look around the shops. Whilst in Bideford, I found a DVD of Carry On Matron at one charity shop, and a Looney Tunes 2002 Annual at another. Since I’d just finished reading “The Last Battle” (ending the Narnia series), this meant I had something light to read.
Meanwhile, Dad managed to get himself some new shoes from the Clarks in Barnstaple. During the week, Mum also got a new coat from Sainsbury’s.
Later, we returned to Venbridge Farm, where we’d arranged to have a cooked dinner from our host, Anne. Since the option was available, it seemed a nice way to end our week at Cheriton Bishop. We had gammon, chips and peas and pineapple (tinned, since Dad’s allergic to fresh pineapple) followed by dessert – I had sticky toffee pudding, Mum had chocolate profiteroles and Dad had apple crumble.
Afterwards, we started with our packing and cleaning up around our cottage, so that we would be near-enough ready to leave early in the morning.
September 29nd, Saturday
Going home today, we made a fairly early start and headed to Westbury, Wiltshire. Before going home proper, we had planned to visit Grandma, who is still quite fit and well, though getting a little frail in her old age. Her mind is still sharp, though, and she was happy to see us.
We got back to Mildenhall by dinnertime, and once again got a KFC for dinner.
So all in all, we had a great week.
And now that we’re home again, I’m also back to work at the Royal Papworth Hospital. I’m really getting the hang of my work now, entering records of patient clinic visits, transplant operations and keeping the waiting lists updated… though I still have a bit to learn. I’m trying to avoid any serious mistakes, since this is the confidential files of real people here.