End of a Strange Summer 2020

Hello my lovely friends and readers, hoping this Autumnal Sunday October morning finds you all happy and well. I’m writing to you from my snuggly warm bed, propped up with pillows so I can make the most of my glorious sea view. It seems like the right thing to do after a hectic few days. Easy like a Sunday Morning and all that. We’ve finished our season at Warcombe Farm now. It has been enjoyable to say the least. New experiences for both of us and we’ve had the pleasure of working with a great bunch of folk. We feel blessed on both counts. If any of our camping followers out there fancy a peaceful break on a beautiful site with 5 star facilities in North Devon, check out the Warcombe Farm website. The sea view pitches are amazing. If you’re into fishing, the lake side ones have individual gates onto the lake. It’s a short drive into Exmoor or a 20 minute walk down to Woolacombe with it’s sandy sweep of surf beach. Ten minutes drive to Ilfracombe Harbour. A jolly nice part of the world. Plenty to see and do.

We picked up a little car before we left lockdown in the New Forest. It’s been a bit of a God send. It has enabled us to explore our surroundings as the squeezy narrow lanes of North Devon don’t lend themselves to 9 meters of silver beast!! It’s been really lovely to get reacquainted with Exmoor. Lynton and Lynmouth are such a delight, it’s been too long. Coombe Martin is a sleepy seaside town en route. A great little bay for kayaking and paddle boarding. I’d forgotten how stunning the coastal walk was between Valley of Rocks and Lynton. As it winds up into town, it’s known as the Poet’s Walk. Various poems and odes are pasted to trees and lampposts along the zig zagged path. The funicular railway running up and down the steep cliff side to Lynmouth is a welcome leg saver and quite a spectacle. It’s powered totally by water from the river and is the steepest and highest of its kind in the country. There’s no shortage of quirky shops to browse and quaint tea stops in Lynton. The thatched Rising Sun Inn on the little harbour side down at Lynmouth has gorgeous rooms overlooking the sea. It’s full of character (how many times did Mark hit his head on the low beams?!) and serves good food. We enjoyed a 3 night stay there a few years ago. Must return some time.

In the opposite direction from the site we had Croyde, Saunton Sands, Barnstaple, Appledore, Clovelly etc. All on our doorstep. So many super places to visit on our days off. Early morning swims with Dylan down at Barricane Beach became order of the day. There was a daily yoga class on the beach too. I gazed longingly at the lithe, Lycra clad, lads and lasses as I waddled out of the sea in my somewhat snug fitting wetsuit. Ah well. Must say no to the cake next time (as if!!). This side of Devon has a lot to offer. It’s a wild and rugged coastline. My favourite kind.

My Derbyshire girls came over for a visit at the beginning of September. Fancy that! It was so damn good to see them for a catch up. It’s been a year, I’ve missed them. I had a night in a hotel with them. We ate and drank too much, laughed a lot and shopped til we dropped. Standard I guess. What a tonic though. Love you guys, you know who you are. Can highly recommend The Watersmeet Hotel between Mortehoe and Woolacombe. We lunched there on our last day together. Views to die for. It sits right on the edge of a rocky cove overlooking the sea. The food and service were excellent. Must push the boat out and stay there next time.

Before we knew it, it was time to head back to Bakewell and say goodbye to our workmates and our seaside Summer home. There were the usual Motorhoming practicalities to attend to. A habitation check to make sure everything was safe and a van service. Doctors, Dentists, Vets and more importantly, Hairdressers!!! I also had to start winding up my late Mum’s Estate. We had thankfully completed her house sale so I could crack on with the process. It would be a huge weight off my shoulders. Once all that was out of the way we would see how the Covid situation was and decide whether to head south with the birds for Winter. The Shire looked resplendent in its Autumn colours. The Peak District is so very beautiful, especially at this time of year. Chatsworth was magnificent as always. Managed to squeeze in an evening at the newly refurbished Rutland Arms Hotel in Bakewell. Very nice indeed. Loved the decor and fab food. Give it a go.

In the profound words of Simon and Garfunkel, gee but it’s great to be back home! Even better to see the family. It had been an awful long time since Mark hugged his dear Mum. The children had all shot up. They were full of beans, as always a joy. We met two new additions. Bouncing baby Ronnie and Springer Spaniel Nel. We caught up with lots of folk but sadly missed out on seeing many others. As usual we ran out of time and Covid restrictions prevented a few planned meet ups. Thankfully, although we didn’t realise it at the time, we were paid a last visit by a very good friend and former work colleague from Mark’s Police Force days. I’m mentioning you Alisdair Duncan as I know you liked to follow our travels. I hope you are reading this from heaven with a wee dram in your hand and a permanent smile you wonderful man. We were both shaken and stunned by your untimely passing. Very sad news indeed. Bakewell will be a duller place without you. Rest in peace dear Ali D.

And so off we went again. Always with the goodbyes. Leaving Bakewell behind, Ladram Bay bound initially to see our boy and his lovely lady Lucy. No tearful cheerios from Wendy and Jen this time though as, hurrah, they were coming with! A bit of a socially distanced birthday celebration weekend planned for Markie. Our Nephew Ben and his pal Yasmin were already at Ladram. We were also being joined by our fellow Motorhomers and travelling buddies Marion and Tony. They were coming up from Cornwall. Keep your lockdowns to yourself Boris at least until we’ve got the flock outta Dodge! We arrived without issue. Just in time to catch the golden sunset over Orcombe Point in Exmouth. We spent a peaceful night on the Estuary before hitting Marks and Spencer’s Food Hall in town to stock up the goodies. Mark was amazed to see Tony and Maz sitting there as we pulled onto our pitch. Think he was a bit overwhelmed actually. I love a surprise!! It’s all been a bit odd as obviously we can’t break the rule of 6 but we’ve managed to party quite admirably with distanced tables in Matts restaurant and a few other local hostelries. It’s been smashing to see everyone. I know I’m a bit biased but the food my Son has served up has been nothing short of amazing. He made Bouillabaisse with lobster and scallops, crab, clams etc for Marion and myself as he knows we love fish. It blew me away. His Nan got her lobster and jersey royals!! We were all fed like kings. The restaurant at Ladram Bay serves up some pretty special grub. Get yourselves off there on a staycation!! Annoyingly we were booted out at ten every night as is the rule!! This Covid really needs to get on its bike now. Enough is enough. Last night we went to the Taj Mahal Indian Restaurant in Budleigh Salterton. To my travelling friends I will say it’s on a par with Bollywood in Armacao do Pera! They will get what that means! Trust me, it’s a fair old compliment right there. So, now I’m laid here, still feeling stuffed from last night but wondering what time the carvery table is booked for this afternoon!! I will seriously need to have my mouth stitched up for a week when we leave here!

And so my friends, it’s decision time. We booked our tunnel crossing some weeks ago, before all the nonsense started hotting up again. Do we stay or do we go? I seriously cannot bear the thought of a cold, dark Winter in UK. Already there’s talk of riots all over the place as the inevitable lockdowns are enforced in various hot spots. It might be the wrong thing to do but I think we’re gonna chance it. Covid might be with us forever and ever amen. Next year won’t be any different except we’ll be a year older. Getting the maps out…………………!

Bye for now my lovelies. Keep them crossed that nice Mr Macron let’s us pass through his lovely country. Be safe. Be sensible. Be thankful for what we have. Don’t let the fun police spoil your day. Sending love and positive vibes to you all ❤️❤️❤️

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