Tuesday 7 June 2011

Scenes from Devon

We spent a windswept and cold week in beautiful Devon.
No trench foot but oh, so much wind. And, as we were camped on a west-facing hill, looking out to sea, from whence a MAD level of wind was howling, it was a challenging week.
My gorgeous tent is lovely and looks great but is not much use in such circumstances, there being no inner tent. The wind whipped the sides up as much as it could and others on the camp site lost tent pegs forever, returning to camp at the end of the day to find their tents in heaps and looking wildly around for sheep with Frankenstein's monster-type tent pegs through their necks.
After two nights we resorted to taking turns to sleep in the van with Frank and oh, the joy of just turning a light on to test BG during the night, rather than holding that torch in your mouth.
I took a few photos but spent also a lot of time with my hands in my pockets feeling grumpy. Andrew assures me I am rarely grumpy so I imagine ten years of teaching teenagers has made me proficient in hiding my true emotions!
A few piccies for you all so those of you across the pond can feel all worldly and knowledgeable about the UK ...
Setting up on day one.
We left at 8am and arrived around half four in the afternoon. Strolling up to the office to check in Frank flopped to the floor with his lowest hypo yet : 2.0.
Great. A week on a hillside and we begin by checking in and dealing with a major hypo simultaneously.
And look! Blue sky. Last we saw of that for a while.

On our way down the hill to Hope Cove.
That, my unworldly American friends, is a Devon ROAD. Yup. It's a road. Two way. All that green hides a wall made of flinty stuff (that's the technical term by the way, ahem) so if you misjudge it in your car, or say camper van, you lose bodywork. There are passing places but that then involves driving backwards uphill or downhill and not hitting the aforementioned flinty-stuff.
Keeps you on your toes, believe me.
I would so love to be a passenger in a car with an American driving down this road! Dan and Winnie, I volunteer you guys. Are you up for it? Detroit is easy, you need a challenge!

I loved this sign, all bent at the edge showing how someone hit it on the way past! And the wild flowers all the way down the lane were amazing.
The first few houses as you enter Hope Cove.
Hope Cove and a windswept boy. Both beautiful.


And then there were days of wind and rain and more grumpy thoughts from me.
On what was to be the penultimate might of camping it was Andrew's turn in the van with the boy.
I tidied up the tent. Made a comfy bed. Got my knitting ready. Got my book out. Lit the gas lamp without losing any eyebrows and settled down for some space.
But, that bloody wind. It picked up and buffeted that poor tent to the point that I got smacked in the head by the canvas so many times that by half midnight I lit the lamp again and read. Until three thirty and I was too tired to read anymore. After that I slept fitfully, off and on, dreaming of wild panthers (The Beast of Bodmin Moor had come to Devon and was in my tent!).

I joined the boys in the van. They were sleeping well and still happily in dreamland. I made myself a cup of tea and sat drinking it, feeling mutinous and very sorry for myself. Then there appeared a little way off but clear enough for me to see a group of three crows. Two of whom proceeded to peck the other to death.
Great. Lovely sight.
I have read enough Shakespeare to take this as a very clear and portentous sign to get the hell out!
And so, we packed up and went to a B&B for the night and oh, the joy of no wind. Electricity! TV! A bed without bugs! The wonder of it all. I felt like The Man Who Fell To Earth (didn't pee myself though, you'll be glad to know!).

And I smiled to be packing up and loved my husband more than ever for being adaptable.
Back very soon with a call for help with my used-to-eat-anything-boy now being a mono-diet-boy. I am floundering with feeding him.
Little monkey.


  1. Devon looks absolutely beautiful! I commend you for lasting as long as you did in the tent. I would have high tailed it to the van or to the B & B as soon as the first big gust of wind blew through. I am a wimp! :)

    I hope you enjoyed some Devon cream tea and clotted cream ice cream while you were away!

  2. Love that you went to a B&B! I would have been ecstatic over the electricity, warm water, bed...oy! Missed you Jules.

  3. we are not campers. I wished I could be one, but darn it I HATE being cold and not having warm water available at a moments notice. I am glad you guys had such a great trip, the pics are beautiful. And our boys are the same with their eating habits one day eat a ton the next day nada (or maybe just mac and cheese!)

  4. Welcome back, Jules! Love the photos and descriptions! So glad you made it to a B+B for the final night. And I love your smile of relief there! :)

  5. Welcome back! I missed you while you were gone!!! You are a brave woman my friend. I like camping but only if it is really warm and dry!!! The weather you had sounds very Washington-like and I would have been super GRUMPY!! Glad you had a night in the B&B!!

  6. Welcome home! Good for you for retiring to a B&B. I remember leaving the woods to get to a laundromat once, just for some dry clothes on a miserable camping trip. It's all for fun, so you ought to be having some!

    I haven't forgotten your lovely offer to email. Just trying to get a handle on things right now, and trying to find my way back to some semblance of "normal."

    Glad to hear your "voice" again (and love the lessons on the UK!)

  7. What a great little town (and road getting there -- Franca would love it!), a very cool tent (even if it can't stand up to the wind), and perfect ending (Shakespeare could not have written a more fitting scene than crows devouring each other)!

    This is about how 8 out of 10 of our camping trips turn out... some mix of foul weather, eery signs that it could get worse, and moments of pure, inspiring pleasure. Almost makes you want to ditch the lives we have presently and become a nomad traveling the world (w/ the option, of course, of taking cold, windy nights off to be reminded again -- and de-grumpified -- of the certain pleasantries of civilization).

    Great story, Jules.

  8. Devon. Devon's roads. Never again.

    Such joy to hear you say what I wanted to say.

    And camping: there is necessity; there is good fun; and I thank God for B & Bs.

    :-) Bern x x x