Summer 2013 – Week 5 – Along the north coast

Sunday 14th July 2013

We departed at 9:30 all freshly spruced up and everything full ready to do battle with the Sunday trippers. It looked like it was going to be a hot one with wall to wall blue sky. The A386 is a major A-road but was no more than a lane with passing places in parts so progress was slow. Little villages passed by with wonderful names like “Tweenaways” andd “Stumpypost Cross”

Further on we found a dual carriageway but it didn’t last long. Near Yelverton we stopped at a likely stop. It was a disused RAF aerodrome from WW11. Whenever I see such a place it will remind me of the book I am reading about life surrounding an American WW11 airbase near Framlingham in Suffolk called “Under an English Heaven” by Robert Radcliffe and kindly loaned to me by Jeremy P (owner of the house below mine but whose UK home is in Suffolk). I must leave this soon and finish reading the book before we get to Suffolk and I have to hand it back.

We got our bikes off the van and circled the airfield meeting up with a friendly chap from the Tavistock Wheelers club, one of thousands out on their bikes today.

We stopped for lunch and were tempted to stay the night but decided to press on. We have to be at Ginny’s in deepest Cornwall by Monday afternoon.

From Tavistock we turned south to have a look at Morwellham the scene of the TV series “An Edwardian Farm” but we turned up too late in the day to make the entrance fee worthwhile. Further south to Bere Ferrers and a delightful cottage on the riverbank for sale. Will check out the price when we get on the internet.

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Delightful cottage in Bere Ferrers but not enough parking

We would not buy it. Risk of flooding too great and at the bottom of a long steep hill. It’s a nice area to live but not for retirement. It is very hilly round here and you couldn’t just cycle to the shops.

Back up north and onto Dartmoor, we are now overlooking Colliford Reservoir. There are sheep, wild horses and cattle. The bull appears to be the longhorn and the cows are a mixture with some long-haired ones and a calf that looks more like a teddy bear!

Monday 15th July 2013

An occasional car sped past during the night but we were far enough away from the main road for it not to worry us. I heard a diesel engine in the night but it was only another van bedding down for the night. A Chap on his own. Some people do drive late into the night. Not us!

It was short dash down the main road into Bodmin and thence to Wadebridge to Lidl’s car park and the start of the Camel Trail, a walking/cycling route into Padstow. We have done this before but this time we wanted to do the geocaches along the route finding 3/5. Not bad for us. Back for lunch in the van and then to Ginny’s original cottage near St Mabyn. By original I mean no fancy plastic windows, no concrete terraces, just old fashioned stone. We slept in the van as the house was going to be full.

The waste pipe in the van had sprung a leak again so I took it all apart again, wheel off, wheel arch removed and also removed the offending joint having failed to glue it back together. A new right angled joint was required. Job for tomorrow. Ginny took us to the coast and we sat on the cliffs looking down at the sea for seals but none tonight. Home via the local hostelry. We had supper with Ginny, daughter Jessica and her partner Paul, the two youngsters were already in bed.

Tuesday 16th July 2013

Next morning Ginny’s other daughter Rebecca took us into town to buy a new right angle fitting. Back home all reassembled. Job Done! Lunch and then a drive down to the beach and a very brief swim in crystal clear water. I find the clearer the water the colder it is!

We planned supper at the Kew Inn but at least an hour to wait so plan B which was to go to the fish and chip shop via last night’s watering hole. They could serve food almost straight away so they got our business. We had fish and chips!

Wednesday 17th July 2013

We were not doing a great mileage today so long lie in and then about thirty miles up the main road and over towards Dizzard Point for Jo’s annual acupuncture session. Ugh! Makes me shudder!

We entertained Bruce and Penny to lunch outside the van on one of their fields. Jo then went for her acupuncture and I washed up and had a snooze.

All done we headed back to Wainhouse Corner to a Caravan and Camping Club site mainly to empty and recharge tanks. We thought we would be late arriving so phoned and said we would be at least another hour. Five minutes later we arrived. I hadn’t changed the time zone on the satnav. Embarrassed looks from the campervanners! The site had wifi so caught up on a few bits and pieces of correspondence and they also had TV so we watched the last bit of the Apprentice final. Jo is a devotee. Most motor-homers and caravanners have their own TV but not us.

Thursday 18th July 2013

I had emailed ex-neighbour Nick and his Australian wife Kylie who I had not seen for about fifteen years. Nick had left Stourbridge, went to Australia, back to Stourbridge, back t Australia and then bought a house in North Devon. Chance to see them before their next move to Cyprus.

On the way we poked our noses into a few places we had heard of but never seen such as Westward Ho! Appledore, Instow,

Appledore from Instow beach

Appledore from Instow beach

Roundswell to get some LPG, Braunton and Ilfracombe where we had lunch high on the cliffs overlooking the sea. Onto Bugford and Nick’s immaculate cottage in a quiet and secluded valley. Why would he want to sell such a beautiful place? Wouldn’t suit us though. Got to the bottom of the valley, missed Nick’s house and started up the other side from a standing start, got fifty metres and ground to a halt. Panic! Started reversing back down and there was Kylie waving us into their drive.

Tour of the estate over it was time to eat. We would have spent the night in the van as N&K were packing up ready for the move but I had left the van at rather a jaunty angle. A comfortable night it would not be. I was worried about getting up the hill next day but N&K knew the local farmers and a tractor could easily be procured.

Since I saw them last N&K have acquired two children, Rory 14 and Faye 8. Rory is an avid classic car fan. Citroen 2CV’s and Mk 1 Land Rovers. They have a Mk 1 currently undergoing some restoration prior to its shipment to Cyprus together with their huge AGA, a two metre wide job which has followed them on two moves in Australia and a trip to North Devon. Rory has also acquired Nick’s paintings of his BMW 2002 and a Scooby Doo WRX painted in pastels by undiscovered but talented artist, Paul Massey. (No 1 stepson – I’ll have the money in cash in a plain brown envelope, please).

Friday 19th July 2013

Still worried about having to live in this valley forever Nick took me back the way we had come to check on the corner where we turned into his lane as I felt it was less steep than the hill I had tried to drive up last night. It certainly was, so unloaded some heavy stuff into Nick’s car. Not sure what all the panic was about as it was just a breeze getting up the hill and Nick and Kylie made sure that our exit onto the main road was clear.

The plan was to get to Glastonbury that night to a camp-site so we set off towards to Taunton, then Street and found ourselves in Glastonbury well ahead of schedule so continued through Shepton Mallett and the middle of Bath, busy as rush hour approached. Bashing on we went past Berkeley Castle, Sharpness, past the Wetland and Wildlife Trust, Slimbridge where Jo worked in her early twenties and eventually to Purton alongside the Gloucester to Sharpness canal. In need of a Crabbie’s we went to the Berkeley Arms. Many years ago some of my long time friends did the Severn Way, the riverside walk from Plynlimon in North Wales to Bristol. We often stopped at riverside pubs and got our sandwiches out and no publican batted an eyelid but at the Berkeley Arms they took a different view and we were told to sup up and take our sandwiches somewhere else! Those sort of instructions annoyed Mike and words were exchanged.

The church at Purton

The church at Purton

Surely the owner would not recognise me from all those years ago (AD 2000 approx)? Apparently not so we had a Crabbie between us followed by a local brew in my case and sauntered back to the van. They could not throw us off the car park now as I was in no fit state to drive!

The van parked in Purton taken from a bridge on the Gloucester to Sharpness canal.

The van parked in Purton taken from a bridge on the Gloucester to Sharpness canal.

Saturday 20th July 2013

Another Severn Way pub for a coffee stop and a walk along the river. The pub, the Old Passage Inn at Arlingham has had the sign removed and is now a high end restaurant and hotel. £7.50 for two coffees!

View of Newnham from the Old Passage Inn

View of Newnham from the Old Passage Inn

Onto the M5 and a quick stop at friends in Gloucester for a look at their new house, some meringues, fruit and thick cream. Yummy!

Our destination for the night was at Sue’s ex-Halifax colleague Carol and Brian’s superb barn in How Caple. We were enjoying a pleasant evening in the sunshine watching the buzzards until Brian invited me to have a look in his garage and huge workshop. I am now insanely jealous!


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