Rain falling to the sea

Clovelly1Thursday

Thursday was a very poorly structured day.  It started out well, as we drove to a near empty Clovelly, another place I visited as a child.  It hasn’t changed that much, although I don’t remember the (slightly tacky) gift shop at the top of the village.  The cobbles were a little wet so we gingerly made our way down the hill to the sea – the fact that there was no one around meant no one could laugh as I slipped about.  It started to rain a little when we got to the bottom, but we didn’t mind so much.  We wandered about the alleys, talking about a film that we could write about the residents of a historic village, and how they cope with tourist season.

On the way back up, we went in the Fisherman’s Cottage and the Kingsley Museum, which were again empty, and then stopped for a cream tea at the New Inn – a tiny place which we surely wouldn’t have been able to get a table in at high season.  Nothing else was really open but that was fine by us – we still had a lovely morning.

I hoped to pet a donkey back up the top but they were all out.  BOO!

Clovelly2Driving out of Clovelly, we then couldn’t decide what to do.  I knew we were near the town of Bideford so we thought we’d have a wander round there, but we could only find a pay and display car park and we didn’t have any change.  We then thought we’d try Barnstaple but as we pulled into the car park, it started tipping down with rain and we couldn’t bring ourselves to get out the car.

So, back to Coombe we went, stopping off at Atlantic Village again for a Costa and to pick up a book (as I hadn’t brought enough with me).  We quickly dropped in to see my parents – they were staying in Cornwall for an extra night whereas we were leaving on Friday so we thought we’d catch up with them to see what they had been up to since we saw them on Monday.  And also use their Wi-Fi.

My evening was then spent reading, and watching Husband build a fire.  It was an interesting experience, with me fearing for my books at one stage (it’s ok, he didn’t need to burn them in the end) and even though I was quite hot, I praised him on finally getting the logs alight after using an entire box of matches.

Friday

We woke up relatively early as we had a bit of tidying to do around the cottage before leaving at 10.  Hopefully we left it in good enough condition for them!  The drive back was insanely rainy so we were a little relieved to not be out and about that day.  We made it home in about 4 hours, and then the arduous catching up on housework began.

And those endless beaches that go on and on

SW Coastal path

Wednesday

I won’t say much about Wednesday because I think the photos speak for themselves.  We decided to walk from our cottage down the South West Coastal Path to Bude which was about 6 miles and in the back of my head, I knew my parents (who were still on holiday in Bude) would be around to drive me back if I was feeling pathetic.  Unfortunately, they were out for the day so we had no choice but to make our way back!

We walked the mile from our cottage to Duckpool beach where we faced our first challenge – an epic slippy, steep hill.  When I got to the top, I was ecstatic.  And then I realised that slippy steep hills would feature quite heavily on the walk.

Duckpool

Looking down on Duckpool Beach

We carried on walking, up and down hills in the beautiful Cornish sunshine.  We had such perfect weather for this walk.  We watched surfers at Sandymouth Beach from the top of a cliff, stumbled down the steps at Northcott Mouth Beach, and tried to spot my parents’ cottage at Bude.

Northcott beach

Northcott Mouth Beach

When we got to Bude, we stopped at the same coffee shop we visited on Monday for some sandwiches, coffee, and cake.  The owner was even kind enough to give us a free slice of cake to take home which was delicious.

Bude

South West Coastal Path

There were very few people about on the cliffs – they were missing out!  The scenery was spectacular.

Radio Station

The “Radio Station”

We had a great view of the radio station (as Google calls it) and the less said about that the better.

Duckpoolsunset

Duckpool Sunset

We got back to Duckpool beach as the sun was setting so we hot-footed down the hill to sit on the beach.  There was a lone dog walker at the shore but other than that, we had the beach to ourselves.  It was a beautiful end to a beautiful day, and I’m so pleased Husband convinced me to do it.

We’ll Spend Some Time Forever

The second part of our mini-break/week holiday was spent in a tiny hamlet just outside of Bude called Coombe.  The Landmark Trust owns all the properties in the hamlet, including the one which we would call home for the next five days – Coombe Corner.  We stayed at a Landmark Trust place a couple of years ago (the epic Castle of Park) so our expectations were high.  Perhaps a little too high.  I won’t go into the problems that we had with the cottage as it seems unfair to moan, especially because the Landmark Trust have apologised to us.  It wasn’t a disaster by any means, but it certainly didn’t make an impact on us like the Castle of Park did (where the bath tub there still features in my top five baths ever*).

Anyway, we got into the house just before 5 as the sun was setting over the valley and we settled in to having no TV, Wi-Fi, or even phone signal.  It was a little unsettling to be alone in the middle of nowhere without a phone signal so we tried not to think about it or have an accident (nearest signal was a mile down the road at the beach).  I don’t think we got used to that the entire week, but we did have some films/TV shows on Husband’s laptop to distract us from the solitude. 

Tuesday

Eden2

Eden Project

We didn’t have a great night’s sleep – we were both awake at 4am so took the opportunity for a bit of star gazing through the living room window which was pretty spectacular.  We got up properly a couple of hours later and decided to drive the hour or so down to the Eden Project.  We visited on such a great day – it was bright and sunny and barely anyone was there.  We didn’t quite have the biomes to ourselves, but it was still pretty much crowd free.  

It’s an understatement to say that the Rainforest Biome was hot, and I didn’t manage to get any decent photos in there as my camera remained steamed up the entire time – I gave up wearing my glasses!  The cool room was amazing though, and we really didn’t want to go back out into the humidity! The Mediterranean Biome was much more pleasant, and really made me miss summer.   I loved all of the little eco-systems under the domes, and found it such a fun place to be – I really didn’t think I would like them as much as I did

We got lunch from the Eden Kitchen and sat outside – I had a really delicious coq au vin and Husband had steak and ale pie.  So yummy.  We had a quick wander around The Core before buying bamboo socks and popcorn in the shop (although I could have bought a lot more) and got back to our car for our next stop.  A stop I will regret forever.

When I was eight, I went on holiday with my grandparents and great-aunt to Cornwall.  I remember quite a lot of that trip, and in particular, I remember visiting a shop called Trago Mills and getting a teddy and some roller skates.  It has lived on in my memory as an amazing place, so I thought it might be fun to revisit that store.  This is despite my Mum saying to me a couple of days previously “don’t go there, it’s a hellhole”.

Well, it was a hellhole.  Unfortunately, eight year old me wasn’t particularly political minded so didn’t realise that it was run by a right-wing nutcase.  I had repressed how awful the shop is, with anti-EU signs and statues outside.  No, really.  We would have walked straight out again, but we got lost.  I was quite terrified that we would end up having to live there.  Fortunately, we found the exit and ran to our car, not looking back once.  NEVER AGAIN.

We quickly popped into a normal supermarket (for some sanity) before getting back to the cottage.  Snuggling up together again in front of the laptop, we watched a film before going to bed.

*Thank you for asking:

1 – Jacuzzi bath at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas
2 – Japanese soaking tub at Cosmopolitan Las Vegas
3 – Half-soaking/half-regular at Samoset, Rockport, Maine
4 – The basement bath tub at Castle of Park
5 – The insanely deep bath at the Manhattan/Central Park Courtyard Marriott, New York

Honourable mention goes to the bath at my in-law’s house.

Every Day Should be a Holiday

Summerleaze huts

Summerleaze beach huts

Last week was our mini-break/week holiday combo to Cornwall, which sounds a bit odd but it’s the best way to describe our holiday of two parts.  The mini-break part was a weekend in a sleepy Bude cul-de-sac with my parents – they had rented a tardis-like bungalow with four bedrooms, three bathrooms and a cozy living room, so invited us to stay with them.  We drove down late on the Saturday and forced them to watch Strictly whilst breaking the reclining sofas (which I found hilarious).   Mum and I took a walk to the nearest Sainsbury’s and got soaked on the way back, whilst Husband and Dad fought with the Sky Go app to watch the Formula 1 qualifying.  No one can tell us we don’t know how to party.

Sunday

Appledore

Appledore

We drove into Appledore with a van full of doggies and after settling my Dad and the dogs in a pub (with a coffee), we wandered briefly around the town, before returning to the Seagate pub for the most amazing fish and chips I have ever had in my life.  I’m giving serious consideration to driving down there every week for that same meal.  After this, we drove back down the little villages to Bude, stopping at the epically named Atlantic Village on the way (it was not epic).  They do have a Costa though, so it wasn’t all bad.  The evening was spent begging my Mother not to watch ITV3 and reading my Lena Dunham book.

Monday

Summerleaze

Summerleaze Beach

Dad felt like a lazy day after all of his driving, so Mum, Husband, and I took a walk into Bude which was about a mile down the road.  We sauntered down Belle Vue looking in all the shops which I bet are packed with people in summer.  We stopped for a coffee in a lovely coffee shop and chatted – we could have stayed there all afternoon, but my Mother was on a mission to add to her RNLI bear collection (don’t ask) so off to Summerleaze Beach we went.  It was practically empty, but it was such a beautiful fresh day.  Eventually, Mum realised she’d have to get back to Dad, and Husband and I would need to get going on to the next part of our holiday, so we made our way back to their bungalow.