Friday, 5 August 2011

North Devon holiday, day 2

Well, yesterday (Thursday) Fiona needed a new tyre. It cost me almost £170, but that's the going rate for big low-profile Pirelli Pzero Rosso 235/60 R18 tyres in North Devon. At least it was cheaper than getting the same new tyre fitted back home in Sussex. It was all handled efficiently. And to kill time, a nice man called Chris drove me into town, and then picked me up later, once the tyre (not in stock locally) had arrived and been fitted. So I had another quick mooch around Barnstaple, successfully finding nice birthday cards for both M--- and my step-daughter A---. The whole thing was as painless and effortless as it could be, and I could hardly claim that fixing the damaged tyre had spoilt my holiday. I suppose those wide new tyres, with their deep treads, are vulnerable to picking up all kinds of junk from the side of the road. I'll just have to be more circumspect about driving off the highway.

For the first two nights I had cooked in the caravan, but yesterday evening I treated myself to a meal out. I was driving back along the B3227 from Umberleigh, and on impulse tried The Cranford Inn, about a mile east of High Bullen, and close to St Giles in the Wood. This was no ordinary pub. It had the air of a select old country hotel, where people who like to eat well gather. And gather they did. Although I arrived at just before six, and was one of the very first arrivals, it soon filled up. The two girls behind the bar were very welcoming and gave me good service. I had a smoked trout salad as a starter, duck breast and vegetables as my main course, and rice pudding for dessert, washed down with a large glass of merlot. As I'd had no lunch, this was all very necessary nutrition. It was also delicious: I'll be eating there again. Funny that the place wasn't in my Good Pub Guide, nor my Michelin. Perhaps I'll tell them about it.

Back at the farm, the five children of my fellow caravanners helped me with both farm gates, which was sweet of them. I was surprised that the oldest girl could manage the heavy chain that secured the outer gate to its post. But she did, and I gave her particular thanks. Presumably I am a bit of a puzzle to them (no husband with me to do the caravan chores) but the very fact that they wanted to help showed that I must give off good vibes. The boys were called Rory and Angus, and this gave rise to a hilarious mistake when I spoke to Phil the farmer and his wife Ann. Phil hoped I wasn't irritated by 'Fergus and Angus'. Not being very sharp of hearing (or just dull-witted!), I thought he meant these young boys. So I said no, they were really very nice and well-behaved, and made no noise at all. But he meant his two cockerels, who were always trying to out-crow each other! Too late I remembered the eldest girl saying that there were two Anguses on the farm. Now I realised what she was referring to. Oh well, Phil and I had a good laugh over that. Rather a cock-up, you might say.

Tomorrow (Friday) is the Private View at the Burton Art Gallery in Bideford, from 7:00pm. Maybe a posh frock and pearls? Depends on the weather!

And Saturday is looking good for fine weather. I may go to see the spectacular Blackchurch Rock that day. It's at the foot of towering cliffs west of Clovelly. You really need to go at low tide, which will be around 5:30pm. So I may be able to catch it in the golden late afternoon sunlight. And maybe fish and chips on Bideford Quay afterwards!

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