Just one more day now lies ahead of me on my North Devon holiday. Tomorrow I go home. And once home, and with all the photos processed, a series of posts to be written on where I went and what I got up to! The stuff published in the last few days has deliberately stayed away from What Lucy Did while in North Devon, mainly because I can't do holiday write-ups justice without photos, and it needs my home PC for that. Mind you, while away Vodafone upgraded my mobile phone contract from 3G to 4G at no charge, and even out here on the farm, the Internet is suddenly a much zippier proposition. So popping a shot or two into a post cobbled together on my phone might no longer be an impossible pain. I haven't tried, but in a location with a really strong signal - not here! - it might worth attempting. Something for the future.
Bearing in mind that I've been convalescent after a long cold (with mild food poisoning thrown in), I haven't been at all inactive. Consider this list:
Monday - Arrived at Higher Darracott Farm near Great Torrington late in the afternoon, and got comfortably set up before dusk.
Tuesday - A dash down the A39 to Padstow, and a sophisticated lunch at Rick Stein's Café; then I checked out a film being made at Prideaux Place; finally an afternoon visit to Treyarnon and Constantine Bays.
Wednesday - Feeling rather tired, and with the weather very wet, I stayed warm and snug and cosy in my caravan all day.
Thursday - Dartmoor Day. First, Castle Drogo, donning a hard hat and hi-vis jacket, and buying a green scarf and a mouse called Squeak for souvenirs; then a misty and moody visit to Kitty Jay's Grave; Widecombe in the Moor (no grey mares); and to follow, Soussons Stone Circle in the enveloping mysterious fog at dusk.
Friday - A dash down the A386 via Tavistock, and then a train ride into Plymouth using the Tamar Valley Line from Bere Ferrers. Lunch at The Mission Bistro in Plymouth, with a quick exploration of The Barbican, before taking the train back to Bere Ferrers via Gunnislake (and therefore enjoying a double-dose of the thrillingly high railway bridge over the river)
Saturday - Another dash down the A39, this time to Bude; but first buying a multicoloured, handknitted, fleece-lined, bottom-covering, 'patchwork' hooded jacket made in Nepal from a shop in Bideford. At Bude, finding some back copies of MAD magazine in a secondhand bookshop; and the purchase of a skirt, a flannelette sheet, a colourful Spanish tapas jug - and tea and cake - all at Wroes department store. Throughout wearing my new, warm, multicoloured handknitted Nepalise jacket - which two other ladies drooled over, one of them a keen home knitter.
Sunday, today - it's going to be dull and damp, but the shops of Barnstaple beckon. In the afternoon, tea with farmer's wife Ann.
I think you'll grant, especially if you know the distances of Padstow, Dartmoor and Plymouth from Great Torrington, that I have whizzed around quite a bit for a barely-recovered corpse! Fiona has been in her element on the A roads of Devon and North Cornwall - you really do need a powerful, fast-accelerating, all wheel drive car to keep up a decent pace, and safely overtake the slower drivers. They know they are fuddy-duddy slowcoaches. One Honda driver actually faced the facts, and pulled in and stopped to let Fiona pass. I love the A39: glorious lengths of wide open, chocks away, flaps up, full-throttle highway, vastly enjoyable bends, a fantastically quick way to buzz urgently from Bideford to Bude and then south to Camelford and beyond. The A386 to Plymouth is more of a challenge, being much more twisty, with plenty of say-your-prayers corners, but even so Fiona easily kept ahead of the pack, and some brand-new BMWs and Audis had to concede defeat in the face of her take-no-prisoners Swedish onslaught. I fancy that the CUR in Fiona's registration SC10 CUR told them that my car was berserk with open-road madness, and not to be messed with. Mighty blows were struck for Volvo. Vroom! Vroom! Vroom! (All the time, I'm just the passive passenger of course)
In the photography department, the nondescript weather has been against me - only Tuesday in Padstow was notably sunny. But I've still taken some five hundred shots, and it won't be hard to illustrate my doings. Plenty of selfies, of course, to prove I was there, and to reveal the pallour of illness gradually being replaced by the pink cheeks of rude health.
I thought about looking up my Appledore friends, but decided not to. Partly because I wanted to do as much as possible in my short week away, and not arrange social meetups that would inhibit my constant spur-of-the-moment impulses to do this or that. But mainly because I didn't feel at my best. My friends would have to give up their time for me, and it wasn't a fair deal unless I was truly my usual self.
Sigh. It's now raining gently. Never mind. It won't prevent me mooching around Barnstaple. Shall I have lunch there? Or shall I eat something yummy in the caravan before I venture out? Decisions, decisions...