Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Summer snippets

Greetings! Gosh, it's been a while since I last posted; these summer days just seem to run away with me. I hope those of you in the UK have been enjoying our mini heatwave. Our hose has been put to good use and I had to go up into the loft to find our fan - sadly, I haven't got a photo of Hamish sitting in front of it with his fur ruffling in the breeze! So far though, it does seem a bit cooler today.
We're going to be packing soon (have I told you how much I detest packing? Sometimes I think I'd rather not go than have to pack!) to go off on our little adventure. J&B are at the ready for Hamish, chicken and house sitting, so I thought I'd just clear my camera in preparation. 
Here are a few photos of our last couple of weeks:
Enjoying my sweet peas:
 We have a new chili plant with very vertical fruits:
 Making lavender shortbread:

 Accidentally snipping a poppy whilst weeding the veggies:
 E and Hamish sharing a Wimbledon moment - he's currently moulting; just look at the fur on E's jeans!
 Hamish sunbathing:
 Anniversary flowers - or should I say the emergency 'Oh no, I've forgotten our anniversary for the second year running, I'd better order some on the internet for same day delivery'  flowers!
 Enjoying my colourful washing:
 Our new veggie stockade to keep out the deer:
 'Mad Henry' - E and I bought this as a souvenir of our trip to Devon. The guesthouse doubled as a vintage tea room (Mad Henry's Tea Room) and they also sold garden ornaments made locally. He's a bit tacky but I love him for reminding me of a fabulous few days. He now lurks at the base of a tree in the back garden and R complains that he scowls at him - an extra benefit!
 Hamish isn't the only one moulting!
 Our summer manifesto included 'going out for breakfast'.  Initially we ordered crepes but the poor lad running the kitchen kept burning them; I have a feeling that it may have been his first day. In desperation, he offered us waffles instead - they were enormous and we didn't want anything else until supper!

 My single sunflower - the slugs saw to all the rest:
 The veggie stockade is working:
 We chose the hottest day so far to go fruit picking - it was punishing out in those fields!

It was too hot for jam making and a lack of freezer space meant that we limited ourselves:
 Finally, a joint jigsaw - actually I have enormous difficulty with shapes and only managed 12 pieces. L did all the rest!

Well, that's all for this week. I shall be absent from Blogland for a few weeks, so please excuse the lack of comments, but I look forward to having a huge catch up session on our return. Enjoy the sunshine while it lasts.
Toodle pip for now. x

Monday, 4 July 2016


Hello there. E and I have just returned from a post A2 treat in 'sunny' Devon. We were only there for 4 days, and 4 rainy days at that, but we had a brilliant time. I do love spending time alone with E; she is such lovely company and very funny. It was also made extra special by the fact that if she gets her grades (and it's a big if!), she will be off to uni in September and life will never be the same again.
We stayed in Riverside Cottage Guesthouse, just outside Bideford on the North Devon coast and I can't recommend it highly enough. Donna and Simon were fantastic hosts, the place was spotless and the breakfasts amazing. I usually only have a breakfast smoothie at home, so took it easy with cereal, toast and fruit but E went for the full veggie English and can heartily recommend it. The gardens are beautifully kept and the chickens, ducklings, goats and miniature Mediterranean donkey (Toyster) were adorable.
Here are a few photos:
Our room:
 Views from our room:
 The one overlooking the estuary:

The dining room:
 Some of the animals:

The guesthouse was on the Tarka Trail, a series of footpaths and cycle routes in North Devon that follow the route taken by the fictional Tarka the otter in the book of the same name. It was lovely to walk and cycle along - relatively flat and no traffic other than the odd cyclist and dog walker. On our first evening, we used the trail to walk into Bideford for a potter round and supper by the quay.
Wednesday found us in nearby Barnstaple where we sheltered from the rain in the cinema (Independence Day 2!) and had an incredible Caribbean meal: vegetable rundown with rice and peas, callalloo, corn dumplings and Ital carrot juice. It was delicious and incredibly cheap. E and I tried to recreate the rundown for dinner yesterday - it wasn't bad but not up to Monty's standards! Sorry about the photos - we had tucked in before I remembered my camera!

On Thursday, we packed a picnic, hired bikes and cycled along the Tarka Trail from Barnstaple to Crow Point. The weather wasn't brilliant but the rain was quite refreshing and we didn't get too wet. All the bikes had name labels - E's was Cleo and I rode on Margaret!

 E kept stopping to rescue caterpillars from the path:
We picnicked on the beach, which was where I remembered that I had forgotten to buy a parking ticket! Luckily when we got back we didn't have a fine. 
On returning to the guesthouse, we caught our breath in the summer house. The guesthouse also doubles as a vintage tea room and the cakes were yummy. Games were played, E read her book and I cast on my second Owl sock.

In the evening we joined the locals for a pub quiz. We didn't cover ourselves in glory but our team 'Just 2 Tourists' had great fun. The evening ended with me having to give E a piggy back to the car as her legs had stiffened horribly with the unaccustomed exercise - that's what months of A level revision does for you!

Friday saw us donning damp wet suits and spending half a day learning to surf at Westward Ho!
Neither of us had ever tried it before - body boarding yes, but not actual try to stand up surfing. It was windy, cold and rainy and phrases such as  'I'm too old for this' and 'I want to go home' may have been uttered as we staggered over the stony hill to get to the beach, carrying 2 surfboards. After a 20 minute talk we walked bravely into the cold English sea. It was raining but we were wet already, so it didn't matter. The hail was a bit more of a challenge as it bounced off the water and the boards into our faces but, despite all this, we had a brilliant time. E was a complete natural and was standing up in no time, looking as graceful as anything. I managed to stand up once and was so surprised that I forgot what I was supposed to be doing with my limbs and immediately fell off again. It was such fun and we felt amazing as we got changed in the heated changing rooms (ie. shed with closing door!) and headed to the cafe for a hot chocolate.
We treated ourselves to some well earned chips and then went for a walk along the beach.
I do love a nice beach hut and these were 2 of my favourites, although 'Jabba the Hut' won hands down on the name front.
 Finally, we shared a cream tea overlooking the sea before setting off for home.
Note we ate it the local way with cream first!
All in all, 2 had a fine time in beautiful Devon and I shall think of our holiday and that lovely summer house every time I wear my Owl socks!
Well done if you made it to the end of a rather photo heavy post. I'm just off to catch up with what you have all been up to whilst we've been away.

 Toodle Pip for now. x