Wow, it’s been too long since I wrote.
Well, this week provided the perfect fodder…a trip to Devon.
Our destination was Otter Falls in Honiton, a self-catering establishment we stayed at with my husband’s friends who came down from Scotland for a week holiday. I have travelled to the area last year when we went to Plymouth for Thanksgiving. On the way we stopped in Dawlish and Dawlish Warren where my husband’s family frequently went on holiday when he was a kid. I LOVE this part of the country so was very excited and looking forward to the relaxing pace I always find when I am here.
We arrived in Honiton mid-day and met up with a few others for lunch, not before ducking into a local kitchen store to get some egg cups (finally) and a gift for another friend. I was also invited to join a chef masterclass – their last one was a tapas class, yum!
After lunch at The Boston Tea Party in Honiton, we headed to Sidmouth for a short stroll along the waterfront. Something I really cherish about the English countryside is the quintessential picturesqueness of just about every town, on the seaside or inland. A very tourist comment I’m sure; good thing I am one!
The following day we were bound for Branscombe with a quick village tour through Ottery St. Mary while we waited for the youngest of our pack to wake.
Once we were on our way, we flew through the English countryside’s winding just-enough-room-for-one-car lanes to our lunch destination, The Masons Arms. Delish ploughman’s with smoked salmon and a pint of Tribute Ale (lite, crisp and refreshing). As a vegetarian (who eats fish) I have been consistently impressed with the variety of quality vegetarian options at pubs. I never really looked as if my meal depends on it and now that it does, I am even more convinced my decision was a good one and will be easy enough to follow through with while in England. Yeah!
After lunch it was on to the beach a short walk away alongside some sheep pastures. The weather could not have been better and the 2 1/2 year old amongst us would agree the mud was not too bad; which made the running perfect and parents happy!
Once we got back, we were off to Exeter for a cream tea (scones, clotted cream, jam and tea) before taking in a short tour of the town. Exeter did surprise me a bit. I am used to the blending of old and new but Exeter seemed to be separated with a line. One minute we are enjoying the old-town style of the town square and down an alley and around the corner was the 21st century in all it’s store-front glory. Not that it’s a bad thing, just not the “blending” of time periods I expected. One triumph of the new century shopping was finding Munchy Seeds…yum!
The day threatened rain and sprinkled a bit while we were starting our walk through Exeter, but it never got that bad. The real clouds started to roll in around 5 or so and were getting that black tinge to them. But, if you looked behind you, the sky was nothing but blue. Typical and I love it.
To cap the day off, a few of us ended up at Upottery near Honiton and watched the England v. Ireland rugby game. This was about the time I realized it was St. Patrick’s Day. It was a snoozer compared to some other St. Patty’s Days I’ve had before, but what a great day it was! No, I did not have Guinness. I had a bitter of which the name is completely alluding me now. It was good though. A lighter bitter than I am used to having but definitely a good one. England won the game and it was quite funny to know they were playing at the stadium where we live. What a loud night we must have missed (:-))
Our day ended with a bountiful home-cooked curry courtesy of Claire. Oh so yummy!
Our last full day in Devon was a bit more relaxed. The party had whittled down a bit so in our search for a toddler/adult-friendly outing, we discovered Devon is closed on Sunday until April. Annoying. We had a lovely tour of the country though courtesy of a phone map app. We ditched the day around 4 or so and decided to cook a roast dinner in honour of the one mother we had amongst us – I forgot it was Mother’s Day as well. That is a bit more excusable though as the US Mother’s Day is in May.
Other than the pouring rain we had on the way back to Otter Falls, the weekend was a weather champion! The roast dinner turned out fab (apart from the roasties as they just didn’t brown enough) and we were off back to London on Monday so we could hit Shepard’s Bush Empire to see The Civil Wars that evening.
Thank you for a great weekend Devon, Pete, et al. A much needed mini-break; even though I missed out on the Donkey Sanctuary. Next time…