Devon

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.

View from Otter Falls into the countryside of Honiton.

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!

Sidmouth

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.

Church in Ottery St. Mary

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!

Lunch!

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!

Branscombe Village sheep!

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!

Cream Tea - a Devon must have!

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.

Parliament Street - believed to be the narrowest street in the world @ 25"

Exeter

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…

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Posted in England, Pubs | 2 Comments

The Fall

I know some of you might have expected to be reading how different British leave colors are here or how exciting all the autumnal festivals are shaping out to be.  Don’t be deceived…this post has nothing to do with the season.

No such luck.

I went for a short run this morning before going to the pub to watch the England vs. Argentina rugby game.  Yes, I could have run later in the day but who knows how many pints I will be putting down this morning and while I’d love to believe my dedication is unbreakable, I know I would not be up for a run later today.

So, I headed out at about 6:15am to a beautiful and peaceful morning.  No cars, fewer people and it wasn’t even cold out.  A little humid actually and I had to run back home to take off the long sleeve shirt I had put on initially anticipating it to be very chilly.  I even considered a hat for a few minutes during my lie-in in bed contemplating getting up.

Off I went thinking about setting my stride and keeping a quicker pace than usual but keeping my form.  Lately, I have been trying to focus on posture and getting my knees higher while looking straight ahead rather than at the ground (which I usually do).  I have found this to automatically help keep my back a bit straighter and feeling a bit stronger in my pace.

There I was, focusing on my posture and pace, singing a bit to the music, when down I go!  Yep, tripped up on a bit of raised pavement.  While I used my hands to stop the fall, I actually ended up falling forward with some momentum (must have been that oh so quick pace I had) so my left arm went forward and down followed by my left hip and both hands which ended up being my forearms.  My legs actually caught some air from the momentum before flopping back down on the pavement in a heap.  I, with a little grin, assessed the damage but all I had was a bit of pavement burn on my left leg just below my knee.  No blood.  There probably won’t even be a scar from this one.  Bummer.

I finished the run, albeit a bit slower than I had originally anticipated.  I kept the smile hoping no one had seen me.  Most English people are very polite and if someone did see, they probably would have come over or said something to me asking if I was ok leading to my subsequent mortification and embarrassment.  I thought for sure someone would have shouted from their window from the house I fell in front of.  It seemed really loud to me.  Fortunately, I was saved by the solitude of the morning.

Scars make me feel hardcore but falling and having it documented by other people just makes me remember what an absolute klutz I am.  I’m the girl who fell down the stairs at her boyfriend’s (now husband) parent’s house.  I’m the girl who nearly fell off the sea wall to a 50 foot drop…with the same parents mentioned above.  I’m the girl that forgot her black lacy underwear at her boyfriend’s friend’s house…in his daughter’s bedroom (where I had changed my clothes that morning)!  All during the same trip out here for a visit from the states.  I’ve only fallen once down the stairs at home so far but have had about three near misses as well.

Hoping it’s the last of my running falls, but not keeping my fingers crossed too long, I’ll probably fall down the stairs again if I tried doing that.

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