Normally I’d write a post a day but let’s face it, the early days aren’t the exciting ones. Much better to wax lyrical over French farmhouse cheese, lazy days in the sun, English manor homes and centuries of history. So instead, here’s a precis of the early days, before we get to the good stuff.
Our flights are delightfully uneventful. We’ve had quite enough drama for the moment, thank you. We arrive to an extended UK heatwave but it’s early in the morning, and so, quite bearable as we collect the hire car and set out for Cornwall. It’s not until we hit countryside that the extent of the heatwave is visible.
One of the glories of England is its verdant, lush greenery. Our drive West though, could easily be mistaken for an Australian summer. Pastures are scorched, grasses dead. There are almost no summer wildflowers – it’s unrecognisable from the England we love, and a bit depressing in truth. Smacks of the “around Australia” trip that Chris keeps threatening me with. I’m glad this isn’t my first time seeing it.
We make it to Exeter before crashing into two tired heaps, but not before a walk into town. It’s as parched as everything else, but still such a lovely setting with structures dating back to Roman times.
Recent developments have finalised a shopping and dining precinct that wraps around the Roman city wall to great effect.
Exeter’s famed cathedral is a great spot for a relaxing drink
and there are even two squirrels frisking in the front yard of our hotel to see us off the following morning. This is more like it. When you’re from a non squirrel blessed country (and love them 🐿️💖) squirrels spotting is always a highlight.
Our arrival in Cornwall is taken up by domestics – picking up the motorhome, unpacking, marvelling over how much stuff we already had here and have therefore now duplicated. A dash into Truro to fill the fridge with summer goodness
(more on this traitorous appliance later… it’s not good), dropping off the hire car, performing miracles of storage in small spaces, wondering how people in tiny vans do it (less stuff, I suspect), wondering why I now apparently have enough hair products to run a small saloon and yet have messy hair in every photo I take… The usual travel dilemmas.
The green corridors here have been spared the heat, saved by their shade.
Whilst I search for rabbits, squirrels and bumble bees (too much Beatrix Potter as a child (*cough* adult)), Chris gives into to his immediate fish and chips craving and cons me out of a night out. Still, the trip into Truro is fun, very much a second home these days. Waterstones lightens my wallet to the tune of 4 books. We see the river on the full tide, then laid bare. The tide’s force is extraordinary.
I won’t bore you with my heroic awning cleaning of 2018, but let’s just say that mold is a bitch but I kicked her to the kerb and stood triumphant. Picture a cape flying in the breeze, if you so fancy.
Friday was heralded as “going to be the hottest day since the ’70s” and clearly it was in places, as trains stopped, the Chunnel ground to a halt and traffic jammed from one end of the UK to the other, but elsewhere storms raged, it was cold and it was lightning that took out airports and trains, some areas flooded. We got the cold version, for which I was quite grateful. 37 degrees Celsius is not my idea of a good time. I’m pretty sure I heard the ground sighing in gratitude for the rain.
Domestics dutifully complete, we set off for Stourhead on the Saturday – a much longer drive than we would usually take, which takes up most of the day. Chris figures that we need to make up some of the 2 weeks we lost.
And now to that traitorous appliance. They say into each life a little rain must fall, and my version of this is the fridge. Those of you who ride along with me will know the great fridge/gas saga of 2017. Many skilled people were not able fix it, each claiming they had, at great expense, is the short version. This saga continued while we were back in Australia, the long distance version. Made, oh such more fun, by having to pay a small ransom each time the motorhome had to be ferried to somewhere – for its service, MOT, and a couple of times to the fridge people. The new team, who swear that it had undergone days of testing and was now 100%… let’s call them lying bastards (LB) and be done with it. On Monday the LB will get the joy of an extremely sharp exchange from a dissatisfied customer. And so we are once more tied to this area until the first guy we spoke to in 2017 gets his chance to have a crack at it. If that doesn’t work, it’s a replacement. A Chanel handbag would be cheaper and it will hard for me not to resent this somewhat.
The good news is that the bumbles I was so worried about in the heat (all their flowers have been crisped) have come out in the cool. No bunnies as yet, but I live in hope.