Croyde Beach

There were more of these hedge edged windy roads today as we made our way to the lovely little village of Croyde.

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Where we tasted some of the finest pasties this side of Cornwall.

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Then we hit the beach.  It was a slightly better day than our last beach jaunt – weather-wise, with slightly clearer water.  It was fairly low tide when we got there, but it was decided that we should set up camp back on the dry sand.

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and lucky we did, because within about an hour this is where the water was up to – these two photos are taken from the exact same spot.

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Tans and Nick had a proper up to their neck swim – it was too cold for me and Saskia, Robin ate his weight in sand and I found a cool pair of aviator sunglasses on the beach, that I promptly gave to Nick (the receiver of stolen found goods) because they looked ridiculous on me.

It was time to say our goodbyes to Croyde Beach, but we all swore we’d be back once we bought our holiday homes over there on the northern hill.

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Isn’t that always the way….. the person wearing the hat has the most sun damaged skin!

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This is the second option for a house if the ones on the northern hill are unavailable.

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We’re Going On A Bear Hunt….

About 1.5 miles away from our Little Comfort Farm is the town of West Down.  It’s a little bit like that town in the movie Hot Fuzz.  From the farm you can walk up through some fields and up a path to get to the town….

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So we strapped on Robin and headed over the bridge and up the hill.

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I did the first leg up the first hill and had to hand him over to his dad

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There are plenty of friendly animals along the way… like Black Beauty.

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Go Black Beauty, Go!

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and the Ram from the Ram ads.

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We made it the whole way, up and down some big hills, to the village of West Down and thought we’d have a swift pint or two before heading back….

… but it was closed.

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Here is Saskia NOT holding her pint!

So, instead we popped into the dead centre of town to look at the old gravestones

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and inside the church where we nearly those people for whom the bell tolls!

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Then it was back down the stinging nettle filled lane way

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We got back to our house a little hot and sweaty, so I went straight down to the stream and popped my feet into the freezing water.

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Robin also wanted to try his feet in the water

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but it was so cold that we were able to chill our beers in there quicker than putting them in the freezer…. thanks Bear Grylls – I’m sure I saw this on an episode of his show.

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Cups of tea in the sun were enjoyed whilst we waited for the beers to be chilled.

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Which took longer than we wanted, so Nick checked the temperature again…

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and then recovered with a warm cup of tea in the sun…

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Then finally, the beers were cool enough to drink.  They weren’t bitterly, but they had to do.

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Cheers!  I’m smiling, but I can’t feel my feet from the knee down!

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The Devon Seaside

In order to extend my time with the lovely peeps, we met down at Saunton Beach in for some surfing, sitting on sand and general English seaside action.  See our wind break?  Some people pitched their camp to the immediate left of that – with no space in-between! None!

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Most people were in wetsuits, or jeans….. some braved the icy water in just their togs.

The people were flocking into the water with surfboards, boogie boards, wake boards – whatever you could float on.  There were so many people in the water that my mate, Matt’s mate, Adam came in with a broken board saying that he’d just hit somebody!

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Kat & Shaun’s lovely daughter Bella was making sand shoes for us….. I clearly only needed one shoe!

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Whereas Trish got two feet – well deserved.

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Robin was beside himself in the water.  He was jumping over waves and having a marvellous time.

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By the end of the day pretty much everybody had specially made sand shoes made for them.  Bella had recruited a couple of apprentices in Amelia and Peter.

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So – I didn’t swim in the sea…. a stormy looking cloud eventually came over the sky and we packed up and left the beach.  I was  appreciative of the extra time we had with this crew – still not enough though.

xxx

Yes, I Would Like Clotted Cream With That!

When I started organising my time in London, it was decided that we  (Tanya, Nick, Baby Robin, Saskia and I) could spend a week in North Devon…

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… specifically the little seaside town of Ilfracombe.

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Low Tide!

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Your typical English seaside town high street

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It is also home to Damien Hirst’s sculpture – “Verity”

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And lovely cliffy oastline

There are some lovely sandy beaches over that way, plus my dear friend, Matt lives near there, plus Tanya & Nick (and me) have friends, Andy & Keeley, who have a cafe in Ilfracombe called “Love From Marjorie” that we wanted to visit.

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So named for their love of cheese!

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The lovely Keeley – owner, chef, barista at Love From Marjorie and devoted wife of Andy

As luck would have it – the UK was having a bank holiday weekend during our week which meant that every man, woman and child, plus their dog was heading to North Devon.  We met up with most of them on the M5.

We left London the day before and made a much needed drop in to our lovely friends, Kat and Shaun and their 3 gorgeous daughters who live about half way to Devon.

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Also, just by coincidence, some more friends. JP & Lindsay and their two munchkins, who live in Dubai were not only in the country, but in the neighbourhood and dropped in whilst we were there.

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Kat & Shaun were amazing hosts, as usual, and not only put us up for the night, but fed us amazing food and drank us some lovely beverages – non stop – or until it was realised that there are now small babies amongst us who wake way earlier than I’ve ever been up!

Tans booked us into a gorgeous farm stay called The Little Comfort Farm.

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Our cottage – one of about 6 on the property.

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Very country!

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Each cottage has its own garden area, but you are encouraged to utilise the whole farm.

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There’s awesome bugs and spiders everywhere 

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especially daddy long legs which I’ve been told is highly poisonours, but has no teeth to bit you with.

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Roger, the farmer does tractor rides every morning where you can go and feed the animals.  This happens at 9am, so I’m yet to see it – but the others have told me it’s a great experience.

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Even the recycling shed is beautiful

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They offer a whole range of free things – like wellies!  Be sure to wear your own socks though, ’cause ew.

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There was great debate about this sheep and whether or not these were udders…..

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This is the side view of the same sheep, which had the head of a cow!  Perhaps an unholy union in the top field?

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The property has a stream and a pond where you can go fishing.

As I’ve mentioned before, when I lived in London, I met some beautiful people who really became my family away from my own family and this weekend, we all came together again.

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Most of us quite a few years back – there’s been three additions to this group since this photo!

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Matt, now lives back in his home town in Devon in an awesome place that he is helping to renovate with a huge garden, big enough for everybody to camp in tents and have a mile long slip and slide!

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Kat & Shaun and the girls, who had fed us bacon and pancakes in the morning, then packed their car with camping essentials adn battled the M5 to get down there.

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Kevin & Kate and their offspring drove across from Salisbury and Trish caught the train down from London.  There was a BBQ, cider, music and a bit of dancing – just like old times.  I love it when a plan comes together.

Oh how I miss these peeps.

xxx

 

When My Baby Smiles at me I go to Rio

My friend Stacey lives in Geraldton, the town that I grew up in and she is currently on a round the world – “Trip of Lifetime” that has taken in quite a few US states and being a volunteer at the Rio Olympics!

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Not only did she mingle with some of her all time sporting heroes – basketball being her sport of choice, but she also got to hold the Australian flag at one of the games.

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Dreams coming true – that’s what it’s all about – like meeting Andrew Gaze (Australian all time basketballing legend)

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There was one day that I could catch up with Stacey in London – the day she flew in from Rio – so jet lag begone and I made my way into the city to meet her for some dinner and Olympic stories….

I went past the usual haunts to get to her hotel…

London Eye

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Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament – double decker London bus for good measure

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Westminster Abbey

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Then I sat in Green Park, like a local Londoner in the 30 degree heat wave and waited to hear if she had gotten off the plane yet.

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Then catch up we did….. Not nearly enough time for all the stories though.

Well done to you Stace – living the dream!

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London’s Burning!

In London, the average high temperature during summer is 21℃ – but today the mercury hit 33℃.

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33℃!

This is not an acceptable temperature when you are not near water.  Some people got straight out into the sun to soak it up; some will have flocked down to the likes of Brighton (see below) for a quiet swim and a tranquil lay on the soft sand hard pebbles, I decided to head to the Westfield Shopping Centre in Stratford (next to the Olympic Park – memories!) to do a spot of shopping and stay cool in the air conditioning.

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The plan started out well and I scoped the directory for what sort of shops I was going to be welcomed with – and I looked into nearly every one of them.  I obviously left alone the men’s and children’s wear;

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I also don’t like to buy shoes or bags or jewellery and have no need for homewares or manchester while I’m over here, which narrowed my shopping itinerary down quite a bit, leaving me with ladies clothes , a games shop (I do love a jigsaw) and the Apple Store.

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This is a jigsaw – cool hey?

I ticked off the last two swiftly, but this is where the day started to ebb for me.  I’m not sure whether it is me or if fashion is just awful at the moment, but I just can’t find anything that I like.  Getting them to fit is a whole other story – but first I have to find something that I want to fit and that’s hard work.

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I think my style might be plain jane block colours, lots of black and a little bit of quirky that I purchase and then never wear.  So today was fairly fruitless when I couldn’t find anything.  It doesn’t help that it’s 33 degrees and the shops all have their winter coats out.

 A little like Broome in WA, their Target store – the only place to shop in Broome! They have winter gear in their store during the winter months which sounds reasonable – except that they don’t actually have winter months!  They need shorts and bathers all year around.  They want us all to dress like this:

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Sure, it’s a little different here in the UK, today is quite unseasonal – even in season.

One thing that does happen when the sun come out over here and that is when people just whip their gear off and sunbathe in their undergarments in the park.

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I’m not too sure how I feel about if I’m honest with you.  I get that it’s really just like have your bikini on, but somehow it’s not.  I mean, I’m all for wear what ever you want, but there’s something about it.  If it’s acceptable in the park, then why isn’t it acceptable in the office or walking down the street?  Maybe it should be – then it wouldn’t seem so odd on the odd hot day.

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There were three separate articles circulating today in London in The Daily Mail, The Sun and some other top name newspaper – all quality journalism, about whether people should just undress in public parks.  I don’t know – what are your thoughts?

I’ll tell you what I do think about this heat though – you should be able to do anything to either enjoy it or get away from it.

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So at the end of my adventure – I still have nothing to wear!

Ladies Who Lunch

Eight years ago I worked for one year at a little Catholic primary school in Rugby, Warwickshire, England.  It was a lovely little school filled with gorgeous teachers, teaching assistants and office staff and thanks to the wonder of Facebook I’ve been to keep in touch with them.  Over the years I’ve managed to pop back to Rugby a few times and all the ladies make a huge effort to come together for a lovely luncheon.

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Yesterday was one of those days.  However it was also “One of those days – *heavy sigh*”

I booked my train up to Rugby a few days ago thinking I was doing the right thing, but I had booked for a specific train time rather than just a ticket to use on any train at any time.

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I then missed my first train to get from home to Euston Train Station by about 30 seconds, then there was works on the underground causing me to have to zig zag all over London to get to Euston.  I had to pick up my ticket and naturally there were 12,000 people all lining up trying to get their tickets – selfish!

Got my ticket with about 4 minutes to spare, turned and RAN to the gate….. as I approached the platform a huge gate with “Virgin Trains – These gates close 2 minutes before the train departs” emblazoned on it and the gate closed, locking me out.  Sweating, I let go of a few choice words before heading back up to the throng of people to work out my next move.

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Was I meant to go to Rugby today?  Were there forces working against me?  What had I done to deserve this?

Cut a long story short – I got the next train and assured the ladies that I would be there a little late and all was fine, except that I only got to spend a very short amount of time there.

Here are those lovely ladies…

Liz, Pam, Pat, Kaye, Polly, Me, Pat, Jane, Marie and Karen.

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Absent: Mandy & Magda (where were you two?) Lee (who did come to lunch, but we thought of taking the photo after you’d gone), Tori (away, climbing mountains), Emily (busy with gorgeous baby) and Rebecca (lives in New Zealand!) – ladies, you were missed.

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After lunch Polly, Liz and I tried to break into the school…… just kidding Karen!  We just went and looked from the gate.  It’s possibly we did set off an alarm though – we can’t be sure.

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It was short, but sweet ladies.  Always nice to see your smiling faces.

xxx