Tea and cake at Arlington Court……

I think it pretty much rained throughout the night, but by 7 this morning, at last it had stopped! Though not promising to be a fab day, it at least stayed dry for us to enjoy a day out courtesy of our National Trust membership at Arlington Court.

Though not the most architecturally beautiful of buildings, the grounds were pretty impressive and extensive (some 2700 acres with 20 miles of footpath) and incredibly peaceful, most of the time just the twittering of the birds and occasionally the gurgle of running water for company – just how we like it. We happily wandered around the wooded footpaths, which surprisingly weren’t that muddy, barely seeing another soul.

I loved the monkey puzzle tree avenue, leading down to the old lake.

From there we followed the trail through Deer Park Wood, but alas didn’t see any deer – probably heard us coming! Though we happened upon this random obelisk on our travels.

As the circular route came to an end, we ventured in to the old stable block, which now houses the Carriage Museum, with some 40 carriages on display.

My personal favourite was the little carriage, designed to be pulled by a Newfoundland dog – Poppydog was not keen on the dog and gave it a seriously wide berth!

We continued past the estate church of St James and round the formal Victorian gardens, though it is too early in the year to fully appreciate these.

Back to the Old Kitchen Tearoom for a lovely slice of Victoria sponge and a pot of tea – perfect!

A very enjoyable day. In another few weeks time, the grounds will be covered in bluebells and many of the rhododendrons in full bloom – so well worth a visit then.

Two thoughts of the day:

National Trust membership is well worth the spend – I think I have already covered the annual subscription in car parking alone!

You could spend a small fortune in the NT shops very easily, I saw a beautiful cushion which would go perfectly in the van, though I would need a matching pair of course – but at £35 a pop – I gave it a miss!


Croyde Sand in the rain….

What a horrible day – it rained, mostly to hard to be referred to as mizzle, all day! We toyed with the idea of just wandering around the site, but then I figured we were going to get wet anyway, so we might as well make it count. So off we went to explore Croyde Sand.

Nowhere near on the scale of Saunton Sands but still a nice sandy cove backed with marram grass covered dunes. It is a very popular surf beach but today there were just 2 hardy soles braving what in my inexpert view appeared to be very ‘messy’ surf. Still quite a few people walking along the beach in the rain – I guess the same as me having gone stir crazy being inside all day!

Poppydog enjoyed her run about – funnily enough totally missed a rabbit running along the beach and disappearing into the dunes – too focused on our game!

An area of the dunes is being restored after damage sustained during the storms during January and February 2014 and they are using recycled Christmas trees to protect the new planting – what a fab bit of recycling?

We will be back on a nicer day, but for now, time to go home and dry out!

Two thoughts of the day:

When is this rain going to stop?

I think I fancy fish and chips one of these evenings – it has been a while.

Today we travelled home to Cornwall for Christmas……

I can’t believe how quickly the time has flown, but we have certainly had an adventure! We are home now to spend Christmas with family and friends – it is going to be extra special this year as we are all leading very different new lives, so will have so much to talk about.

Home is on the Lizard, in Cornwall – a very beautiful part of the country – though I will not be posting everyday, I will take the opportunity of sharing this very unique part of the world with you.

After Christmas, whilst still based at home, we will take the opportunity to revisit and visit the coastline around, before heading back up to Bude to continue our journey.

In the meantime some highlights:

Our favourite beach so far – Watergate Bay

The best site for awesome views – Trewethett Farm, Tintagel:

Favourite Autumn colours – Powderham Castle and Cofton Woodland Walk:

Favourite Poppydog moments:

And of course when Poppydog gives us a scare:

When Birdie met Peggy:

And from sunrise

To sunset

We are having a ball and certainly ‘living the dream’

Time to move in and enjoy our new home…..

I am really quite pleased that we have the time to adjust to our new home before moving on – in my experience it always takes a little while to find new and logical homes for everything. I am also trying to make sure that it will take the minimum amount of time to get us ready for the road and that I have managed the spread of weight correctly to facilitate towing. Gosh I haven’t had to use my grey matter much over these last few months!

Anyhow, this is the view to the front of the caravan, with the fab picture window in the middle, which so drew me to this particular make.

Both sofas are 6ft in length so make adequate twin beds or a huge double- you can’t see in this picture but there is a pull out table on top of the drawers, which serves perfectly as an occasional or table for two, instead of getting out the full dining table if we are entertaining!

This is the kitchen area, with sink, hob, grill, oven, microwave and tall slimline fridge freezer- not a great amount of prep space (but not a great amount required for stuff that goes ping!), however there is quite a lot of space on the cupboard opposite as you can see in the next photo.

Lastly is the washroom, with separate shower, sink, toilet and lots of wardrobe space.

All in all – I’m sure you will agree a tidy little home for a solo traveller and her four legged companion!

Two thoughts of the day:

If you had a house this size (basically the size of an average garage I guess) you would imagine it to be impossible to live in – put it on wheels and it really is incredibly comfy and spacious!

This wind and rain is a bit annoying – have to keep on turning up the telly!

The new dream team…..

Poppydog continues to do well, but the vet decided to leave removal of the staples until Friday – so we are staying put until Saturday. She is still on a very strict minimal exercise regime – so on the sunny side this gives us plenty of time to enjoy, understand and make our own, our new dream team….

Peggy is incredibly comfy, well designed and well insulated. Our first night in her, Saturday, was really windy with gusts up to 64mph (according to BBC weather) and I must confess to have been rather anxious at 5.30am when the wind woke us! I was worried that we might take off and fall off our chocs (wooden blocks- placed under the front steadies to counteract the slope) – but in true British style I just cocooned myself in the duvet on the basis that this would cushion any fall and save me from harm! And so I stayed until Poppydog insisted on going out at about 8am. Throughout this and the last couple of days which have been extremely cold, Peggy has remained warm and toasty, which is brilliant, especially as I had started to feel the cold in the evenings in Birdie, not a lot but enough to get out a fleecy throw whilst watching TV or reading.

There is also a lot more storage space in the Caravan so I even have a few empty cupboards! (That won’t last) and making up the bed, which is the only thing that I was uncertain of (Birdie had a made up drop down bed), takes no time at all – remove the back cushions, turn over the main seat cushion (which has a separate mattress insert, that I leave with a sheet on) and add duvet and pillow from cupboard and we’re done!

The new car, arrived as planned on Monday morning, delivered by Ben, the salesman from County Motors, who happily spent a good half hour or so, showing me how it all worked – so many gadgets and ways to do everything – love it!My favourite feature so far is that you don’t even need to get the key out of your pocket to unlock, lock or start the car! It is also a beautiful drive and so handy to be able to pop to the shops! Oh the freedom!!!!

Two thoughts of the day:

Let the adventure recommence!

Ilfracombe is a bit run down!

And so we have moved to the ‘other’ side….

Poppydog is improving everyday – given half the chance she would have been off without a backward glance today and I think she is putting weight on which is great.

Well this morning we said hello to ‘Peggy’ our new home – yes a deal was finally done.

After much thought we decided that as for 5 months of the year, many of the sites are closed and it is impossible for us to complete our mission to visit as much of the coastline (and many inland areas) as possible in Birdie – we have traded her in against a Bailey Pegasus GT70 caravan and a car (Mazda 3 – arriving Monday). The idea being that we can set up on a site and stay there for a couple of weeks, whilst we explore the surrounding area, both on foot and by using the car to reach a wider area. It also simplifies the process of shopping (unfortunately one of life’s necessities) and running small errands, such as visit the vet etc. (again a necessity every now and then).

So after a very thorough hand over by Giles at Stowford Farm Meadows this morning – we moved over this afternoon- Poppydog was a bit confused to start with but has settled quite happily. We have quite a lot more space and it is so so comfortable and cosy- very happy so far!

It has a motormover (enabling you – well me actually to manoeuvre the caravan by remote control) fitted which is great fun – we performed a scene from Swanlake – beautiful! All we have to do now is tow it!

We shall be on the move on Tuesday as the car gets delivered on Monday and Poppydog is due to be signed off by the vet then as well- so watch this space!

Two thoughts of the day:

We were comfy in Birdie but this is positively luxurious!

Millions of people tow caravans, most of them much bigger than ‘Peggy’, so how hard can it be?..,..

And today the sun came back….

Hooray! Still a bit chilly out there but in the shelter of Birdie I was able to enjoy a sit and cup of tea in the sun outside after Poppydog’s morning walk- so not bad at all.

It’s funny but yesterday I was amazed by the dramatic clouds but didn’t think to take any photos – some were so dark grey with a sort of yellowish tinge which you know from experience usually brings heavy rain – nature is so clever – I often feel that even if you could paint exactly what you saw to the casual observer it would often look over bright with the strength of colour being overplayed but that so isn’t the case – the natural colours we see all around us are often very vibrant.

So today I have been cloud watching and just how beautiful are they?

Also in the sky – two large low flying aircraft were flying around – seeming to fly up the valley below the site and then off in the direction of Exmoor – we saw them quite a few times but I cannot find out on google what type of planes they were – with my limited knowledge they were like the Lancaster but I would say not as quite as big or noisy – will let you know if I do find out.

Two thoughts of the day:

We might be a bit stuck out here with nowhere in reasonable or safe walking but we are not even slightly bored – quite happy to take a week out of exploring!

What were those planes?