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Adventures and Misadventures

Rellies, Road Trips and Country Rambling

UNITED KINGDOM | Saturday, 7 February 2009 | Views [886]

Walking in my Wellies

Walking in my Wellies

After a wonderful, relaxing five days in France at a friend

Bob and Penny were lovely enough to offer me a ride to Bristol 1½ hours drive away where I was to meet Spike who had just flown in from Australia. We drove through the scenic Avon Valley and past Salisbury and Bath and arrived at the Hotel Du Vin in Bristol where Spike had booked a room for our reunion. It was lovely to see him again after 11 months apart and our hotel room was absolutely beautiful with a big storm shower and right in the centre of Bristol. We headed out to meet some of Spike

The next morning Spike

We spent the next week catching up with Spike

In order to get closer to the pretty cows I purchased myself a very special pair of Wellingtons in black smartie print! Very cute and very useful although they did tend to make me hungry every time I looked at my feet. Spike and I started walking through the country. It

Back to the reason we were both actually in England

With all the pressure off after the wedding Spike and I decided to head down to Dartmouth to make the most of his parent

The next day we continued our mini-break with a drive down to Sulcombe, a holiday area, in South Devon. It has been lovely driving through the countryside as our car has been a convertible BMW Z4 which is quite nice to buzz around everywhere in. The next weekend we had a house party in Topsham (our favourite nearby village

A few days back in East Budleigh and it was time to head off again. This time we drove north to the old Roman city of Bath where we had booked a b&b for the night. Our apartment was gorgeous and very close to the centre so we wandered around the ancient city in the late afternoon before catching the new bond movie and having a drink in the pub afterwards. The next morning we explored the city some more - checking out the Bath Abbey (where there is an Australian flag flying!) and the Roman Baths district. In the afternoon we set off on our 3hr drive to Spike’s Aunty and Uncles in Bedfordshire north of London where we had a wonderful evening catching up and meeting some of the extended family. On Thursday we ended up at our final destination - Lou’s house in Folkestone on the South-East coast. Since traveling with her for a few months in February and March we had kept in constant contact and decided to plan a short trip together through central Western Europe. Spike and I enjoyed our last night together and catching up with Lou before he headed off to Brighton for the weekend and I stayed at Lou’s preparing for our departure on Saturday.

s seaside house in Brittany I flew on to Southampton in Southern England to visit some relatives. Bob and Penny my Mums cousins were waiting for me at the airport with a sign! I was shown my own room and made a very welcome guest as we chatted away catching up on family gossip. I was shown around Southampton in the afternoon which is one of Englands largest port towns and faces the Isle of Wight and the English channel. That night they took me to my first English pub “the Jolly Farmer!” A pint of ale and a yummy lamb stew with dumplings very warm, very cozy and very English. s mates at the pub (Im sensing a routine here) and we spent the next few hours mulling over mulled cider which is surprisingly addictive! In fact I trace the start of my epic love affair with scrumptious West Country Cider back to this very moment! s parents, Charlie and Di, picked us up and we went to visit Spikes sister Alix and her little brood briefly before we headed down the M5 to Exeter and our home for the next few weeks East Budleigh. The village of East Budleigh was small, very cute, quaint and old English. The home of Sir Walter Raleigh it was situated smack bang in the middle of country and coast. Spikes house was a typical 16th century thatched roof dwelling which smacked of character. How lucky am I! Did I mention the pub is 3 doors down?s friends, looking around the local area and going to support the local Rugby team on the weekends! So far I have determined English weather is cold and rather unpredictable but some mornings we would wake up to a pearler with crisp air and stunning cloudless blue skies which really set off the green of the countryside. In fact it was the picturesque countryside I couldnt get over and I think they all thought I was going a little bit barmy as I frequently stared out the window and started conversations with comments like “arent all the hedges pretty and in line” and “wow look at the cute cows...”s something I love about England you can just take the dogs and wander along through peoples properties there are designated public paths everywhere and after 20 minutes walk from Spikes place you can be wandering along the clifftops looking out at the English channel or slipping through the mud near pig farms and chasing pheasants! Spikes best mate Phil was getting married and I've failed to mention that our first week was also filled up with wedding bits and pieces like suit fittings, rehearsals and pre-wedding dinners. Phil married Tanya on a gorgeous day in mid-November in Powderham Castle. It was a great wedding and Spike whirled me around the dancefloor in his pink best man waistcoat... interesting! s boat which was moored there. Again the weather stayed clear and sunny although it was still only 12 degrees. We motored out into the channel through the heads of the Dart River which is guarded by 2 castles. In Henry the 8ths time they used to draw a chain between the two castles to stop the French from coming upriver! After a little sojourn in the English channel we headed back into the safety of the river and moored up to the Dartmouth pontoon. Dinghy in and we motored ashore and wandered around Dartmouth doing a little shopping in the boutiques and art galleries before winding up as always in the pub for a meal and a few (code for a lot) of drinks. because of the good pub) and then we all trooped down to Dartmoor national park for a meal in an original English pub “the Rugglestone Inn.” In an effort to work off the ale and pub food I donned my wellies and we walked up to Hayes Tor. It was the coldest ½ an hour out of my life as the bitter English wind swept up and over the desolate moor its a surreal landscape and no wonder only the hardy Dartmoor ponies survive up there.

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