Wednesday, 22 February 2012

In which we drag our sorry selves to Devon

Flu sucks. We had it for half term week and it's being a bit stubborn about leaving too. This, which surprised us by being the full fluey works (only a month since our Christmas bad colds), threatened our planned break with lovely friends in Devon - but we went anyway.

On Friday while N and A were hard at work at their respective jobs, we shopped in Taunton for essentials (hankies, menthol, birthday presents, books). Saturday was a little rainy but we all managed an amble along the banks of the Great Western Canal near Tiverton before heading to Honiton for lunch at a delightful cafe called Toast which makes magnificent bacon sandwiches (washed down with Russian caravan tea) and sells cakes which look like exquisite works of art.

On the way back N and I made a brief foray into the Co-Op which was being staffed by zombies straight from the set of Shaun of the Dead. It was a brief but highly entertaining visit which taught us that, in Honiton at least, Madeira cake is regarded as a variety of fruit.

Sweet hearts at Burrow Mump

Sunday was a bright, cold day so we spent it in Somerset scooting between beautiful and delightfully-named places. First stop was Burrow Mump, a National Trust-owned bump in the levels which gives magnificent 360 degree views of the surrounding landscape with Glastonbury Tor in the distance. There we reprised our new sport (invented by N and A) which began as 'star jumps on ancient monuments' and mutated into 'star jumps on wherever it is we happen to be'. I'll spare you the photographs but it's a fun sport and suitable both for young and (slightly) old(er).

From there we headed somewhere else in Somerset (I'm sorry but I was so busy looking at the flat landscapes that I forgot to look at where it was we went - I wasn't driving!). Anyway it was a tea room somewhere in the peaty bit of the Somerset Levels and it serves lovely roast pork and crackling baguettes, which we scoffed for lunch out in the cold but sunny garden while Great Tits shouted 'teacher, teacher, teacher' from the hedge behind us.

Glastonbury tor from Ham Wall.

Next it was on to Ham Wall where H10 was disappointed to discover that there wasn't a wall of ham. What there is though is acres of reed beds, reflective water and lots of birds - including Bitterns. The Bitterns were hiding during our visit but it was a beautifully serene place created from old peat extraction works.

"Why did they put all the peat here Uncle A?" R8 asked innocently. Uncle A has a degree in geology so I suspect R8 now knows all there is to know about peat!

Then we had to drag ourselves to the mayhem of the M5 and back to Wales. As we reached Whitland there was a whimper from the back seat. R8 was looking tearful. It turned out that for the entire journey she'd been looking at the road signs, adding up the mileage and had just calculated we were more than 150 miles from N and A's house. We've been invited back soon - next time we'll try not to take nasty bugs with us.


  1. Sounds like you had a good time away, despite the lurghy accompanying you all. Perhaps it's just as well that there was no Ham in Ham Wall or you might have picked up mumps to bring home with you from Burrow Mump...?

  2. Seems as though you had a dandy adventure. I followed your clues and checked the Devon map, so I can see you got around a bit. The flu notwithstanding. I like the way you describe your adventures; one gets to understand a bit of a scenery. And, through that, I can tell you where in Devon my mother's family was rooted — south-west of Barnstaple.

    BTW, I understand entirely that R8 now knows more than she ever wanted about peat. Including how to put it in a fireplace, I suspect.

  3. Hope you are all better from the flu, and back to normal busy lives.

    I enjoy reading your blogs, although I don't always leave a comment.

    Our eldest son lived in Taunton ( now in Bridgewater) we have visited there, Somerset is a lovely county, we are going again soon.

    We live in the Vale of Glamorgan and really appreciate the tranquility of the countryside. x x x

  4. You went to some of my favourite old haunts.. love Burrow Mump (mini Tor, as we used to call it) and that view over the Levels... And Honiton is always lovely for browsing the antique shops and tea...there's also a darn good pub down the bottom of the high street for next time. :)
    And you managed a fair bit of Somerset for your time in Devon.. ;)

    Glad you managed to have a good time, despite the lousy old flu. xx

  5. Tiverton and Honiton my childhood haunts. Beautiful countryside indeed, but at least you left beauty to return to it on your doorstep. And Devon is never very far away, in miles or memories.

  6. wonderful photos - envy you the trip, some of my favourite places to be. Hope one day to move down there somewhere.

    Hope you left the flu behind

  7. I love H's comment about Ham Wall! I'd quite like Belgium Chocolate Wall, though not, perhaps, once the birds had sat on it. What a ravishing photos too - I love it here, but it's lovely to be reminded of other parts of the world as well. Hope you are all recovered now.

  8. Lovely to catch up and glad you had a good time in Wales inspite of the flu...loved your description of the Co-op staff, do you think they look specifically for staff meeting that criteria at the interview tee hee


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