The signs of spring!!!

It seems it’s been ages since I last updated this blog I just haven’t been in the mood to write to be honest and to be fair with the weather having been so lame there’s not been many adventures to chat about, but I’ve finally managed to throw a post together although this is as much to keep track myself as anything else…. but enjoy anyway!!!

We survived the snow but then came the wind, with Storm Erik and its 70 mile per hour gusts that were along for the ride!!!  The storm lasted for at least 3 days and 3 nights but the first night of the storm the caravan took an absolute battering, at one point the goods in the kitchen cupboards shifted and the oven door threatened to throw itself open I actually thought we would blow over onto our side at one or two points during the first night…

I was sure the caravan wasn’t as stable as it should have been that night so come morning Pete checked the steadies/stabilizers and chuckled when he found they weren’t even down properly no wonder it had felt so unstable from inside and on one of the worst nights of the year so far!!!

We didn’t have much choice but to sit out the poor stormy weather that week it was freezing cold, very wet with depressingly dark grey skies overhead,  I had wanted to join in a few of the local beach cleans happening in early February but they had been called off due to the bad weather, so all we could do was sit tight and hope some sunshine would come our way soon, after slobbing out for almost a week the weather did finally improve… We had sunshine at last, what a difference a bit of sunshine can make.  We’d only managed to walk to the local shops in between all of this bad weather, but finally the weather had broken and it was time to get some washing done and get ourselves out and explore.

Firstly we’d promised Toffi a beach walk once her foot had healed, so that was first to be ticked off our agenda list, off we set to Chapel Porth beach a lovely smallish but still very secretive beach, it’s a beach that neither Pete nor I had ever visited before, along with the stunning cliff top walks with gorgeous views going miles out to sea, and then also there were walks to the ruins of the local tin mines…

 

On the next available fair weather day we were off to Perranporth beach where we enjoyed walking miles and miles of this golden sandy, beautiful and very popular beach… we then headed breathlessly up and onto the sand dune covered cliffs where again we were treated to some of the most amazing views going miles off out to sea!!!

 

Our next stop was to Padstow, this is such a quaint town and fishing port, and even in the winter period it would seem the place still has a constant busy vibrant vibe about it, but still less than the hussle and bussle of the busy bustling, buzzing summer periods where its far, far busier and far too touristy and busy for me to enjoy,  but it’s perfect during the winter period for a visit and it’s a pleasure to be able to enjoy the place without being herded along with the masses through the small narrow streets…

 

on the 24th February 2019 we moved on from Newquay and after just an hours drive we arrived at Tregoad Farm, Campsite in Looe… we spent the next 24 hrs catching up with mundane stuff such as the nearly months worth of washing that had built up, which happily I managed to wash and dry here on site for just £18 (As mentioned in the past I can sometimes spend that on just a weeks wash!!!) and what’s more we arrived with the sun shining brightly and fortunately it stayed that way for the next few days before the next storm was due in, again on those few fair weather days we took in the local campsite wildlife walk down to the lakes…

 

Next Stop was the village of Looe itself, (there’s currently a road closure and the diversion takes you the long way around, it’s in place for the next 4 weeks so if you are near & abouts be aware) Looe is another lovely Cornish fishing village it’d been years since either Pete or myself had been there and I have to say the place has not changed much visually in approx thirty years.

The place attracts many tourists and Looe also has a really lovely sandy beach (a music festival is held here every year) but unfortunately Toffi was not permitted on the beach as it has a rule of no dogs allowed, so teasingly we let her look longingly at this fantastic beach rolling out in front of her, before moving her on and taking ourselves on a sightseeing adventure of the town walking between the historic old buildings set amongst the narrow streets and just taking  in the atmosphere of the place… I was also super excited and really surprised to see the old amusement arcade still here (across the bridge in Looe) it brought back some fun memories from my childhood of visiting there when on holidays to Devon…

 

Our next trip was to Polperro again this is another really quaint fishing village and a place neither of us had visited since childhood (although I must admit a few… ok… many expletives did leave my lips upon seeing and having to pay the exorbitant charges for parking here!!!) £4.50 for 3 hrs with the concession you can get up to 10% off of prices on purchases within some shops and pubs in the village, this promise is all well and good but it’s the beginning of March and almost all of the places mentioned for this 10% with the exception of one pub was shut and the village certainly doesn’t take 3 hours to walk around!!! so compared to the £1 an hour parking at other places I know where I would rather go and spend my money without feeling forced into spending in dictated or designated places to gain back a percent of my over priced parking fee!!! I get it I totally do, it’s designed so as to encourage people to spend on their visits there… yep I really do get what they are trying to do…. but like I say when we were there the place was dead, like dead as a donut… it’s winter season and barely any shops were even open for business, perhaps winter parking charges should be lowered to take this into account… and £25 for a motorhome to park overnight I didn’t know whether this was actually a joke??? I mean why??? you can go to a campsite with heated wash facilities and including a swimming pool etc for much less than that price this time of year or even park in a layby for like… free… P.s also please note if you visit here DO NOT and I mean DO NOT use the toilets on the main road as you head back to the car park trust me on this one the 20p entry isn’t even the issue!!! (just really trust me and don’t use them unless you are really desperate you will definitely thank me for that bit of advice, there are other toilets in the area although I have no idea what state these are in inside!!!)

Now like I say the place is pretty quaint, it’s a very tiny, seemingly compacted fishing village with small harbour that’s shielded from the harsh choppy winter weather of this visit day by the sturdy harbour wall, there’s also access to a cliff top coastal walk from here to Polruan of approx 6.5 miles we took a quick look up at the viewing point on the cliff top but I wasn’t really suitably dressed for a hike this day so we didn’t wander much further, but I guess if you really wanted to make proper use of those obscene tourist trap parking charges, you could always take a hike along there, the village itself took us mere minutes to walk around and with such few shops actually open during our visit we decided to drag it out with a pint each in “The 3 Pilchards” which if I am truthful was the highlight of our visit before returning to the car which still had more than an hours parking validity left on it to spare!!!

 

Here at Tregoad Farm Campsite there’s a swimming pool and to be honest with you all, I seem to have got slightly chunky over the last few winter months, so I thought it would be a great idea to get in the pool and do a little regular workout perhaps get my “summer” body ready… Well the thought was there anyway!!!.. I proudly managed 20 lengths and still felt fantastic, ok the pools not olympic sized but it’s big enough for getting some exercise in and 20 lengths was plenty enough for my repaired shoulders before they began to seize up a little, but that was nothing compared to what happened on the evening of my first swim, I hadn’t swam for years and never thought about water going into my ear canals I’d never needed to worry before now,  but well that evening the world started to swim and spin, everything was constantly moving around while I remained perfectly still… dear lord, never have I had Vertigo before… I mean I’ve fainted lots of times before… but this, well this was something else, but luckily for me it was to last just 2 days… that 2 days was an absolute horrid experience!!!  (I’ve managed a few more swims since that day and thankfully I’ve remained fine so hopefully that bout of Vertigo was just a one off experience!!!)

We then waited with bated breath on the arrival of the next Storm named “Freya” with her 70mph winds, well she came and went without causing much trouble for us… but she did make victims of a few caravan awnings here on site… a couple of evenings later and the wind was whipping up again to be honest the wind seemed stronger this time than the night of the named storm, but again we were lucky and got through without harm…

After a lovely morning swim at camp we decided to take a drive to Seaton we’d promising Toffi another visit to a beach once again, what a gorgeous beach this is, we took a lovely walk with Toffi along it even managing some off leash time for her to run free, where she enjoyed splashing in and out of the waves while chasing seaweed stalks… after all that fun Pete and I needed coffee and cake which was served to us at the local beach front “Waves” bar, we sat and refreshed ourselves while Toffi sat comfortably inside with us and dried off behind the warming sun drenched glass window, (p.s parking is free here over winter months until !st April and the place was certainly busy with visitors and dog walkers…)

 

We’d refreshed ourselves with the coffee and cake and checked the time and to our surprise found it was still only midday, so we decided to explore both Cawsand and Kingsand today, both just a few miles on from Seaton, at Cawsand there’s a carpark that had a couple of motorhomes stopping over and looking at the parking meter its £10 for 24 hrs which is pretty reasonable for an overnight stay here giving time to explore the area, p.s car parking here was 60p an hour… and definitely a lovely place for a good stroll, to explore and to enjoy the view out to sea and the Plymouth breakwater you can also see all the way over to Jennycliff, Bovisands and Challaborough from here!!

 

Everywhere we go we are glimpsing signs of springs arrival with the trees starting to bloom with blossom, daffodils and primroses in flower… It’s a very pretty time of year and this hopefully means signs of better weather ahead…

Well enough of my rambling on, I’m sure you all have other things to be getting on with so I shall wrap it up for now!!!

Take Care

Donna x

 

 

Back in Cornwall…

While in Tiverton we had an opportunity to go see the town, and mingle amongst the locals there’s a weekly market, as well as an indoor market and local shops, a great laundrette (opposite Domino’s pizza where the tumble dryers actually do the job they are designed to do in a super fast efficient fashion which used much less money), most of the places we went to here Toffi was welcomed with open arms… but there’s always some places she’s sometimes not made so welcomed, the church here was one of them we showed her the notice… she wasn’t much impressed so couple of snaps later and we moved on…

 

Toffi had had her annual injections done last week and we had decided to have a couple of little lumps removed before they caused problems so she was booked into one of the local veterinary clinics “Vets4pets” on the 23rd January, I must admit I was highly anxious, with us not being locals and never having used these vets before now, but all the personnel in the vets seemed friendly and all thankfully went well we dropped Toffi off at 9am as instructed (she wasn’t impressed!!!) and with reception instructed to call me if they needed as she may well get overly stressed etc, off Pete and I trotted with reassurance that we will get a call if anything was wrong or when the procedure was over…

So feeling a little lost without Toffi by our side and worried for our sweet loved little pal, we decided to stay nearby for the next hour or so in case we were called back urgently… we walked into Tiverton town centre 5 minutes away and did something we are usually unable to do when we have Toffi with us, we made the most of the time and grabbed ourselves a good hearty cooked full breakfast and cuppa at a little cafe called the Blue Velvet, then walked back to the vets where I just had to pop my head in and make sure Toffi was doing ok… The receptionist assured me all was fine and even showed me a sweet photo she had taken of Toffi all settled and sleeping nicely on her own smelly blanket we had brought with us to comfort her…   with us reassured, off we set, although still reluctant to wander too far we went to nearby Knightshayes Court again where this time Pete got to come inside the house and have a good nosey around…

We arrived in excellent time as there was a National Trust volunteer just about to start a talk about the house and the history behind it, so in we settled to listen and ask any questions before walking around the inside of the house, with it being winter some of the rooms are being renovated there were 2 women knelt repairing a carpet in the main hall you could watch them work from the parapet above and other volunteers all giving information throughout the house…

Before we knew it we received the call to tell us Toffi was all fine and coming around from the Anaesthetic and that we could pick her up at 3pm, the time came and we picked up our pal… she was drowsy,  crying, full of self pity and just wanted cuddling all night and then all the next day too… It was awkward trying to keep her foot clean and dry on a very wet rain ridden, dirty, marshy, grassy, dairy farm camp pitch and we tried allsorts from covering her paw with all types of bags tied around her leg to succumbing to the knowledge that the best we could do was covering her wound with a simple clean waterproof plaster each time she had to leave the caravan!!!

Toffi was required to have a check up after 3 days and to all of our amazement her wounds were doing really well (her foot wound was great, her tail wound had wept slightly but was still good) and she was pretty much back to her old self personality wise, other than just keeping an eye on her making sure she didn’t catch or chew at her wounds and not over doing things etc she was almost good as new!!! I’ve promised her a trip to the beach when her wounds have healed just a little more!!!

 

On the pretty windy, nasty, cold, rainy, dull and muddy day of 27th January 2019 we packed up all our now extremely muddy dirty belongings in the freezing cold, hooked up the caravan to the car, said a quick thankyou and goodbye to the farmer and set off for a 2hr drive back to Cornwall… we decided to head back down country with the thoughts of waiting out just a bit more of the colder weather which the country was expecting in the next week before heading further up country, plus it gives us more time to catch up with family and friends we may have missed catching up with last time, so we’ve found ourselves back on our favourite little site Higher Lanhainsworth again this time for a month…

Pitching up when we got here was again like something out of freaking comedy central… you would think that by now we would both be experts, but no we are still far from it Pete is excellent at driving and towing but has some weird ideas on how best to pitch up and instead of simplifying maneuvers to one or two short movements and get our approach to each pitch up clear in our minds first, he seems to make pitching maneuvers over complicated, mainly because he fears maybe scuffing a bit of grass, so instead of taking the car forward just past the chosen pitch and either reversing the caravan in from there or unhitch and enable me to turn it and then reverse the caravan in with the motor mover into the pitch…. No… Pete insisted that instead he’d unhitch the caravan nearly a pitch and half away move the car out of the way and then use up all the power in the motor mover to get the caravan even near to our pitch… needless to say it was a total disaster, we were both irritated and freezing cold by the time we were pitched!!!

We still needed to stay mindful of and rest Toffi’s wounds for a while longer, after all it had still only been 5 days since she’d had her operation but she was doing really well… then came the weather the rain belted down heavily for hours before turning into a pretty impressive snow storm that lasted another few hrs, it’s the first time I had seen proper snowfall for about 5 years to be fair…

 

It was great, Toffi had a few minutes to enjoy zoomies and to charge around in the freshly laid snow before deciding she’d had enough and giving a big hint when she was ready to go back inside, I love seeing my surroundings covered in the white powdery snow it makes everywhere look so fresh, scenic and clean… although I was concerned the neighbours awning might have gotten damaged from the weight of the snow that settled on it… The snow only lasted for a couple of days before it had completely melted away & disappeared, but not before causing some chaos on the surrounding A30/A38 roads where lots of people were stranded for hours overnight after being caught out in the weather conditions…

We decided on a coastal walk next, so off we set to Carnewas, I have to admit it wasn’t my favourite of walks as I have a fear of sheer cliff drops and this walk had plenty of that malarky… The day was chilly but crisp clear and you could see the differing colours in the waters off the coast…

 

Our next trip was on the Sunday to the National trust property Trelissick House and Gardens, The house and gardens were off the cards for us having Toffi with us, so we decided to walk some of the grounds instead, although the place was far too busy for my liking, it would seem every man/woman and his/her dog were here today, and although there were polite notices asking people to stay off the grass to allow it too recover from all the winter weather and seasonal over use, the notices were sadly being totally ignored…

It was certainly also a challenge taking a strong reactive dog for a walk through crowds of free running and out of control dogs here and whose owners were simply failing to observe and control their dogs, I must admit there were also many much wiser and more experienced dog owners here too who were very good and did what any responsible dog owners would usually do… they saw Toffi coming towards them on leash and under strict control and at times we would wait back a little patiently while they gathered their pups and either leashed or safely herded their dogs past with a knowledgeable nod, hello and pleasant words of thanks…

But our first hurdle was an arrogant man with 2 rather large overweight french bulldog cross breed dogs who came running up, aggressively lunging towards Toffi, I managed to block their direct route to Toffi who was by now snarling back and warning them to keep their distance just as the male owner arrogantly shouted over from afar that “it’s ok love, they just want to play with your dog”, giving me a rather dirty look when I shouted back that actually “love” my on lead dog clearly doesn’t just want to play with your quite rudely aggressively approaching dogs, anyway after realising that I was blocking their approach luckily they soon lost interest in Toffi, but then went on to actually aggressively bite and attack a small west highland terrier that was also on lead nearby… the poor owner of this dog clearly panicking, ended up literally hanging her dog by its neck on its lead mid air trying to get it out of reach of these snarling biting dogs… while everyone was shouting at the french bulldogs owner that his dogs were clearly not actually behaving playfully… so much for his dogs just wanting to play huh? It beggars belief that if I had allowed my Staffordshire Bull Terrier off lead to retaliate or attack and hurt any of these dogs we would have been deemed the danger to society pretty much because of our dogs breed, but regardless of breed other people still think it is ok for their dogs to be out of control in a public area…

By this point it was obvious what kind of walk this was going to be and before we knew it Toffi was again being stressed out after being forced into a face off with yet another four off lead dogs all barking and pack lunging at her, while Pete was trying to stop her from retaliating and possibly eating whole a small but mouthy weiner type dog along with its pal a big black labrador, she got herself into such a pickle she somehow managed to wrap her lead around Pete’s leg… who then promptly tripped and stood on her poorly foot making her screech, I must admit by now I was absolutely fuming with these dogs owners, and made it known to them while they were all just stood there still ignoring their dogs out of control behaviour, and still not allowing us space to proceed through the pathway, fuming at their total ignorance of the overall situation…

Dog owners please it’s just common sense and pretty much common decency and good manners that when you see a dog on a lead coming towards you on the same narrow walk or pathway, you should regain control of your off lead dogs, the sight of an on leash dog alone should give you enough information you need to process and conclude that you have possibly either a reactive/nervous or perhaps a dog in training coming your way,  regain control of your dogs just for enough time to allow us all to pass safely and in a controlled way it’ll really help avert any possible incidents and really aid training!!! Please remember not all dogs want to be your dog’s best friend and it doesn’t matter how friendly/playful you think your dog is going to be, my dog loves people, but after being attacked as a pup by an out of control off leash dog she’s just not interested in being or having your doggy’s as her bessie mates… she’s also not keen on having her bits sniffed either, but maybe I should just let her make that known for herself in future!!! And for goodness sake pick up your doggies poopies it’s just nasty for everyone when you don’t, I witnessed at least 3 dogs pooping with their owners failing to pick it up in just the first 5 minutes of being here… just nasty!!!

I also heard news that more parks in Plymouth have become places that dogs are no longer allowed off leash roaming and people are in uproar… but to be fair after our experiences this Sunday I totally get the reasoning behind these decisions and I cannot say that I am unhappy about it, at least I will be able to walk Toffi in those parks in peace…

Trelissick House and grounds I am sure could have been a really lovely place to visit if we’d felt able to safely relax and enjoy the place… but it was far too busy this day and with at least 40 off leash dogs just running amok and causing chaos for other pet owners, and all this within the first half a mile stretch of the grounds which you pretty much have to pass through to get to walk any of the grounds, it really wasn’t a place I would feel a need to return too… perhaps fencing off a parts of the grounds especially for use for off leash dogs would help solve this problem? maybe then it would enable others with dogs kept on leashes to get past safely too, it was a shame really, perhaps it would be a better quieter place to visit during the weekdays…

 

Although luckily Toffi’s foot injury wasn’t opened up with Sunday’s incident and thankfully it hasn’t seemed to cause any further harm, we decided to allow her to rest her foot some more especially after Sunday antics, so we have just chilled on the campsite, it’s been wet and rainy since then anyway so perhaps we can arrange Toffi’s promised beach walk next week!!!

Catch up soon, Take Care Donna x

 

Dairy Farms & Dirty Welly Boots!!

As of 6th January we’ve found ourselves pitched up alone other than some empty caravans on a dairy farm at £14 per night, West Middlewick farm campsite, the farm itself is nestled between the hamlet of Nomansland and Witheridge amongst the rolling hills and fields on the outskirts of Tiverton, what a brilliant adventure awaits us here, the farm itself  has approx 80 cows, 60 or so sheep, a fair few chickens, 3 geese and now new to the mix there’s also Pigs!!!

Foolishly I took a peek inside the calf shed, scolding myself for stupidly not expecting to see any calves in there at this time of year, (surely winter isn’t the time of year for cows to be calving right???)… but boy was I in for a shock, I hold my hands up I clearly know nothing regarding farming & cattle, there were at least 3 young calves in there that I could see… plus a couple of lambs, but one calf stood out from the crowd for me, this one looked very special indeed, it has a gorgeous love heart mark on its forehead… just, oh my days!!!… I hope they call it Shirley or Valentine… I think I may have fallen for my first cow, I even started to worry whether it was too cold for the poor thing and woke early hours that night worrying about the little calf that I’d already named Valentine in my head, I should never have looked inside that shed… I’ve stayed away from the animals and calf shed ever since!!!

Bare in mind as mentioned before in the blog I am absolutely terrified/petrified of fully grown cattle, my time here is going to be soooo much fun!!!  Apparently you can help at feeding times with the young animals and watch the milking of the cows this is extremely tempting for me… I’ll think on that one although I’d probably end up wanting to take the baby animals home with me so this feeding malarky may not be the best thing for me to do, but you never know… I have a week or so to think about it, I have massive respect for farmers they always amaze me with their dedication with the sheer amount of what seems like a constant workload, the family here are friendly and from what I can see I think there are a few generations of them working here… with it being winter the cows don’t get much chance to get out in the fields until the fairer weather so I guess this makes the workload even higher!!!

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We found the pigs shed too… after asking if it was ok to do so Pete thought it would be a great idea to feed them a half loaves of bread that we had hanging around… I stayed outside the pig shed because I had Toffi with me but inside it sounded like Pete had set off some sort of murderous riot with the pigs screeching and squealing at top volume (pigs are loud!!!) I asked him to get some pictures he came back with these… chuckling I did tell him they weren’t exactly the sort of pictures I had in mind, but hey…

We took a walk across the fields here and down along a river, boy is it muddy and yukky in the UK countryside in winter time, we decided our best purchase this year was most definitely our welly boots!!!

Of course Toffi’s loving all the mud and muck, and has now started to insist on finding the muckiest patches to play in, just look how proud of herself she was after running right through this big muddy field-gate puddle!!! (She didn’t however enjoy the wash off she got when she got home outside before she was allowed to re-enter the caravan!!)

Tiverton Canal 

We awoke to a frosty start on a Thursday morning and although we had planned to head to South Molton to the weekly market early today we changed our plans last minute as we are considering staying here another week, hopefully we can go to the market next week and take a good look around but instead today we headed to The Grand Western Canal in Tiverton and took a long walk along the canal side instead, the day started off with the grassy fields covered in frost and parts of the canal still had ice over the water surface…

Knightshayes Court

We also visited Knightshayes Court where I took a walk around the inside of the Gothic style house, while Pete and Toffi explored the garden what a fabulous place we will go back for a good old walk around the grounds!!!

 

As promised we went back to Knightshayes to walk around the grounds and the woods…

South Molton 

We then visited South Molton on the next Thursday the farmer here on site had told us the animal market is on that day so of course we had to go and nose around, true to word there were lots of sheep in pens and trailers being sold and transported…  there’s also an indoor market here in the town where they have stalls for fresh veg etc there were some nice independent shops around and we also stopped for lunch of chips and sausages at the local chippy…

Killerton House 

We then visited Killerton House and took a walk around the grounds here too, Killerton house if I am honest isn’t the most attractive house from the outside and with muddy boots on there was no chance of going inside… so we strolled the grounds for a few hours!!! On the way to the House that morning I made Pete pull over to take a picture of the fog amongst the valley…

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On the farm campsite here they have a farm shop where you can purchase meat, raw milk, cheese, fresh veg pretty much get whatever you might need if you wished… in the last few days we also seem to have a few escape artists from the field next door teaching her young lamb independance or perhaps they are just wanting a little quiet time away from the main flock… very cute anyway and harmless enough so not going to tell tales on them it would seem the grass is greener in this field anyway!!!

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While here Toffi has had to visit the vets for her annual check up and injections, we also decided it was time for her to have a growth on her foot rechecked as although it is a slow growing, seemingly harmless lump thats now been there for 5 years, it’s in a bit of an awkward place and we have to make sure it doesn’t get too big before it’s removed otherwise there won’t be enough skin in the area to close the wound, but lately it has started to grow just that little bit more and its looking a little more sore and brighter red in colour than usual, so Toffi’s now booked in at a local vet on Wednesday morning for it’s removal we’re due to move on from here Sunday but depending on any follow up treatment Toffi may need we may have to wait and see… We are thinking of going back to our fav Newquay site to wait out some of the winter weather with James and his family but will have to see what we decide…

I’ve been looking into different diets and settled on trying the potato diet for myself… you can lose nearly a stone in a week on this diet so I really need to look into it, has anyone else tried the potato diet? any advice?? since we’ve been travelling I seem to have put on a tad bit of weight!!!

Until next time, Take care, I am off to dream of potatoes!!!

Donna x

 

 

 

New Year, New scarf!!!

In our last week at Woodland Springs we made the most of it enjoying some milder weather compared to the wind and storms in the previous weeks which enabled us to get out and explore even more.  We found ourselves drawn towards exploring the nearby reservoirs, Meldon was our first, we planned to walk around it completely but we got halfway and found our access restricted by a no entry sign on a gateway so we were forced to turn back although we later learned that we could have gone in a different direction away from the reservoir and enjoyed a moorland walk instead!!!

Just look at some of the magnificent pictures we managed to snap here are my favourites of the whole post!!!

My imagination ran away with me as we were walking along the waters edge and enjoying the sights, there’s a small island here pictured below I am guessing largely used by water birds such as ducks, but I told Pete it would be my place of refuge & safety in the event of an armageddon event…I’m sure the Zombies or bad people looking for trouble wouldn’t find me here all I would need was a small boat and a tent…

On our way back from the no entry sign Toffi managed to get herself into a bit of a pickle involving a …boggy area her little face was a picture when she suddenly sank into a bog unaware of its existence which was amongst the reed bed she was exploring… Good job she managed to get a bit cleaner by the time she got back to the car otherwise we may well have made her walk home!!!

Our next visit was to the fantastic Fernworthy Reservoir and a gorgeous walk of several different scenes here some were along the waterside and a very scenic walk then through the sun dappled dense woodland where some of the trees were what seemed like the height of skyscrapers… then much to Toffi’s delight some more marshy swampy bogs to jump around in!!!

There were some stunning views here we walked the whole way around the reservoir and most parts of the walk were great although there was one part of the walk where wellies would have been ideal footwear just due to the huge amount of mud and several walkers appeared before us attempting this part with walking shoes caked in mud, but after navigating this part I thought we got off quite lightly due to us wading off the worst of the beaten muddy track… there’s also a burial site here with some burial chambers exposed along with bronze age settlements and evidence of their stone round huts along the way…

I finished making a pretty decent scarf in the time I was avoiding human contact which Pete promptly asserted ownership of… Merry Christmas Pete!!! You can see Pete wearing his new scarf in some of the pictures above… enjoy and stay warm Pete!!!

I managed a good catch up with a couple of good friends Debbie and Ally in Plymouth it was amazing to see them and have a good old chat, they both looked amazing and we spent the afternoon drinking hot chocolate, tea & coffee and chatting until it was time for me to drive home… a lot of friends hadn’t been able to make this meet up due to the short notice and that it was on a weekday so many were working, I’d arranged a meet up a week or so earlier but unfortunately I’d had to cancel (sorry for the mess around!!) hopefully we will get to catch up with more people next time we are in Plymouth…

We made some new friends at the Woodland Springs campsite and spent a couple of evenings in the company of Carole and Andy who have a seasonal pitch there, with the owners of the site Chris and Jan also joining us for some drinkies and a lovely spread of food that Carole had prepared, Thank you all for the great company and great evenings, keep feeding the birds for us!!!

The campsite became pretty busy over the holiday season and over the Christmas and New Year dates especially where the site went from just having a handful of us on site to being about 2/3’s full and this then felt extremely busy for me….  with me sometimes not being the most social person around this time of year I vowed Christmas day not to step outside the caravan at all that day just so that I didn’t bump into anyone and have to wish anyone a happy Christmas… and I managed it… I then repeated it for New Years day, yep I was feeling super social on those days!!! Soon it was time to move on, and on Sunday 6th January 2019 off we pootled onwards to our next stop… The next destination I will leave until the next blog post…

I will be social enough now to wish everyone reading this blog post a very happy and prosperous New Year and I will catch you all up on our next adventures soon until then enjoy the pictures, take care!!!

Donna x

A wander when weather permits!!!

The weather has been atrocious with rain, harsh gusting winds and what seems like a constant stream of endless storms, you tend to notice these things even more when you live in a tin tent, how I wish we’d again gone over to enjoy the fairer weather Portugal or Spain has to offer at this time of year!!!

I had to go to Plymouth late one afternoon for an appointment with the Dr and I was dreading the hours drive as I have absolutely no sense of direction, and without a sat nav I am useless, although Pete did make me even more nervous when he kept telling me directions of where I had to head too and again after I phoned him upon leaving the campsite to tell him the sat nav wanted to take me the A38 way instead of the A30 (I’d remembered him telling me to get to the A30 and not to go the A38 way) he then did nothing but worry, telling me not to go the way the car sat nav was trying to take me as it was just constant narrow country lanes for at least half the journey if I go that way… I had to kindly remind him it would still be fine and not to worry, as unbelievably I do actually hold a current UK driving licence and I am sure I could handle an hours drive to Plymouth, country lanes or not…

It seemed his worrying was totally unnecessary as I bravely (for me anyway) ignored the Sat nav went in the opposite direction and would you believe it I managed to find the A30 (the easy peasy route), After my appointment with the doctor where I then again bravely obtained 5 steristrip stitches and also managed to have a quick rare catch up with my mum before my trip back to the campsite in the dark…

The drive home started out well, I figured it wouldn’t be too bad a drive, that I’d just head to Tavistock from Plymouth and head out to Oakhampton from there, this was a great idea until I hit a “road closed” sign at Yelverton roundabout and was then diverted by the satnav to Princetown, now it seemed my only way home was to go over the moors, actually it turned out to be a really great drive and although it was pitch, pitch black out there on the unlit moorland roads, they were also pretty quiet at that time of the evening, so the drive was tranquil and pretty easy going…. I went past the Warren House Inn on my journey this pub is also worth a visit it has a fire which has been burning and never once gone out since the pub was built in 1845, having visited in the past I remember it’s a very quaint and lovely pub to visit… now the only downside to driving home on this route was I hadn’t managed to get any food as I’d planned to stop off at Morrisons on my way through Tavistock and grab something to eat on the road before my detour…  so I was starving when I pulled up to the van just over an hour later!!!

Fingle Bridge

We have managed to get out and about when the weather has permitted us but we have had to wrap up warm too as it’s been pretty cold with the wind chill and there’s been lots of water on the roads!!! On one of the intervals where we had a respite from the bad weather we visited Fingle Bridge for a walk, what a lovely place to visit, an easy walk for most abilities the walks here are pretty flat which was a bonus for me, we walked from Fingle bridge to Clifford bridge and then back, the woods turned out to be such a stunning place to walk through… We walked approx 4 miles that day easily and only turned back because it was getting late in the day and the dark comes in so early on the short winter days…  There’s also a lovely pub at Fingle bridge so after a nice walk here you could alway grab some food or refresh yourselves with a quick drink if it takes your fancy!!!

Chagford and Mortenhampstead

Our next visit was to the stannary town of Chagford and then on to the town of Mortenhampstead both are lovely quaint towns and nice places to visit although Pete annoyingly kept correcting my pronunciation of the town name Chagford which I much preferred to pronounce with a “Sh” at the start…!!! after our exploring we decided to stop and grab ourselves a treat of a pint and a packet of crisps in the rather lovely pub the Three Crowns in Chagford, where Toffi was also treated to a few dog biscuits and a rather lovely fuss over from the bar staff who also took her picture!!! I was told by the camp owners there’s a place called the Birdcage that is a great place to eat in Chagford too!!!

Oakhampton and Simmons Park

We shopped at Oakhampton where we also purchased some bird feeders/food and also found a suitable kitchen roll holder for the caravan, we decided to check the little town out while we were here, it turns out Oakhampton is much bigger than we gave it credit for and to be fair we only figured this out by chance, I’d asked in a haberdashery shop for a certain wool item (I’ll explain it later) she didn’t sell what I wanted but told me where to go to get it instead, so we ended up in a part of the town that we hadn’t even realised existed, we also found the post office which reminded us we also needed stamps and then spotted a sign for the local park which we thought Toffi might like a walk around, so off we went to check out this “Simmons” Park, it didn’t disappoint, the park was quite large and full of dog walkers, the park itself even has several houses inside it and then theres a riverside walk to top it off, well who knew??!!!

Buckland Beacon

We also took a stroll to a place called Buckland Beacon on Dartmoor a place where there are tablets with the ten commandments engraved into 2 large tabs of rock, apparently I’m told these are called commandment stones… we had a rather windy, chilly and soggy walk to get to them where Toffi revelled in running through large muddy puddles and then managed to confuse herself behind a gate she had somehow gotten behind… the hill here was used as a fire beacon signal point, it’s rumoured that from this point the Spanish Armada was also first spotted!!! The wordings on the giant tablets here were first engraved in 1928 by a W A Clement who was commissioned to do the job by the Lord of Buckland Manor, history says it was seen as a victory for Protestantism where parliament rejected the proposed new book of common prayer!!!

Finch Foundry & Sticklepath Village

We visited Finch Foundry and although we found the place to be shut there were information leaflets available giving info of the 2 local walks available, one just a short 20 minute walk around the outskirts and village then a 45 minute one going through the Oak wood along the river Taw just a little further on the outskirts of the village and also this part of the walk being part of the Tarka trail, we opted for just the short walk as the rain had started to come in again and Toffi hates walking in the rain!!!

Pete took a visit to Plymouth and stayed over night there to have a night out with friends, not only did he come back with a hangover, but he also brought back germs with him, he assures me it is most definitely man flu… but not to worry Toffi is already helping him get over his ailments with one of her great snuggles…20181216_134550

As mentioned before the weathers not been all that great so I’ve been keeping myself busy with a hobby I hadn’t be able to do in ages, Crochet and amigurumi… I haven’t made anything for a couple of years until now, this has been due to me having had poorly shoulders, but here’s a few of my past makes… I’ve made two of what I call mindless granny blankets in the last week… I like to make these as I just don’t have to concentrate on them at all and I can easily be doing these while watching TV of an evening!!!

 

Andy and Carole came down and introduced themselves to me while Pete was away in Plymouth, they brought us down a Christmas card and some spare bird food, they have a caravan on a seasonal pitch here at Woodland Springs and had read our blog post, we had then chatted on facebook they are coming back down Boxing day and have invited us up for a couple of Christmas drinkies on Boxing day that will be lovely… P.S Andy and Carole if you’re reading this your feeders have been filled and you have a lovely red robin who has been feeding from there regularly!!!  (the birds on this site can certainly eat some!!!) have a lovely Christmas and have yourselves a safe journey we’ll see you when you return…

I cannot believe it’s Christmas day in a few days time!!! I have done the old traditional thing and purchased a good ole “TV Times”… haven’t done that in years… I’ve already been studying what programmes are on over the Christmas period to keep us entertained, and I have laid sole claim to the remote!!! I aim on going Christmas food shopping in Exeter in the next couple of days, it’s always hectic Christmas food shopping even though the shops only really close for 24 hrs these days everyone always still buys enough to see them through a week easily (remember the days when the shops would actually be closed for a week at least???), to be honest I’m really just looking forward to living on Turkey leftovers for days, eating masses of brussel sprouts and chocolate!!!

What ever you are doing for the Christmas period this year enjoy and have yourselves a very Merry Christmas!!!

Until next time take care

Donna x

Woodland Springs Touring Park – Venton

We arrived at woodland springs touring park on the morning of Sunday 25th November 2018 we received a warm welcome by the camp owners Chris and Jan who allowed us to pull up earlier than usual and showed us to our pitch and helped us settle in before they themselves set off for a lovely short break to Tiverton in their caravan for a few days…

We managed to settle in and have a lovely quiet night before the storms that were due finally hit us, well storm Diana certainly wasn’t a storm to be ignored, not so much for the rain but for the strong winds and with gusts of 70+ mph, boy did those gusts make themselves known, luckily the direction we were parked in with our back end into the wind helped stopping us getting bucked and rocked around too much in the gusts, but the tree on our pitch caused a bit of concern when I noticed the whole turf area at the base of the tree was moving around and lifting when the gusts were really harsh, that poor tree took a beating that night and I just hoped it didn’t come down and more to the point that it didn’t come down on us or anyone else passing by… Update: the tree survived as did we all thankfully, although we did have to help some other campers take down a tent in the wind when we noticed them struggling…

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While the storm was raging outside we were stuck inside all cosy, even the dog was refusing to go outside into the wind and rain so we stayed in until the weather started to improve, when it did improve we took the chance to go get some more fat feed balls for the birds as we’d found that there were ample empty bird feeders here at the site and so we figured it would be a nice gesture for the birds at least, if we filled them and gave them some food and boy were these birds hungry… they are currently going through at least 2 fat balls a day plus a feeder full of peanuts every other day but what a joy to see so many birds taking the opportunity to get a good feed, they seemed to be having a real party and telling all their friends about the feeders here too, it’s been a constant feeding frenzy from them… and then what a lovely surprise when we looked out and noticed a greater spotted woodpecker feeding from the peanut feeder!!! (not such a great thing when the bird starts to peck on the roof though!!!)

 

After suffering cabin fever during the storm, once it had eased it was time for us all to get out, stretch our legs and explore some nearby places our first stop was to Lidford Gorge owned by the national trust we arrived at the cafe had our cards scanned and then drove down to the Gorge because for winter large parts of Lidford Gorge are closed off for safety reasons although you are still allowed access to the gorge but walkers at this time of year are urged to take extra care as the pathways and steps down are extra slippery due to the wet climate and autumn/winter weather…

 

 

 

We next took a very soggy and muddy walk up to Brentor Church where we just managed to take shelter inside the old church as the rain came down in a heavy shower, so while waiting for the rain to ease off again we inspected the inside of the church, once the rain began to subside we finally stepped back outside and were treated to the sight of a double rainbow…  the original church built on this site back in 1130 and I can certainly see why they chose this special and scenic spot…

 

 

 

We aimed on finishing off the outing with a nice pint but sadly by the time we got to the Highwayman Inn at Sourton we found it had closed at 2.30pm, disappointed we instead took pictures of the outside, this is a pub if you are passing through that you must visit while in the area, it is renowned for the eccentric building and collection of allsorts of items inside and out… originally built in 1282, on the outside it now has shoe on one side of it and a stagecoach entrance on the other side, it’s a very, very quirky pub and well worth popping into for a visit, there’s lots more quirky stuff inside to view!!!

On the Saturday rather than rest we decided to explore somewhere much more locally, so leaving the campsite via a gate at the back of the site, we joined a rather muddy and water logged byeway and made our way to a place called Spinsters Rock, an old buriel ground, allegedly the rocks here fell down one night and 3 old spinsters managed to lift them back up into place all by themselves before dawn… Inside the field where the stones were located there were also some very angelic sweet looking sheep… those who know me will know I hate entering fields that have farm animals in them and I try to avoid doing this at all costs.

I am not so hot on farm animals they always seem to want to approach me, most likely sensing my fear, so you can guess what this lovely looking little flock of fluffy followers did… yep you’re right they tried to approach me, so with me panicking having these fluffy white animals taking a lively interest in what I was doing in their field, there was me threatening them with becoming my next meal advising them to keep their distance and assuring them I was most definitely not known to be vegetarian and I meant what I was saying if they came any closer or god forbid tried ramming me, I was going to eat them!!!  (crikey though these sheep are quite stocky, strong and sturdily square looking things when you get close up and cosy with them, I really forget how big these animals can be sometimes… as for Pete he doesn’t take much notice of his surroundings at all and insists all farm animals are friendly… for example a few months ago Pete forced me to walk through a field full of massive bulls telling me it would be fine only to find a “keep out” warning sign on the final gate on our way out telling the public “Danger, keep out, dangerous bulls loose in the field” I could have turned the air blue with my words on seeing this sign and also cursed the farmer also for only putting one warning sign on just a single gate instead of each of the at least three gates entering into that single field… After all I would have had a much stronger argument in persuading Pete that day why I was unwilling to walk through that field, luckily the bulls were having a mellow day and mostly ignored us… just giving the odd stare as if to ask why we were trampling over their patch that day… but I was keeping a close eye out just in case I needed to jump the electric barbed wire fence and hedgerow next to me anyway!!! It reminded me of when I was young and we’d first moved to Plymouth I was taken on a school trip to a farm and the farmer literally had to carry me out of the field of cows, I was that petrified… It was the first time I had ever come face to face with a cow and these guys are big!!!…. Well you just don’t get to see cows when you live on a council estate in London!!!