Rainy days & Chocolate!!!

Ok so not much to tell you all really so instead I will just ramble on about whatever comes to a possibly empty mind… I’ve had a rather sad, low & slow couple of weeks mainly due to some abismal weather and although we have had some rather lovely sunny weather days in between we’ve also had our fair share of wet ones too… take this week for instance, the rain hammers down right up until 3-4pm, then we have lovely sunshine but by then it’s too late in the day for an exploring hike… now normally I wouldn’t let a little rain stop play but when you have a dog like Toffi rain puts a belting great big “stop” to play… Toffi does not do rain… at all!!!

Pete has gone to London for a trip, leaving Toffi and I here to have a girls holiday… I say holiday but it’s more like watch Netflix, do a little crochet, read or do absolutely nothing else while it rains time!!! Pretty much any hike or adventures I plan for Toffi and myself seems to go out the window right now due to the aforementioned bad weather and cloudy dark Thundery skies.

So frustratingly for all we have been pretty limited to the campsite for walks around the lake, the awkwardly steep dog run field (which I am pretty sure will come into its own for a good hill running or fitness routine), the meadow and the wooded area for our walkies, much to the disgust of the site owners father here who I caught staring at Toffi and I when she stopped and pee’d on her way over to the dog field, it was a hard enough stare to make it a little uncomfortable and make us feel slightly as if we had broken some sort of massive law, although not one to be out done, I did of course stare back… politely of course… Although thinking about it, I may be a little unfair in my instantly judging of his staring at us… as I actually think it was just probably one of those stares where he wasn’t even really looking at us but more through us and much more likely he was just assessing the grass length/condition in the area and pondering when he should get the hired help to start cutting the poxy stuff all over again!!! And here in starts the vicious cycle of my hay fever all over again, my eyes are sometimes so swollen as to be almost sealed shut and I sometimes resemble the result of having done a few rounds with some incredibly talented boxer!!! But to be fair I can’t fault the sites standards the grass is always kept immaculately short…!!!

 

Finally the sun shone and Toffi and I managed to get out and have a good walk, I found a great place to walk just up the big steep hill and not far from here where Toffi got to run across a field full of clover, and then we took a walk down through a woodland area and back down into the village… it was so good to get out and about and Toffi actually met some new doggie friends while I chatted to other dog walkers, who it would seem were just as frustrated by the weather as Toffi and I had been… We arrived home shortly before the Thunder Storms and watched as the skies darkened and the black angry looking clouds came in!!!

Today is a pretty sad day for me, 11th June, for it should have been my younger brother Danny’s 40th birthday… Danny, unexpectedly & suddenly sadly passed away 13 yrs ago of an overdose when he was just 27 years old… I don’t wish to go into details but it was such a wasted life of someone that always had such a sparkle to them…

So yeah as you can imagine it’s been rather a tough week all around, I found myself questioning life, contemplating things, going over and over things again and again… All this thinking made me rather down, I don’t mind telling you I am a person who rarely sheds a tear, but boy there have been tears this week, tears that were replaced with yet more tears… yeah a bit of a sad week!!! It’s true what they say it is the loved ones left behind that hurt the most!!!

And it got me thinking about when people get into those desperate dark sinister places and such situations for various reasons people don’t always ask for help…

Life is too short to not reach out and this was again made clear in the last couple of weeks after an old work colleague of ours unexpectedly passed away, Lynne was laid to rest just a few days ago, my condolences and thoughts are also with her family at this very, very sad time…

On a brighter note to end this blog post I decided to buy my second tree and have dedicated it to the memory of my brother Danny… and to commemorate Dan’s life… I think he would have liked that too!!! Here’s some of my favourite pictures of Danny…

On a brighter note the local supermarket was selling massive 360g weighted bars of chocolate… one of which just happened to accidentally fall into my shopping basket this week and has been an amazing help making those sad rainy days seem so much better with a good old cup of English Tea…. So that’s been like “really” helpful to my weight loss diet…

I hope you have all had a much better week and have a much brighter week ahead…

I now have only 42 trees left to have planted to achieve a tree planted for every year of my life you never know I may make a “go fund me” page to help out otherwise even if I am able to buy 1 tree a month it may take me 3 yrs to achieve…

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Take good care of yourselves until next time,

Donna x

 

A tree… Yes, But not just any tree!!!

It seems time really does fly, listen life can go by in a flash so make the most of it… some lives are sadly cut short and some lives are long, but whatever your thoughts on life my advice is to just take time out, go look at those butterflies that are fluttering amongst the freshly bloomed flowers in the long grassy meadows or within the flower bed so lovingly prepared and nurtured by a fellow human being, listen to the birdsong (even the annoying craws of all the crows!!!), enjoy the spring lambs leaping and playing in the soft grass, watch the birds and the bees enjoying the fresh nectar from the pretty coloured spring and summer flowers, and don’t forget to help and feed the birds in the cold harsh winter time, travel to places outside of your own country if you wish, sometimes take the time to venture outside of your own comfort zone, watch or be part of different cultures and traditions, Love others and try not to get caught up in any hate, make sure you at least take your annual 2 week holiday, enjoy different experiences, go to the coast, swim and let the sunshine wash over and warm your body, enjoy those wide open spaces, watch rabbits from afar before they notice you and hop off, Enjoy the forests and the walks amongst them and if it’s snowy where you are enjoy the snow flakes, experience not only the warm mornings but also the picturesque ice cold and frosty mornings, watch the sunsets and if you get caught in a shower of rain enjoy the raindrops as they fall, and most of all enjoy some cake, after all of that you will have earnt it….

 

It was my birthday this week and I’m old enough not to get too excited over these things anymore, I think Pete and others find it strange that I don’t really have celebration days or days that other people so commonly celebrate anymore… I just don’t whether due to personal issues, insecurities, personal beliefs or just plain being old and boring, I’m still figuring it all out… and boy am I in what I can only describe as a very emotional and sensitive stage of life…

So yeah moving on… my 45th birthday came and went just like any other day, the main exception being I was treated to my favourite meal, my mobile/tablet pinging endlessly with facebook birthday well wishes (many thanks to all who took the time to wish me well) but poor Peter then had a massive dilemma of what gift to give me, his awkward wife… for what he insists is my “special” day… I am not a possessions girl, so I just have basically what I need to survive, when you’re travelling around so much massive amounts of personal possessions become much less important, unnecessary and just take up so much needed weight allowance, so less in a strange way just becomes more!!!

So anyway the dilemma persisted for Pete who insisted I should have some sort of present/treat but whenever he asked my reply was “I just dont need anything but thanks anyway, save your money”… Well what’s a boy to do???  What a complete “Genius” the guy is, let me explain, we took yet another stroll around Arlington Court where he’d seen the ideal present for a girl who doesn’t want anything… “a Tree” planted especially for her… but not just any tree… but her very own Oak Tree!!!

Hey if you think a tree is a strange present… think on, Pete and I have a strange way of trying to outdo each other on the weirdness of pressies it would seem, I remember on our first wedding anniversary (which is supposed to be a paper gift) much to everyone’s amusement on our very first wedding anniversary I purchased Pete a “Big Issue” magazine off of the homeless guy selling them stood on a street corner downtown… Two birds one stone, as they say…!!!  (For those of you not accustomed to what the “big issue” is, it is a magazine that is sold by people who are for whatever reason find themselves down on their luck or homeless etc selling the magazine helps them earn money instead of having to beg)

I must admit when Pete first disclosed my present I was like “oh… ok… but just what type of tree are we talking??” then it was “Please don’t let them plant a birch tree or one of those dreadful monkey puzzle trees they have there in my name”, “please, please, please let it be an Oak tree!!!” Well let me tell you my hopes were not dashed… I now have my own Oak tree planted on the grounds of Arlington Court and we have a map of where abouts it is planted we now plan to walk to the area, its approx 5 miles from the Country house…

I actually can’t think of a better thing to have been gifted, an Oak Tree planted just for me… look it may not be everyone’s cup of tea but it’s something that resonates with me and my enjoyment of the world in which we live, and no I’ve never actually gone around hugging trees before, but hey, never say never, perhaps we should all be thinking about planting a tree and the world could become an even better place, to me it feels like a useful gift, useful not just to me but to all of us and I have hopes it may undo some of the damage my lifetime has unintentionally caused to the earth, imagine if I had had a tree planted for every year of my life that could have been 45 trees that will hopefully thrive, help the environment, clean the air and most likely outlive us all and continue to do good well after I have gone and hopefully for many more future years to come!!!

I may start collecting trees until I have had 1 planted for every yr I have lived, I think that would be awesome… so if any of you folks wish to donate towards that feel free to message for details or perhaps I should start a “go fund me” page (it’s £15 per tree) what do you all think??? I would need to raise approx £645 for 43 more trees to be planted but what an awesome legacy to leave behind for all of us and our world!!!  Anyone questioning my maths… I still have our Christmas tree that Pete insisted we buy, yep Its been with us now for nearly 7 months and yes I am a sucker for not wanting to just ditch it in the bin as many others do after their celebrations are over, after all I know it’s a tree but it’s still a living thing right???  but yeah, it now seriously needs to get planted in the ground somewhere otherwise it will become too stunted in growth so if I get it’s health checked and I am able to legally plant it somewhere I guess it’s one less tree we need to purchase!!!

 

We met up again with Karen and Graham for lunch at the Weir cafe again and took that walk we had discussed last time and yes I would recommend the cafe, the food and the canal walks to everyone of all abilities…  Graham did have to stop and rest while we took a quick look around the bend further down in the canal, he was having continued difficulties with his leg, the damned thing seems to have a mind of its own!!!  I have a lot of time for Karen and Graham they are both such lovely people… Stay strong Gray, next time we’ll take it turns to give you a piggyback when your leg starts to play up!!! Oh and loving the new car Karen!!! Hope you all enjoyed your holidays, the pictures looked great!!!

 

How are my allergies and hay fever I hear you all ask… Yes, allergies still here scratching away like a dog full of fleas(please note: I do not actually have fleas!!!)… and yep… the hay fever too although not so much the sneezing part of it at this time… but my eyes, boy are my eyes stinging!!! in fact they feel like they may have been sandblasted, they are red rimmed, swollen, sore and watering like no ones business… just so we are clear there’s no chance of me wearing eye makeup this season!!! Which I guess on the plus side allows me to continue being lazy on the make up side of things!!! This just leaves me to report that the grass on the site is still almost immaculate even before the mowing commences (apart from a few patches where Toffi has peeped on it!!!), but despite this it is still mowed pretty much almost daily to within a millimetre of its existence… you couldn’t accuse the warden that mows the grass here of being neglectful or lazy that’s for sure!!! the other staff members have just moved the children’s playground here, to be honest I may wait till it’s quiet and go play on it myself, it does looks great!!!

We had a youngish couple pitch their tent on the camp pitch next to our caravan for the last couple of days, this is not a strange occurrence by all means due to it being a campsite, but I mention this only because I just couldn’t help amusingly entertaining  myself, see these campers had insisted on coming back to the campsite at 2am raging drunk and giggling hilariously (which in itself was quite funny… on the first night) but they also made a fair bit of a racket which woke me up 2 nights on a trot at around 2am… so this morning I thought I would treat them instead… Luckily for me but kind of unluckily for their sore hung over heads we were the only campers in the nearby vicinity and the Internet allows us access to all sorts of lovely loud music, which in turn gave me the opportunity of waking them this time at a pretty reasonable 8.30am to the likes of some Black Sabbath, Muse and a little Def Leppard may have come into play at some point, I just wanted them to know how special and privileged it was to have been camped so near to us and for them to experience just how lovely the early mornings are!!! Oh, if you are those campers and are reading this… Yep you’re very welcome!!!

I had planned a girls only hike this week for just me and Toffi to enjoy, I’d carefully filled a flask of sweet coffee for myself and one of ice cold water for Toffi, prepared a lovely picnic of fruit, sandwiches and a packet of crisps for myself and packed some of Toffi’s favourite doggy treats for her, all carefully wrapped and placed into a backpack for us to enjoy on our wander, I had planned a 6+ mile hike which should have taken us a few hours at a leisurely pace…

However it seemed Toffi had other ideas… yes after just 1 mile into this hike she point blank refused to continue and kept insisting on turning around and returning home!!!  (I think she was afraid my bad sense of direction would get us lost!!!) After 10 minutes of arguing (leash pulling both ways!!!) we headed back down the hill and found ourselves a comfy place to sit and drink coffee/water and watch the world go by instead!!!  I must say I was rather disappointed in Toffi’s behaviour, I was hoping she would help with my exercising regime rather than hinder it,  but not one to hold grudges against a furry friend… she still got to enjoy the doggy treats…!!!

 

Now I love walking around lakes with Toffi however lately she has had a taste for the long grass growing right at the water’s edge… Pete and I were only joking about her possibly falling in while pursuing this habit… when “splash” in she went luckily at a shallow point in the lake that she could jump straight back out of… but then a few days later she did it again this time into the deeper end of the lake… I had to run back and quickly grab her by the collar and haul her out of the lake, you see Toffi just cannot swim she’s so heavy that in deeper water she just starts to sink no matter how much she tries to swim!!! however when she was in the water and until she was safe the look on her poor face was hilarious…

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Once on solid ground looking humbled, grateful to have be saved, after doing fast zoomies and shaking the water from her fur and ears… she returned and started checking out the spot she fell into, possibly and hopefully for all our sakes taking note of where not to stand next time!!!  Apologies to the fisherman who was sat quietly trying to fish not only for the disturbance Toffi’s splashing about had caused in the waters, but also for my continued and constant laughter at the whole situation when recalling the poor dogs face while she was in the water, I pretty much looked like some half baked nut job laughing hilariously out loud to myself on the rest of the walk!!!

We got a little bored and I got a little listless so I entered the local charity shop and picked up a couple of jigsaw puzzles for a couple of pound each… we spent a whole afternoon outside in the bright sunshine and there we stayed well into the colder evening air working on this puzzle we actually felt freezing before we’d finished but we were determined to finish that puzzle before we went back inside here’s proof we actually finished the thing!!!

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Well that’s all the writing I can do for now… so until next time…

take care

Donna x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A month in the life of…

 

Yep it’s been a month again since I last updated you all so here goes… Earlier in the month we took a drive hoping to re-find the area on Exmoor we’d previously walked, we must have taken a wrong turn somewhere and anyway after driving down some typically narrow Devonshire lanes, driving past plenty of farms at the bottom of a valley somewhere we came to some extremely narrow hump bridges the last one of which we were actually very lucky to have even gotten over at all, with Pete asking when we were halfway over whether we were clear on the passenger side?, me looking out the window seeing we were but mere millimeters in clearance… shrugging answered “sure we’ve plenty of room Pete” chuckling nervously and adding “just don’t come over any closer to the wall this side as its virtually touching the side of the car”… how we got over that bridge without obtaining any damage to the car I will never know!!!

But it turned out the somewhat risky drive was worth it we ended up finding a walk called “Weir water walk” it was a circular walk and the walk started off very promisingly it even had a wooden platform for easy wheelchair access, but sadly this access soon disappeared after a just few yards and continued onto unlevel moorland grassland but still a pleasant enough walk for any able bodied person to walk, we strolled on admiring the small lambs on the other side of the wired fence with their mothers calling them to safety upon seeing us with the dog approaching, but then we soon realised there was one small lamb who had managed to get on the wrong side of the fence and who was panicking when he realised he just couldn’t return to his mum without a little help back through the hole in the fence from Pete.

As we’d entered the first enclosure Pete was all for letting Toffi off lead even though I had pointed out the signage telling owners they must keep dogs on leads during this walk due to livestock being here, I had to give Pete a rather stern dirty look and a much more stern talking too, at the point of finding that lamb I was glad I had stopped him from letting the dog off, I dread to think what may have happened to that poor little lamb otherwise!!!

We walked further on where we found somewhere to sit and have a small picnic and a sip of coffee from our flasks… then walked on some more when all 3 of us had a rather big shock as we stumbled across and very nearly stood on a mahoosive Stag who had been sat so still we truly hadn’t even seen him there laid camouflaged within the grasses until he had leapt up right in front of us and run off into the wooded area beside us!!!

We continued the rest of the pleasant walk and on our way back to the car we noticed a tree that had engravings on it… we worked out that sadly the person doing the engraving stopped engraving the tree at the grand age of 84 yrs old…

Easter break we enjoyed some knockout good weather so to escape from the UK tourist crowds we took to rambling across the practically deserted Exmoor – Brendon moor where we walked a couple of hours, we’d walked here previously but not as far as we did this day, the last time we were here we’d wanted to see the view from the ridge on the other side of the valley so off we set… the view went on for miles with sights of Exmoor spread out in front of us, on our way back we met an old farmer who passed us on a trike he stopped and warned us his farm dogs may follow after him and possibly try to join us on out trek if they did not to worry about them they are not lost and they knew their way they would catch up with him later… I chuckled as he drove off he clearly had his favourite or eldest farm dog on the back of his trike, I felt sorry for the poor thing it  was clearly struggling not to fall off after every bump the farmer drove over on his trikes journey…

 

We met up with Pete’s lovely sister Karen and her husband Graham at Bude at a place called “The Weir” cafe, here we sat and chatted caught up with each other and enjoyed a lunch each (the food was good, the chips here were actually amazing and tasted like they were triple fried) the cafe is a popular and great meeting place it overlooks a scenic fishing lake, Graham told us of some really nice flat walks from this place that he had wanted to have a look at, so after lunch we took a look at the walks and they are indeed lovely the one we took carried us along the canal, we aim to meet up and do the walk again this week…

We also met up with Pete’s lovely mum and her husband Malcom, It had been Malcoms 73rd birthday recently so all we caught up and had a tasty lunch at a pub called “The White Hart” situated in a quaint small village called Chilsworthy.

On another day we stumbled around Combe Martin trying to find a walk we had been told about but had managed to fail to find it and lost our way and we headed to the pub for a pint instead!!!

 

On our next outing we actually managed to look up and find the walk we’d failed to find and do a few days earlier, we hiked ourselves up to little and then great Hangman (great hangman is the highest cliff edge in Southern England) the majority of this walk it turned out was a very steeply uphill hike, but this however means you are of course rewarded with the stunning views at the top… if only the weather was clearer that day as the views would have been even better, looking out over the coast that day you couldn’t clearly see where the sea ended and the sky began… we stumbled back absolutely exhausted!!!

 

 

We found ourselves back in Ilfracombe once again… I swear every time we have come here it has been freezing cold, luckily Verity the statue doesn’t seem to mind, while here we also walked up to the small chapel of St Nicholas…

 

 

Once we had warmed ourselves back up a couple of days later from our trip to Ilfracombe we were of back to the National Trusts Arlington Court, this time I wandered around the house chatting to the volunteers who told me all about the history of the Chichester family and the neoclassical style country house that is Arlington Court… the history of the family and house are very interesting and I would seriously encourage you to visit even if just to walk the grounds which we of course did again there are many walks and we intend to go back and do as many of them as possible it is such a stunning area to relax, walk and just generally enjoy the environment and surrounding countryside… (While we were there last time we found the National Trust reception had had a tree fall onto it’s building so reception was temporarily moved to nearby to the cafe, luckily the tree fell overnight so nobody was injured)

 

 

 

 

It was such a stunning sunny and clear day we decided to see what the view was like back up at the top of Great Hangman so we walked or should I say practically climbed and breathlessly dragged myself up that ruddy great big hill but in the opposite direction of our first climb to see if it was an easier walk trust me felt more like climbing a mountain… The walk is miles long and at least three quarters up hill… but we conquered little hangman and great hangman once again, this time we were not disappointed with the views it was such a clear blue sky with just the odd fluffy cloud here and there!!!

 

 

The next day we thought it a good idea to take a trip to Bournemouth sightseeing, it had stayed sunny and we then got to enjoy walking along Bournemouth/Poole beach promenades for miles, when I say miles I mean miles, I’d downloaded an accurate pedometer/health/calorie app to aid with my dieting (yep still counting calories, not sure if I have even lost any weight as I am too scared to weigh myself and I still feel fat!!)

Anyway this app tells me how far I have walked each day and we’d managed to walk 7 miles just along the Promenade but it was such a easy great walk on such a fine day the walk was all flat, there was a lot of water taps along the way so Toffi got to have a drink whenever she needed one, then there are also small parts of the beach that are not shut off to the dogs so every now and then along the way Toffi also got to go and have a dip in the sea… I got to admire the lovely coloured beach huts lining the way along the promenade these stretched almost all the way along it, apparently you can hire one for £40 a day…  We really could have walked further had we have had the time, Bournemouth is such a lovely town, there’s a park that pretty much runs all the way through the heart of it and from what we saw it was tended too very well and Pier, what a lovely town we will be sure to visit again!!!

 

 

My allergies have been giving me absolute grief lately, to be fair they don’t usually flare up too often but it would seem they kicked off back in December when I accidently used Bio soap washing tablets on the clothes washing unwittingly, ever since I have had to take antihistamines regularly to stop my skin from breaking out into either massive blistering hives or suffering from massive bouts of contact dermatitis this is even though I’ve since washed my entire wardrobe several times over using non-bio soap to no effect the sensitivity has stayed, it’s like it sent me into a mega sensitive stage, which I am just about keeping control of with antihistamines, luckily I’ve not needed steroids this time for my allergies as yet, so fingers crossed…

But now the fantastic site that the caravan is now sited on until late October… well it would seem they may have become a little OCD in the last fortnight regarding the grass cutting regime and although I understand standards must be upkept (I actually couldn’t even see a blade of grass out of place and I was told it was just Mondays that the grass got cut in this area), it seems they may have changed that to every blasted day we are here, we were speaking to the older male owner here the other day who was seemingly picking fault with the grass cutting even though I assured him several times “I actually couldn’t even see a blade of grass out of place”, honestly the place is immaculately kept, but still he seems to have pulled the warden and told him to cut it back even more and more, it’s now been cut so short (as instructed by the guy in charge)

The grass is now turning from a lovely healthy shade of green to a unhealthy shade of brown in places where it’s been strimmed to within millimetres of its actual being and I’m now finding my eyes feeling constantly sore and gritty, my nose running constantly and my throat feeling like I’ve been a spare actress on Game of Thrones and had a thousand swords put through it and then to make matters just that little bit worse I’m waking to find my breathing feeling restricted, may I add I have never had Asthma or Hay fever type symptoms in my life until now.  They’ve literally been grass cutting from 9am onwards every frigging day that we have spent here in the last 3 weeks not including the days we have spent away from the site!!! So not only am I getting a rough disturbed nights sleep with hayfever symptoms but now I’m not even getting a lay-in to make up for the disturbed sleep… If it carries on I may have to either have words or perhaps dependant on my mood take that strimmer and place it somewhere it won’t cause any allergies!!!

Well enough for now I’m off to pop an antihistamine… yay party time… or maybe not… as I’ll probably be asleep within 30 mins of taking that, so I’ll catch you all up on our adventures next time!!!… If your lucky I’ll also keep a diary of the grass cutting for you all…

Till next time take care of yourselves, and anyone with Hayfever at this time of year may you always have tissues ready for your noses, drops to sooth your eyes and may your sleep be restful…

Donna x

Somewhere in North Devon

We travelled to our caravan’s next stopover which was to be somewhere in North Devon on the 28th March, It was a lovely sunny day everywhere else but as we approached the site we saw the valley that this next site was sat in, enveloped in a thick layer of cold sea fog, typical… It would seem several coastal towns were suffering this phenomena at the same time with the freezing cold sea fog covering inland…

As mentioned in the last post we arrived here late due to a mirror incident which cost us about an hours travel time, so heads bowed in shame we turned up an hour later than planned at 4.30pm and for the first time ever we had the site owners place and pitch up the caravan here for us… To be fair we had spoken with them prior to our arrival and they had advised us it would be easier to allow them to place and pitch the caravan on arrival, I can sure see why… the pitch is really not the easiest pitch to access with a car and caravan, entry to it consists of a small roadway going steeply downwards into the lower mid terrace with pitches either side off of this, the roadway to be fair is only large enough really for the car to access from this angle… so instead the caravan was expertly reversed in from the level side wing approach…

Although I am glad we had pre-arranged the caravan to be sited by staff when we arrived, it was a totally different experience for us, it felt really, really strange, weird even and incredibly lazy for us to have others pitch our van up, but it was done really well, and to be fair we had google earthed the site and the pitch prior to arrival, and as mentioned we’d discussed access to it over the phone a few days in advance with the site owner, it was clear the mid terraced pitches at this end are slightly awkward to access with a caravan in tow so it was going to be a challenge due to the design and locality of the pitch, plus the entry roadway to it, so to make life easier for all we just agreed they should be the ones to pitch us up, after all they know the site far better than we do and after the journey we had just had I admit it made life so much easier… It was lucky that the neighbours next to us hadn’t yet put their awning up, although I am not sure if that had been pre arranged as both neighbours  turned up the very next day and up went their awnings…

Changing to a caravan has most definitely been a different experience to driving, touring & moving around in a motorhome, and it has been a proper eye opener… although we have met so many caravanners lately over different sites in the UK who have never even actually towed their own caravans on the road before… instead they just seem to just have had them delivered to a seasonal pitch… I guess it’s a no brainer if you intend to only ever holiday in exactly the same place constantly for however long, it’s not the life for me though, I get far too restless and like a change of scenery after a while…

The campsite we are pleased to be able to report is pleasing to the eye, with everything well cared for, the pitches are a really great size, the site overall is clean and tidy in fact I would go so far as to say it is one of the better sites we have visited so far in the South West since returning to the UK… as mentioned all the pitches here are a lovely size, and most other than the mid terraced are really easily accessed and most pitches have a prettily paved part and/or gravel and grass area, even just the grass pitches are huge allowing people not to feel on top of each other, our pitch has a paved area for the caravan to sit upon then it has a lovely level gravelled area for sitting out on or for your awning if you have one, (I am not a fan of awnings mainly because although they may give you extra living space, I find they tend to take up your entire outside space), the pitch also consists of a car parking area, there is a dog field here & a children’s playground also a fishing lake…

Literally the only fault so far here is that the showers water pressure is really, really, really feeble, the shower heads used here literally turn the supply of water into such a fine spray it makes the shower absolutely useless, the feebleness of the shower heads here in turn also make the shower water feel really tepid/cold before it even hits your body (it’s a bit like trying to shower and lather yourself up in a fine cool misty rain, then trying to rinse off the soap suds in said misty rain!!!) it ends up taking almost ten minutes just to wet my thick curly hair and even longer to rinse the shampoo out!!! I’ve envisioned that at this rate my new tight curly hair style may end up turning to a  dandruff’d dreadlocks look because of an inability to properly wet, shampoo, condition & rinse and comb it while holidaying here…

We visited the village of Combe Martin which was known for its silver mining, Iron ore mining, Umber production and lime kiln limestone extraction… if you look carefully all around this village there are slight evidences of the industries remaining… the area used to actually be called Mary’s Combe but the name changed when the manor in the village was given to Martin De Touron by William the conqueror, Combe meaning Steep sided Valley… I was also astounded by just how many ice cream shops one village could have… in fact there are that many I found I lost count!!! We visited the morning after our arrival nearby and the sea mist was still hanging around and it was freezing cold… so I am glad the ice cream shops were shut it was far too cold for ice cream yet… Plus my diet wouldn’t have liked it!!!

Next day although it was absolutely freezing cold the sun was out so we took what again turned out to be an extremely quick trip to Ilfracombe, it was was safe to say it was baltic, after 30 mins of walking into the cold winds we’d had enough of the rough British weather and headed for shelter into a cafe for some grub and a warming mug of tea before hyperthermia had a chance to set in!!!

It was time to get some exercise in we really needed to blow away some of the cobwebs and get our walking shoes on, we had spotted a coastal walking path splitting off from a pathway on our walk into Combe Martin, so off we set to find out where it would possibly take us… turned out it was part of the Tarka trail this took us through Watermouth Valley and down to Watermouth Bay, we walked at a pretty leisurely pace though so it took about 3 and a half hours in all, but once we started walking near the open coastal pathways the temperatures dropped dramatically, the wind picked up around us and in came a few squally showers including small hail storms, Toffi was not a happy pup and we regretted not having hats and gloves with us, it was a proper Winters day in April…

We’d got talking to a chap we’d met fishing and he told us of a great walk at a place called the Hunters Inn pub where you can follow a stream all the way down to a beach so we thought we would give that a go, although poor old Toffi wasn’t too fond of the stoney beach at the end, where we all nearly broke our ankles just trying to cross the beach… Once we made our way back though we did stop for a cheeky pint at the pub as a treat…

We’ve done a couple of walks on Exmoor in between the really cold snaps and poor weather patterns to give Toffi a good old run and stretch our own legs…

We then visited the little village of Porlock, a lovely small village, we walked through the Marshes right up to the stoney sea barrier and again to Toffi’s horror we reached yet another stoney beach!!…

Then it was time to visit the National Trusts Arlington Court and take a good walk around woodland and the grounds and have a picnic here, we fed the pond fish and also checked out the horse carriage museum to see how the other half lived and travelled back in the day…

We also visited Lynton and Lynmouth, funny because we recalled how the last time we’d visited here was approx 5 yrs ago in our really old Talbot campervan where we almost lost our entire braking system going down the steep hill into Lynmouth and we both chuckled as we remembered having to end up limping the Talbot home to Plymouth very, very slowly that evening for safety reasons instead of the wild camping trip we had had planned for that few days…

Then we were off for a trip to Wistlandpound Reservoir, where we took a lovely walk in fact we ended up walking around it twice, although the water’s health here was really suffering badly from blue/green algae as you can see from the pictures, which is a real shame I’m pretty sure it’s not so good for the fish and other animals around and I guess it’s all down to the temperatures and conditions, I’m not even sure if it is treatable or if you just have to wait the algae and its bad effects out?? Will it kill the fish?? Does it effect the wild mammals/birds drinking from it???… As you can see from the pictures the water isn’t looking too healthy looking, lets hope it improves soon!!   

I’ve had to escape from life lately, I’ve needed to get away from anything that causes me any stress, I’ve even put all my social media accounts on hold as I’d felt my well being has just been affected by them, I’d been left feeling slightly unstable and filled with bad feeling towards people, especially after some of the absurd conversations I’ve had and seen over the platforms lately, platforms where users used to be intelligent and research their content and be good with their conversations, but the inaccurate statements read & shared on these lately are just getting worse, I really wasn’t willing to waste hours of my life listening/watching/reading/arguing about some of the utter inaccurate nasty tripe being spread and posted lately along with inaccurate memes/video’s thoughtlessly shared on the platforms, so it’s been a bit of a cooling off period for myself, until the conversations on the platforms start to get a little bit more intelligent once again or I feel the need for this type of entertainment I am taking a break, perhaps it’s good to take a break sometimes, sit back let the idiots get on with it, while I relax, go for long walks amongst nature, enjoy actual life and soak up the sights, sounds and smells that surround us on a daily basis, and perhaps even help stabilize my physical and mental well being…!!!

Well enough of my incessant nagging, I’m sure you have better things to do with your time and days than read my thoughts and words, so have yourselves a fab day!!! If you get chance, get out and about if you can and enjoy the brilliant world around you!!!

Take Care

Donna x

Roll on better weather!!!

It’s been a while and for that I apologise once again, but I seem to be battling my own personal demons in life at present and it seems to be affecting whether there’s any point or if I even want to continue bothering to write this blog or not,  hopefully with a few good walks and some peace and quiet my mental demeanor will improve again soon…  I think it may have had something to do with being back so near to Plymouth for so long and being forced somewhat into overwintering here in the harsh depressing UK weather perhaps a little seasonal affective disorder and just well it’s all getting harder for me mentally for many other differing reasons, I just feel the need to be away from what could be classed as a hometown right now…

 

 

 

We ended up spending just over a month at the last campsite Tregoad in Looe the length of our stop here was not pre-planned or even what we had set out to actually do, but it had happened by accident when Pete was called to London suddenly needing to be there the next day, I panicked at the thought of towing the caravan for 3hrs to our next destination in North Devon on my own and the fact that Looe wasn’t far from family and friends if I had needed them while on my own, I also had use of the swimming pool, spa, lake and dog walks etc so we booked in at Tregoad Park for yet another 15 days to cover until the date Pete would have been due back, it was uncertain but he may have been needing to spend up to 2 weeks in London but it turned out to be just for a few days instead…

Tregoad Park isn’t the prettiest site but it also wasn’t the worst campsite we’d ever stayed on, it was pleasant enough and the staff were really welcoming and lovely, the place was quiet during the weekdays with families and other campers (I’ve humorously nicknamed these guys weekend gypsies…) appearing and making the site a little busier at weekends, there was a swimming pool which helped with my exercise and weight loss regime (yep I am on a diet we will chat about that later!!!) the laundry room at Tregoad has 3 washers and 3 dryers which were brilliant and did the job really well and at a reasonable price, there was also a children’s playground & a great looking clubhouse/bar on site (if that’s your thing, it was closed while we were there but opens in peak seasons), the site has a well stocked shop in reception, plenty of grass next to the summer tent camping area for the kids to run off their energy, along with a dog walking area and also walks to the lakes at the bottom of the valley.

The only real bugbear I had while staying here was the cleanliness mainly within the toilets/showers/washrooms (If I am completely honest the water flow and temperature of the showers were brilliant, lovely and hot) but the shower cubicles were pretty nasty for  you to want to spend any amount of time in, with yucky slimy brown scummy gunk covering the shower floor dividers and stained toilet bowls in the swimming pool facilities!!! I have found many UK campsites to be pretty grubby since being back and this to be honest is totally unacceptable!!!

 

 

 

We were paying the off season price of £16 per night but after chatting with the lady in reception one day she was telling us their peak season prices for the pitch we were on (pitch 35) April onwards would be upwards of £43 per night for just a caravan, ehu, 2 adults and a dog, so children would each be an extra cost taking that price to above £50pn,  we were all pretty gobsmacked at this price, to be fair had I have turned up and found the wash facilities to be that dirty while paying that sort of price trust me I would not have been what you would call a happy camper!!! This campsite is ranked as a 4* Haven holiday site, I must say I am of the opinion that some of these UK campsites really need to up their game if they are intending to charge the price of a hotel room for a campsite pitch up!!!

 

 

 

Well the British weather has been as dismal as ever lately with lots of rain, wind & storms, so getting out and about was a challenge, the dog absolutely hates the rain so there have been lots of duvet days, cuddles and binge watching of TV… p.s if you have a very dark sense of humour Afterlife by Ricky Gervais is a very dark comedy we binged on!!!20190312_102355

We did manage to get out eventually and went to Mount Edgecombe for Toffi’s walkies where we found sheep were grazing amongst a lovely herd of deer near the shelter of some nearby trees…

 

 

 

It was clear Tregoad park was thinking along the lines of placing more statics and it also has loads of cute looking wooden glamping huts here also,  there are two areas within the park which were clearly being made ready for more statics, One of these areas was near the entrance and I was impressed by the amount of work the workman had managed to get done in the time while we were camped there, I would have loved to have seen the finished outcome.  We also watched as 3 statics were skillfully delivered to the camp for transporting further up into the campsite, the campsites roads were pretty narrow, uphill and awkward to maneuver with obstructions either side on the roadways up into the site you have to be aware constantly of lamp posts & guttering and roof parts sticking out from the spa conservatory building, just for towing a caravan or driving a larger motorhome in and out here was a weary thing turning one certain corner, let alone delivering huge statics into here!!! Hats off to the driver though, after trying to negotiate that one bad route and then getting stuck between the said lamp post and building, he then had to reverse back down out of that tight situation with the static on the back of his truck and try another route into the park, I am happy to report he did succeed if he hadn’t have been driving I certainly would have gladly handed him a much deserved cold beer!!!…

We were booked to stay at Tregoad Park until the 29th but instead we thought we would leave on the afternoon of the 28th March instead, we foolishly thought we wouldn’t have any rush to get to our next booked stop… After saying goodbye and giving a last really good feed to the “murder” of crows that had become my friends over the weeks and who had started visiting me daily for food, we set off for our next stop in North Devon, we hit a few snags on our way, when It became clear Pete hadn’t done up one of the car caravan mirrors strongly enough and it went flying off luckily causing no one any harm or damage, mirror retrieved a small pit stop to get repair parts and off we set again now over an hour later in time than we originally intended… Its hard trying to time stops when on the road in the UK, in the EU there’s plenty of places you can just park up and waste a couple of hrs and sometimes they have designated space for vehicles to park up and wait entry, but in the UK it’s much more frowned upon so we try to stick rigidly to approved arrival/departure times but when you have to be out of some camps by 10am and not be in the next until after 2pm with just a 2 hr drive in between things can get awkward but even then, the best laid out travel plans can also go awry easily and throw all your good intentions right out the water and then making you late instead!!!

 

Amusingly I was in for a shock a couple of weeks ago… now I was fully aware my clothes were feeling a little tighter and that I may have put on a few pound in the last few months so while visiting my mother I asked if I could quickly use her weighing scales to weigh myself… mmmm… bad mistake!!! This is where I discovered I now weighed the heaviest I have ever weighed in my entire life, and a good 2 stone heavier than my normal weight, at just 5 foot tall I was now weighing in at 10 stone 7lb (translated this equals 147lbs or 66.6kg) I put this down to not having the good weather to enable us to get out exploring/adventuring in & for us to be getting more exercise, instead we have  been generally just slobbing around inside a small space waiting out the bad UK weather systems instead!!! The situation was made so much worse when I needed to go buy a new swimsuit… let me tell you changing room mirrors are certainly not flattering things!!!

So now I really needed to do something about this extra weight I’m carrying and after I drove Pete to Plymouth coach station for his trip to London I then started myself on the potato diet… aiming to have lasted 7 days I lasted just 2 and half days eating these foul horrid cheap white potatoes that I had purchased and to be fair the potato diet I can confirm does actually work but if you try it be prepared to be sick of the sight of potatoes real quick and my advice don’t scrimp, buy nice good tasty potatoes!!! (also please, please be sensible and do not use the potato diet for any longer than 6/7 days in any month period)

Ok so after the 2 and half days on the potato diet I could already notice a slight difference but I knew I now needed to continue being weary of what I was consuming and I really needed to start eating sensibly so since then I have been very good diet wise and have been using an app called “myplate” to keep track of my consumed calories also keeping track of what exercise I am/am not doing, I am allowing myself only 1200 calories a day but allowing more of course so long as I exercise enough off…

I have given up eating any crisps or snacky junk type foods, I am completely banned from the junk food cupboard but I occasionally have a taste of chocolate and by a taste I mean one or two small squares of a cadbury bar of chocolate, I’ve completely stopped all snacking between meals so at this rate my summer body should be ready by 2024….

Enough of the rantings from me now folks, hopefully I will be in a much better frame of mind next time and I’ll tell you all about the amazing site we are now on and I’ll also update you all about how my diets doing, yep I know the excitement right?

take good care…

Donna x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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