Devon & Cornwall

Devon and Cornwall are such beautiful, wild and wondrous parts of the UK and we have both been so lucky to have lived here abouts for the majority of our lives, this being after our families moved here from the big smoke when we were both youngsters, we are both pretty grateful for the past hard decisions that our families had made back in the day when they decided to call the South West home…

 

 

 

After a refreshing week near Newquay at Higher Lanhainsworth, St Columb Major, we were back at Dolbeare Park, Landrake, where we stayed until Sunday 23rd September.  We have been enjoying being back in such a stunning part of this country and when we could we were going out for visits to places we had forgotten existed and that were nearby and all around us.  It’s true that people tend not to appreciate the area they are from or where they live their everyday lives, there is so much out there surrounding us so we are hoping to get out and about much more locally where ever we are able to enjoy the beauty around us especially while here in the west country.

It looks like we shall be touring the UK for the foreseeable future so we have also decided to join the “The National Trust” for the year this was pretty much decided after we visited the nearby Cotehele House and Mill which is just a few miles from our current location where we enjoyed a day out and a lovely walk on a brisk late summer’s day,  Our decision to join the charity was based on the fact that the car parks themselves cost £3 just to park in each time, we took a stroll with the dog through the woodland, we approached Cotehele Water Mill and found the entry cost to that to be approx £12 per person for non members and that members not only enter these places for free but also park for free, so that afternoon out for us would have cost us £27 just in entry fees and car park fees alone…. there are some lovely places to visit and it is Europe’s largest conservation charity, such a fab thing to support (well for this year anyway not sure if we could afford it every year though), we did kind of gulp when we heard how much membership cost… £114 per year it means this will be our main charity donation for the year but to be fair we will be gaining some great experiences from it, not to mention a lot of motorhomers take up membership just for the car parking access alone… we have made a pact that we make sure we get our money’s worth this year and visit as many National Trust places as we can, with hopefully one place visited at least each week if we can!!!

So our first outing this week was to Cotehele Water Mill as mentioned above, an actual  working & producing Water Mill, the grounds of Cotehele House is a charming place with a few lovely wooded pathways for walkers to choose from, Toffi and ourselves enjoyed a lovely walk through the wooded paths and along the stream to the working Mill, it wasn’t an overly exuberant walk being a fairly level walk, we also saw a sweet fairy door on one of the trees along the way, after a look around we walked back towards the car park and headed into the cafe where we refreshed ourselves with our first cream tea since our return to Cornwall at the cafe, this was slightly disappointing not only due to the price of £12 but due to the actual size of the measly bite sized single scone we were served each and then to make matters worse I was then even more disappointed with the fact that the cream for the cream tea was served in a plastic one use pot, yes plastic it’s still one of my pet hates, but I was stunned and speechless to have the cream tea served to us in this way by a “conservation” charities cafe it seemed awfully Ironic to say the least…

 

 

 

 

Our next outing that week was to the grounds of Anthony house a stunning 18th century Stately house, the Carew family have apparently resided on these grounds since the 15th century, (although I am not so sure this is strictly true as I used to go to school with a lad whose Surname was Carew and he resided on the same council estate as us…) well just for the thrill of it on our outing here we just had to take “afternoon Tea”… there’s a lovely cottage cafe here, (I just loved the way I’ve put “afternoon tea” it sounds so very posh when I read it back to myself using Joanna Lumley’s voice in my head, I imagined myself being one of the “Ladies of the manor” back in the day obviously dressed in suitable attire walking the grand grounds and being served afternoon tea upon my return!!!), anyway the “afternoon tea” consisted of sandwiches with a pot of tea and a huge slice of cake (Pete was very taken and entertained by the sugar cube picker as you can all see!!!) but this lunch then also set us back another £22 and all this before we’d even taken our walk through the wooded pathways…the only thing I will say is that I think it may work out much cheaper for us to start taking our own “afternoon Tea” with us in the form of packed lunches and flasks instead of paying those sort of silly lunch prices on each trip out…

 

 

On this walk the pathways were running parallel to the river Lynher, and upon the wooded walk we found the ruins of a lovely old dovecott… and also got ourselves slightly lost in the wooded area, Toffi even enjoyed a dip in the river and loved the walk too as we didn’t see another person or dog during this entire woodland walk…

 

 

 

We enjoyed a relaxing evening meal with Karen and Graham in their local the “Who’d have thought it” pub which was lovely, and then on the Friday evening that week Karen and I enjoyed an evening in, all cozy inside our new caravan where we enjoyed a curry and catch up, while the “boys” Pete and Graham escaped our company and enjoyed an evening of music together in Plymouth…

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Pete and I also enjoyed an afternoon meal at the “crooked Inn” pub this week where I got to enjoy their lovely lasagne once again, while Pete enjoyed their king prawn Linguine which was basically better quality and also cost so much less even than the lunches we had sampled at the National Trust cafes and the lunches there filled us up completely for the rest of the day… all washed down of course with a cheeky pint each…

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We’d also enjoyed many more local walks with Toffi and for the first time ever we actually walked just down the road from Dolbeare Park and into Landrake village, where there are cottages dating all the way back to 1520, disappointingly though the pub was shut no cheeky pint for us that day…

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One Sunday afternoon we also ventured back to yet another old haunt “The Lyneham Inn” pub for one of their honest and very well priced pub grub the good ole Sunday Carvery, I am now at the point where I may need to start thinking of dieting and shedding a few pounds before anymore eating out, I say this after successfully making and eating a great apple crumble for our dessert/supper for Sunday evening in our new caravan oven… I seem to be bingeing on some foods I haven’t had all year but have craved massively right now and may have to rein that habit in before I put on too much weight!!!

We’d said a sad goodbye to our lovely motorhome… and yes, it was a soul destroying process… but it’s done now and we are on our way to enjoying our next adventure!!!

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So instead we welcomed our new car and caravan, what a difference in experience… neither of us ever having owned a caravan before… so it’s going to be an ongoing learning curve, but I must admit, so far it has been so much more of a comfortable more suited living space for us and thankfully we are thoroughly enjoying the experience, we also have a much larger oven which I am sure will come in handy… although I am already missing the large decent fridge freezer!!!

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We’d stayed at Dolbeare Park campsite in Landrake until Sunday 23rd September where thankfully they graciously tolerated our transition and change in modes of transport, we’d met some very lovely people while we were there and the wardens and staff were fantastic with us and I must say they worked very hard dealing with all the different types of campsite issues.

Soon it was time for us to up sticks and move ourselves along… besides we didn’t want to outstay our welcome at Dolbeare Park, so we decided to wander just a few further miles down the road and into Callington and then onto Compton Park campsite,  here the views are breathtaking and on a clear day you can see over land for miles and miles and miles…

We wandered up the road to a place called Kit Hill country park… from the top of Kit Hill you can see as far off across country as Plymouth and then the opposite view all the way to Bude… so all in all almost both coast to coast area views all from the tip of this hill amazing the land just seems to roll on and on for miles and miles… Kit Hill is a Cornish Tin mining world heritage site where some of the mines were worked right up until the mid nineties.   The land was given over to the public in 1985, this land consisting of 400 acres of land by the Duke of Cornwall, Prince Charles to mark the birth of his son Prince William.

 

 

 

Upon our walks we’ve been gathering the very, very last flush of edible blackberries that we could find to add to fruit crumbles, and it’s the season now where we are once again finding lots of mushrooms… remembering the Cep mushrooms amongst others we were finding this time last year in France, our new friends Zoe and Paul who we’d met at Dolbeare along with their lovely dog Max have also been helping us with the identification of some of the mushrooms we are currently finding and Paul has even shared some of his spoils with us in the form of lovely tasty chanterelles and hedgehog mushrooms…. cooked in butter these tasted devine!!! Here’s a small sample of the mushrooms we have spotted so far this year…

 

 

 

We’d had to go into Plymouth for an appointment early this Tuesday Morning so after we had finished we enjoyed a stroll along Plymouth Hoe stopping at the terrace cafe for a good old bacon sandwich and mug of tea each, we enjoyed seeing the place with fresh eyes and admiring all the lovely memorials and interesting things around us… along the hoe they have pillars with the names and birth dates of famous Plymouthians stretching from past to present had to take a shot of Sir Walter Raleigh’s post…

 

Upon leaving Plymouth after that fantastic walk we headed off to see Graham and again refreshed ourselves with a pint sat outside his local on such a lovely day it just had to be done… before we then headed off for home, we’d not been home 20 mins when we had a lovely surprise visit from an old workmate Gordon C. who taken a ride on his very, very  nice Ducati 785 when he realised we were just down the road so thought he’d pop in and say hello and grab a cuppa with us, what a lovely surprise it was lovely to see him and have a good chat, we certainly do miss our work family!!!

Well enough of my nattering, I’ll update you all on our next adventures when time permits…. until then here’s some more random pictures I have taken this week, take care.

Donna x

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back in good Ole Blighty

Well what a hectic time we’ve had since being back in the UK our feet just haven’t touched the floor, it’s been all systems go with lots of changes to organise & catching up with family and friends, typically for the UK the weather has been very wet and humid!!!

We stayed at Stonehenge Touring Park for 2 nights upon our return to the UK,  we thought it would be a fitting touch just to round it off here seeing as it was the first campsite that we stayed at, at the beginning of our Europe tour, so it seemed only fair to end it there too!!!

 

 

Once back in Plymouth we booked into our next stop Dolbeare Park which is just on the outskirts of Plymouth, well just across the water and in Saltash, Cornwall, the park here is lovely with friendly staff, the campsite is well tended to and is spotlessly clean, I have to mention the showers and washroom also which are spotless and have sensor controlled showers, with the temperature controlled by placing your hand over the sensors and again also to start the showers, how awesome is that??? the washroom also has under floor heating which will be lovely in the lower temperatures!!! The only bad thing at Dolbeare is that Toffi seems to have a major issue walking across so much harsh and sharp gravel, it really hurts her under foot perhaps more due to her having a deformed paw against the sharpness of the gravel the poor dog has been left limping across the stuff endlessly… when it’s time for walkies she’s now often refusing to walk across the stones full stop and is now practically being dragged across the stones to get outside the camp for mentioned walkies & toilet time!!!

As mentioned as soon as we landed back on UK turf we were busy… our search began for a suitable car and caravan, now I naively thought this was going to be great fun!!! boy was I in for a shock!!! leaving Pete to research roughly what type of 4×4 car we needed and what would suit our needs, Pete declared we wanted a Mazda CX5 AWD…  I had seen a white Mazda CX5 and I’d really liked the car in a white colour… but it turned out the white one wasn’t an “All wheel drive” which is what we needed, we then went on to source an AWD version of the CX5, we finally found one a 100 miles from Plymouth at a car sales garage called Carbase.

We drove up the 100 miles to view it, a gun metal grey colour, quite a nice looking car overall with a good towing ratio and with good reviews, the only thing I really hated about this car was the fact it had 2 totally different tyres on the back axle both with a different level of tread on each (one new tyre, one part worn tyre)… now I would usually replace both tyres on any axle back or front when one is needed to be replaced which is just something I was always taught to do ie helps for the cars handling etc and we’ve owned some pretty tasty fast cars in our time… so I pointed out to the showroom salesman the issue I had and asked if he could rectify this as it was literally just the tyres and I didn’t think it a good idea to have different tyres with different levels of tread across the same axles upon such a powerful 4WD car… they were not having any of it so guess we will have to get it new shoes!!!

After purchasing the car, picking it up and then having access to and reading the cars manual, I’m glad to see I was correct to pick this up and Mazda also strongly recommends in their manual that you should actually have all “4” tyres changed at the same time, due to user safety and the overall handling of the car, to ensure the cars ability to react in emergency actions which could be compromised otherwise… but hey what would I know right??…

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There were only a few of these cars for sale in the whole of the country and although my preference would have been for a white coloured one, we also didn’t fancy driving another 1000 miles in the rented Fiat 500 going all that way up and down motorways looking for another car, because although Fiat 500’s are a great fun little town car they are not the greatest to drive on long haul motorway drives and we also had the rental mileage to think about…  so yes… we now have our car…

Pick up completed and all the rest of the extras apparently worth hundreds, running into thousands that the sales team tried desperately to sell us all rejected, I got to drive the car the 100 miles back home, the car is actually very nice, and although I had agreed to follow Pete home… I got bored of following behind and waved as I passed him on the motorway…

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Now our week just seemed to get a little worse with regard to vehicles and dealing with yet more salesmen…  and my abstaining from Nicotine really didn’t seem like such a good idea at times, but I stuck to it anyway even though sometimes I feared I could have screamed with sheer feelings of annoyance and irritability, but, go me… I have managed to abstain now for over a month!!! all with the help of a book called “The easy way” by Allan Carr of which I would certainly advise anyone trying to give up this nasty habit to give this book a read…

We drove from Plymouth to Bristol then to Somerset, then somewhere else to look at more caravans but what an utter disappointment, I can honestly say it was starting to get downright depressing… the caravans we were viewing seemed really dirty and uncared for, I started to think we had really made the wrong decision to sell and swap over, we had driven hundreds of miles when Pete mentioned the towbar place in Plymouth Tamar Towing sold caravans also… so we decided to go check it out… the caravans they had up for sale were clean and were all kept under cover it was clear they only took on caravans that were in good condition too, we found a few here that tweaked our interest so thought we had better get some more info about them from their salesman…

Ok so after chatting with a salesman at Tamartowing we decided on one particular caravan they had on their shopfloor… A Sterling Eccles Sport 554 although we could have purchased it there and then we also enquired about a part exchange with the motorhome to make things easier rather than have to sell it privately… to be honest this process was to put it frankly utterly soul destroying and it certainly wasn’t helped by the salesman who was new to the job and clearly hadn’t a clue about caravans or motorhomes and hadn’t quite got the knack of any of it yet, he then made us wait in the salesroom for a whopping 6 hours… waiting for a valuation from a third party for our motorhome, all while giving me none of the info I had asked for regarding the caravan we were enquiring about… What a palava when we left their showroom that day we still hadn’t received the valuation or information on the caravan!!!

Well enough said about the rest of this process but lets just repeat the words “soul destroying” once again…  to cut a long story short the “Deal” now done we swap over and pick up our new caravan on the 6th September 2018… Also with another faff around thrown in what with changing private number plates etc…

When we got a chance we also threw in a visit to a site we’d visited when we first got the motorhome 2 years ago near Newquay it’s a small site called Higher Lanhainsworth I’m glad to say James the owner reported they had had a great summer this year and had been up until then fairly busy, although when we arrived gratefully we had the site to ourselves for the first few days, we were also pleasantly surprised by the improvements we had found and that the place now sported showers and a washing up facility which it hadn’t had before… we were totally prepared to rough it!!!

 

After a week there, which actually felt more like just a couple of days because it just passed so quickly, it was time for us to magically reappear at Dolbeare campsite we are trying to stay local for at least a matter of weeks still so family and friends may contact us and catch up if they so wish and we can transition to the caravan…

We have had some lovely catch ups with people so far, I also managed to get my haircut and just look at my new attire which the lovely Josie and Liam gifted me, obviously I shall now be strutting my stuff around the campsites and making my way to and from the shower blocks sporting these lovely new PJ’s… we had a meal with family at the Dock in Plymouth for Pete’s 60th birthday, also another lovely meal at The Weary Friar…

 

 

We are trying to plan our next few stays ahead of time, and between us we’d decided to stay for the next few stops for 2-3 weeks at a time while getting used to the caravan etc so we are trying to plan where we shall stay for Christmas, this believe it or not hasn’t been easy, I like to be organised and so I find it stressful when Pete throws in curve balls of other ideas all this after we had already agreed on things, and planned out sites to stay at for the next couple of months… typically he then has ideas about changing all our laid out plans, the problem with this is we really need to pre book somewhere for Christmas season and right now due to that curve ball we now have no idea whether to stay around the SouthWest as we’d planned for the Christmas winter season, or to grab ourselves a seasonal camp job to keep us occupied and settle for the winter or whether to just start touring the country anyway in the next few weeks, the only thing we do know for sure so far, is that we need to be in Yorkshire in February…

Perhaps we will update you all when we ourselves are more sure of our plans…. until then have fun…

Take Care

Donna x