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