Monday, July 13, 2015

English Vacation Journal - Part 8

June 9th, 2015


We caught the small car ferry to Dartmouth....




although this time we didn't hang around as we were heading to Torcross.  We also visited Plymouth.  I didn't take any photos but relied on Gregg's trusty cell phone, and he took some very nice photos, as did our niece when she took this one.


We visited the Hoe where Sir Francis Drake was playing a game of bowls when the Spanish Armada was spotted in July 1588.  As the story goes it is said that Drake insisted on finishing his game before leaving.  I also read that the tide was against him and this was probably the real reason he delayed his departure, but he still had time to finish his game.  My Dad used to tell me this story when we visited the very same spot when I was a little girl, and it was retold to me on subsequent visits all through my growing up years.  There is a great history of Drake at this page.


I am not sure what my nephew and I were talking about below.  I wish I could remember.  I have quite a bossy look on my face.



We stopped in the main shopping area in the city later, but as I know niece and nephew enjoy shopping and I was having a bit of an aching ankle problem, we found a Starbucks and I happily sat there for an hour while they had a fun time looking at the stores. 



A few thoughts about our holiday.  There are so many wildflowers growing out of the old stone walls.  Why don't I remember this from when I lived here?  This is obviously not a new occurrence.  Was I that oblivious when I was young?  I am beginning to think I was.  Now I notice every little thing.  The flowers sprout as if out of nowhere.  Obviously a lovely time of the year for them, they grow in profusion.  

I love to watch the school children running down the hill to the village primary school.  They wear uniforms with bright red jackets. Occasionally you will see one child running like the wind obviously late.  We saw this quite often from our bedroom window when we were getting ready in the mornings. Always made us smile.  

June 11th, 2015

Our niece and nephew did a good deed when they went out last night.  They found a smart phone on the ground and today wanted to turn it into the information center near where they had found it in Paignton.  They had difficulty finding the place and I suggested we should turn it into the police.  



As luck would have it we spotted a police officer walking his beat on the other side of the road.  We found he was a super nice chap, sweet and humorous.  He looked at the smart phone very admiringly and said this is very nice, and in the next breath pulled out his very old, very dated flip phone and said with a wry smile, "This is what we're issued with."  We all laughed as his timing was as perfect as any comedian.  He also made us laugh at the expression on his face when our nephew gave him his address in Germany.  It took a while to write it all down.  The found phone was turned over and he promised he would do his best to get it back to its owner.  Our experience with this very nice policeman was a delightful one.  

As mentioned at the beginning of my post, today we caught the car ferry over to Dartmouth.  



We were heading to Torcross but we stopped at the beach in Strete first.


In Torcross I remembered a lake that was home to a lot of water fowl, including swans.  



Another place I often visited with my parents back in the day and remember many a time seeing swans with their cygnets, and was hoping for more of the same. However, there were a couple of swans but at that time they were not that close.  I saw them in the distance in the middle of the lake.  There were a lot of other water fowl which was very enjoyable.  There was a selection of ducks and ducklings, and coots with their babies.  



It is the first time I have been around coots for any length of time and when a duckling got too close to their own babies, a rather aggressive coot parent chased it away, nipping the poor little thing quite sharply.  Such a flurry of angry versus distressed quacking and flapping of wings! I felt sorry for this hard lesson the duckling had to learn, thanks to that snapping beak of the coot.  



This way and then that way.....



and finally the poor little duckling was very glad to get out the coot's reach, because by that time he changed his direction and started chasing off a swan who had come in closer, yes a swan!  It was quite a spectacle.




The days are melding into each other as in between all these visits we spent a day at The Eden Project in Cornwall.  You can click on this link to see their website.  What an impressive place and we had a lovely sunny day to enjoy it.  I will have a post on The Eden Project another time.  If you can't see my short video below you can access it here.

 

My niece and I are in in the Rainforest Biodome.  It was hot and humid and I noticed they had a 'cool room' where several people were sitting inside enjoying the air-conditioning.


I missed a day, they are going by so fast but hello Dear Friends!


Last night we introduced our niece and nephew to two of the sweetest people we know. I had contacted them beforehand and they invited us over to their home, as they had done when we were with my in-laws last year.  Just like that last time we were treated to a delicious variety of hors d'oevres and they opened up a bottle of champaigne and wine.  

Our nephew and one of our friends have something in common. They are both excellent musicians.  Our nephew is a trumpet player, and our friend plays the saxaphone and piano/keyboard.  He gave us a short concert, just like he did last time.  It was a whole lot of fun to be listening to a live concert right in their home.  

We went over to their favorite pub, just as we did last year where we had a wonderful meal and even joined in the quiz night.  


The naughty man sitting at the table behind us was cheating and looking up the answers on Google on his iPhone.  We all good naturedly chided him for it, but in the end neither of us won.


We went back to our friends' home where we were treated to strawberries and cream, crackers and cheese, and more wine.  When it started to get late we regretfully left.  They have always been the dearest of friends.  I met them several years before I met Gregg.  They reminded me they were also at the cocktail party the night Gregg and I met.  That's another special connection between us all.  I hope it won't be long before we see you again.



I sure wish you lived down the road.  Thank you for yet another very special evening, one that will be a lovely memory for all of us.



5.34 p.m. the next day.  Dates are becoming fuzzy.  My diligent journal writing has slipped a bit.  



Earlier it started to rain heavily but it stopped long enough for us to have a ride on The English Riviera Ferris Wheel in Torquay and the sun came out.  



The wheel gave us great views.  











The last time Gregg and I went on a ferris wheel was at small fair in Bull Run Park, Manassas a few years ago in the middle of winter.  This one took us up much, much higher but strangely enough the height didn't bother me at all.  I'm not usually that good with heights.



We drove into Brixham and had lunch at the Breakwater Seagull Suzie recommended when we spent our evening with her.  The food was delicious and the restaurant was very nice.  Thank you Suzie.



There was a lot of traffic on the way home and it was raining heavily.  It rained when we first got here and now it looks like it will be raining when we leave, but the weather inbetween has been wonderful.

We are coming to the end of our time with our niece and nephew.  I am dreading the thought of having to say goodbye.  It is going to be very hard.  Our time with them has been amazing.  They are a warm, kind and loving couple and spending time with them over these last two weeks has been an absolute joy.


In case you have missed my other vacation posts and would like to catch up, I will be adding a link to each one below.

Part 1 here.

Part 2 here.
Part 3 here.
Part 4 here.
Part 5 here.
Part 6 here.
Part 6 continued here.
Part 7 here.



(To all the hosts of the memes I love to participate in, I will be posting my journal for a while but will be back joining in once these are over with.)