Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Have you missed me!?!?

Because I've missed you! I'm glad to be back which makes me feel a but guilty... Shall I start with the shit bits and then we can get on with the good stuff?

1. The hotel owner (and one of my fellow holiday makers) told me that Nigel Farage was 'her kind of man' She also had a really weird wobbly way of being that put me on edge...

2. I was sat with three ostensibly lovely old folk - Ron, Iris and Ethel. We got on swimmingly until Iris got it into her head that I didn't know I was fat and needed reminding at every opportunity, especially when I was knackered after a 2 hour hill walk. She did it with a horrid smiling face and of course I've thought of a tonne of responses now to wipe that sickly smile off her face. She lives in Ilkeston so I may see her again. Can't wait.

3. The weather was atrocious.

4. I got a cold.

5. My cat Lily died while I was away.

6. There's been a lot of stress happening at home and I don't think I made it clear enough how I didn't want to hear about it until I got home.

 Now, onto the good stuff!

So, I went to ILFRACOMBE! In Devon. It's somewhere I went as a child and I only vaguely remembered it but I did remember Combe Martin which is right around the corner and I really wanted to go there. I was going to on the Tuesday (the first full day) but we ended up going to Bideford instead which was... fine. I'd have preferred to spend the only really sunny day we had walking to Combe Martin and enjoying the beach but that's life ain't it!?

Anyway, back to Ilfracombe. We set off about 10.30 and got in at about half four ish which is a good long day but so much time left before bed! The first thing I did was rush down to the beach and had a swim. OH it felt so good! There is nothing like icy cold English sea on a hot day after you've travelled for miles and miles. :)


Then I had a bit of a wander but wanted to get back to the hotel for dinner. The dinners were fine - nothing to write home about. The hotel was fine - the view from my window just about sums it up: 


Clean and tidy but not at all impressive. The bed was comfy though, I had one of the best naps ever on Wednesday afternoon. 

After dinner on the first night I decided to take my knitting by the seashore and sit and watch the sunset. I managed that for about five minutes until I saw somebody else coming down from the hill to the right: 


That one there. 

I try and avoid hills when I'm at home so by the time I got to the top I thought I was going to die. I hung around for a while - found this little statue: 


It was funded by the family of a German girl that fell to her death there not that long ago (like 2002 or something). Put me on edge a bit... 

From the top of the hill I could see a coastal path and I had no idea where it led so naturally, as it was getting dark and I was on my own in a strange place with virtually no phone battery left, I walked it. And I'm so glad that I did because the views were STUNNING! Let me show you: 





It's been a long time since I've seen an impressive sunset. I couldn't believe my luck, especially as I'd just happened upon the path.
At the end of that little jaunt was the harbour and the controversial Verity statue. I didn't like it at all. Nobody had warned me that her skin was pealing off and you could see all of her insides, muscles and the baby. Ugh. 


But I must say it was spectacular from far away!


The harbour wasn't much fun - at that time of night there's not a lot of stuff going on and the boy racers take over, shouting and driving too fast. A bit scary really. I also didn't find a pub that I felt really comfortable in which is always a disappointment. I look for one on the edge of the beach, nice and cheap, relaxed. But there was nothing. I did find this little shop though: 


You can't really see but it's a needlework shop on a back street just up from the harbour and it does look as it a pirate could live there. I'm sure there's a history to it. When I went on Wednesday to have a look inside they were shut for lunch and I didn't manage to get up to that end of town at the right time again. Oh well. 

I went to bed exhausted that day. Why is travelling so tiring!??!

In Bideford the next day I spent more time in the Post Office than any where else but I had a very. important.  parcel to send so it had to be done (hadn't really thought of the effect of Bank Holiday Monday when all the biddies in Bideford need to get their money though...). I had some lovely fish and chips: 


Best batter I've ever had.
In the evening I went for a walk at the top of the cliff towards the left hand side rather than the right. Nothing much so say about it but I was pleased to have found the Tunnels Beaches because I'd been finding street signs around and about but they all seemed to abruptly stop by my hotel - probably because the beach was by my hotel. I just couldn't bring myself to believe how well it was placed.

Here's what the Tunnels Beaches looks like from above: 


It has the most interesting history this place. Essentially it's four or so beaches connected by tunnels drilled into the cliffs surrounding it. It was drilled sometime in the early 1800's I think (Regency period or so which is my favourite historical period at the mo... ). There were separate beaches for men and women. They built 'pools' which are essentially just walls in the sea and every time the tide comes in, they're completely covered and the water refreshes each time. The next day I actually made it down there in the morning and had a lovely swim whilst the sun was peeking out.

I didn't get a good photo of the pool but look at this stunner looking towards the town: 


Stunning isn't it??!

Hang on, I think I've just found a photo of the pool that I went swimming in: 


I think that's it anyway. Such a stunning place to go swimming! I love wild swimming. Really must have a look to see what's going on around Nottingham. 

Then towards the left hand side of that pool there were some rocks and and way they were shaped formed lovely little rock pools. I really wasn't prepared for a rock pool day. I had a floaty dress, flip-flops and a shawl on. So I bought some wetsuit boots from the shop, tied my shawl under my arms behind my back and shoved my hand bag on the long strap towards my back. I must have looked a right sight! I trundled and climbed my way around the rock pools for a good two hours. The sun was out and I was pleased! 




I found a crab - can you seem him!? 

Lovely morning. 

Then I went back to the hotel and got ready for a day around town, hoping to find a wool shop and I did!


The outside reminds me a lot of our little shop - it's a bit nicer but the feel of it is similar I think.


Inside I found BUTTONS!!! Hundreds and thousands of them!!!! I bought two different kinds, one for something I want to make and some for a present that I want to make, maybe one day. There wasn't that much wool, it was mainly King Cole and Patons so I didn't think I'd be buying but then this caught my eye: 


Yes, it's Patons Cotton DK in a colour that I've never seen before. The lady couldn't work out if it was a very old colour or a very new colour but I thought that if it's very old I ought to buy it because I love it and if it's very new then I'll have something worked up in it before it comes into the shop. :) I'm crocheting a shawl in it, one that wraps around and ties at the back so a bit like a shrug kind of. Reminds me of the lady that talks to the bees in Larkrise to Candleford. It's nearly finished but I only bought three balls so I may need to work something else with it at the bottom. I reckon it'll be done tonight at knit club. 

Which brings me on to what else I was knitting. THE holiday knitting. Remember? Well, technically it was started on the Sunday before we went but setup rows don't count do they? I thought I'd get a good few inches done on the bus but somehow it didn't... This is what it looked like about half way through the journey: 


That's not even the first repeat... Oh well. The rest of the holiday didn't go much better to be fair. I never found a place where I felt comfortable to sit. and. knit. Which is a shame because that's more or less all I look for in a holiday - still pining for the lovely little pub at the edge of the beach in Bournemouth.

When I got home I spent two days in bed so a bit more has got done but it's still not half way through yet! I have sewn in 99% of the ends on the front though which must take as much time as the bloody knitting! It'll get done but much slower now I can't bugger everything else off and knit for myself. 

So, back to Ilfracombe... 

I found a CHOCOLATE MUSEUM! I didn't go to the museum I just dawdled around the shop and drooled a bit. I settled on some chocolate with fudge in it for my dad and some sugar free chocolate (which genuinely tasted like the real thing) for my mum. Then I bought myself a gift: Port made with some sort of chocolate liqueur. Oh. My. MMMMMMMMMMMMM. Delish!!! I managed to save some to share with my mum but it was difficult! Lethal too - the best kind of booze!!!!!!!!! 




Gorgeous shop and lovely lovely people. If you know anybody with diabetes I thoroughly recommend the sugar free chocolate. If you like booze as much as me I recommend the chocolate port. MmmMmmMmm. 

At lunch I went to this cute little cafe: 




I had made a decision in the morning to sit outside and sit outside I did. In the rain. I had a crab salad which was one of the items on the eating-list. I wanted fish and chips, crab salad, cream tea, cornish pasty and some fudge. I think that's why the 'lady' from my table thought badly of me - having a list of food that I must eat when I'm in a certain place is probably weird but seriously, all of that stuff is shit in Nottingham ain't it? Anyway...

My final stop on the jaunt into Ilfracombe town was the museum described as 'your granny's attic'. Not my granny... It was a bit weird to be fair. Lots of bits and bobs of nothing but there was tonnes of it! Could have spent hours and still not seen everything. I spent a good hour and a half there and it's really only two rooms so that's quite a feat! There were those horrid drawers of moths, butterflies and beetles: 


And then... hidden away amongst the creepy crawlies... really. old. wedding cake... 


Naturally. 

Some of it was from the 1880's!!!

After dinner I decided to go on the Torrs Walk: 


Somebody had told me about it during the day and when I found out it was National Trust I had to do it. I love the National Trust. It's about three miles and more or less circular, taking you up the side of a big hill (I'd call it a mountain but I'm sure it's not). It zig zags up to the top where there's a little tower and then takes you down the other side of the hill more or less straight through fields. Fabulous views of the coast path and the sea on the way up and countryside over looking the town on the way back down. Gorgeous. I thought it might take two hours or so with lots of stopping and staring and photo taking. However, once I'd got through the foresty bit that gets you onto the the path, and taken this photo: 


(It looks foreign doesn't it? Beautiful!) I noticed a bloke behind me. He stopped when I stopped and started when I started so I though 'oh shit'. I got my phone out and dialled 999 ready and got my crochet hook out, thought about where to get him and where best to walk so I could grab on. Ha. He walked past eventually, said a cheery 'evening' and not much more but after that I felt all het up so I bombed the rest of the walk. Stopping to take photos and not much else. Sad really because the sunset was stunning. 


When I got to the top there were sheep all across the path to the torr. In my stressed out head they were killers and would headbutt me over the edge at the slightest bit of bother so I took some photos of them and headed home. 


There's only one sheep there but I assure you there were more and they were KILLERS!

So I headed home, slowly dawdling through the streets. I found this retirement home: 


Imagine retiring here!!! By the sea!!!

And then I rounded the corner, past a dull looking church and heard the most fabulous singing in my life! Like something out of the Sound of Music. I took this video but I don't think you can hear very well. try anyway because it's like a mermaid's singing. Seriously. 


video

By this time my cold was developing so I went to bed with my delicious port hoping that it would be gone in the morning for me to walk to Combe Martin. 

Of course it wasn't... So I went on the day trip with the old folk instead. We coach tripped through some countryside *yawn*. Seriously, who wants to drive through countryside? I know you're old but you can't enjoy that? Wouldn't you rather go from village to village rather than just windy old roads? Hmm. 

We went to a village called Dunster which was lovely. I had no idea what it was about but as soon as we got there and saw the old Yarn Market I knew I'd been there before and bought sweets in the shape of bow ties that tasted beautiful and waited for ages for my sister. It all came flooding back. :)


That's Dunster's Yarn Market. 

On the way back to the hotel the lovely coach driver, Eric, dropped me off in Combe Martin but the weather was hideous and I was feeling pretty coldy terrible by then. So I got a photo of Combe Martin on the beach and retreated into a nice pub where some people were talking about being from Nottingham which was nice. 


That's the beach at Combe Martin and if you look closely there are some caravans at the top of the cliff on the left hand side - my mum once single-handedly stopped our caravan rolling off the edge and into the abyss there. Good memories. 

When I got back to Ilfracombe after manically searching for the bus stop for the bus that comes once an hour I decided not to spend the evening with my fellow holidaymakers so headed to a pub on the harbour past the beach. The sea was wild! And the tide was really far in. Beautiful. 



Ooooh that's a good one!!!

All in all I was pretty happy to be home. Looking back now it was a nice little holiday - always good to get away but some snotty people can ruin your day with just one little comment. I'm going to remember that from now on.

Learning that Lily had died didn't surprise me, she'd stopped eating about a week ago and has been looking frail for maybe five years. Ha. So many times we've thought 'that's it, it's over, bye lovely Lil' and then she's pulled through. She was happy to the end though, still enjoying chin tickles and shouting at us for not feeding her at five o'clock prompt even though she was only having a sip of water and going back to bed. She got very loud by the end because of how deaf she was. She was at least 20 years old, but I think closer to 22 from my memories of when we got her from my childminder. She's buried in the garden with her brother Quintus who died at about two years old - wonder if she remembers him? Lovely Lil. 


God I don't half rattle on ey? There's not enough time to check this before knit club so I'll post it now and check it later.

Lovely to be back!!!!

Love Eleanor. 





























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