Do you know how far it is from Bude in Cornwall to Austwick on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales - well, I don't know far the former distance is, but the latter is about twice as far!
We are used to travelling into what seems like the back of beyond in NZ, but the trip to and from Bude had a whole different feel. I think that's because we are not used to such long uninhabited distances here in the UK. In NZ, yes - as anyone who has visited there from the UK will tell you, you can drive for miles and not see another car, let alone any houses. And what is marked with a place name on a map often is a crossroads with perhaps one lone house...
Are you getting the picture that it took ages to get to and from Bude? Well, it did. On the way there, the trip was not enhanced by mutual tantrums from driver and passenger. Nor was it enhanced by the GPS directing us down to Exeter, I kid you not, which is on the south coast, for #@*&%# sake, on the A30 (who cares what the damn number is!) and then back up to the northerly side of the ithsmus.
On the way back, because I couldn't see the whole section of the map on the GPS, while I could see the direction of travel (south and south east - GGGRRR!!!) and road signs indicating that Exeter was getting ever closer (AAARRRGGGHHH!!!) as we approached the junction for us to join the M5, my blood pressure was starting to rise yet again.
But wait, David found the function for the very zoomed out screen on the GPS that showed we were heading only slightly southfor just a little while really; and then magically, the GPS started to show a more northerly direction of travel. All was well within the car again**. Breathe, relax. **We had promised not to throw tantrums and we succeeded. Well done, us.
Our time in Bude, well Woodford to be more exact, with Neil and Neill was just lovely. And Enzo is a hoot - a seasoned scavenger with such winning ways he gets away with begging for food.
We (little Neill, David, me and Enzo), while big Neil looked after the bike hire shop) had a long walk from their house across fields, down through the woods, through a village called Duckpool - how lovely is that? Then along a road lined with blackberries which were ripe and juicy, but we only had dog poo bags with us and they are perfumed, so no point in collecting blackberries. Ah well, we just had to eat them and have pudding on the move. As Garfield says "Life is uncertain, eat dessert first."
On we went down to a beach, and a long walk back up a steep hill (avoiding the cliff path of course - for my scaredy-cat sake) and along the road to their village past GCHQ's listening station - easily accessible from the side by the cliff and pathways with only low fences, but by the roadway it was double high fenced with barbed wire and cameras and warning signs about not entering or taking photos or breathing or looking or dawdling or ... Then back across fields to home.
|A lovely house by the ford at Duckpool|
|The stream across the ford|
|But for those of us who didn't want to get our feet wet, there was a pedestrian bridge.|
|See? How's that for a village name?|
|Rocky at mid-tide|
|Rocky access too, but people were certainly making use of the beach.|
The walk was great and we could readily see why Neil and Neill loved the place when they were looking to leave Oxfordshire. Enzo was suitably tired out and even allowed me to put him to bed in his basket in the lounge and not stir for the next few hours! I felt a bit the same myself, to be honest!
More later - since Cornwall, we have had time in Austwick (the clue was in the first couple of sentences of this post) and are now in Scotland with the grandsons - Yay!! This post has been written after almost a full day's work for me - started about 5am, so now it's time for a lie down!