After a week at Christian festival Soul Survivor, Oli and I ventured down to Devon to go on holiday with my parents, my sister and her husband and my adorable niece (who was, at the time, on the cusp of turning three).
To shorten our journey, we stopped off at the National Trust’s Barrington Court. One of the reasons I love being a National Trust member so much, is that when you move around the country on long journeys, there is always somewhere really lovely and free to stop off at. You can get out, stretch your legs and actually see something other than the motorway and do something other than sitting in a car all day long. You can also grab a cream tea which is always a highlight. Barrington Court was huge and rather lovely and mooching around it was the perfect start to the holiday. Until it chucked it down with the wettest, most persistent rain I’d seen since Scotland. I guess the weather is always an unpredictable risk when holidaying in the UK.
Our home for the week was a pretty holiday cottage in Clovelly, just big enough for all seven of us, (actually eight, if you count the baby my sister is expecting) with rolling green hills and a hint of sea as the backdrop.
The holiday mainly consisted of ingesting multiple cream teas and spending a great deal of time in the sea, body boarding. But my word, was it cold! The first day we went in, I only had my bikini on and after catching a few waves, I had to exit the water for fear of catching my death; it was like doing the ice bucket challenge on mass, full immersion style. We travelled to see some family friends one day, for a day at the beach, food and lots of tomfoolery. They kindly leant me a wetsuit and as soon as I entered the water I noticed an immediate difference, I vowed then and there to buy a wetsuit before the end of the holiday.
With the taste of the wetsuit benefits still fresh in my mind, the very next day Oli, my sister’s husband and I went to Tesco’s in search of our very own. After mildly harassing the Tesco’s staff for various sizes from their warehouse, we all left with a £12 wetsuit in tow. Absolute bargain! We spent the rest of the holiday making the very most of our new whale like skins. I have to admit that whilst wearing it I did feel like a dolphin trainer at Seaworld. All of a sudden I caught a glimpse into a life I’d never considered for myself; stinking of fish but best friends with a bottlenose dolphin.
Whilst we were away, my little niece (well, not so little anymore) turned three. So we spent one of the days celebrating her special day. We visited a small little farm in the morning, that sold fresh produce and had a quaint little tea room on site. They also bred rabbits which are my absolute weakness. They had the cutest litter of baby lionhead rabbits hopping about in a run on the grass, I had a little squeeze of a few of them. They were delightful little fluffballs and reminded me of how small my rabbit (Gray C) had been when I first bought her, three years ago now. (She now resembles a long-eared, slightly obese cat). We spent the afternoon of Sophie’s birthday regressing at an Adventure park, where we went on fairground rides, panned for gold, jumped on a bouncey bubble inserted in the ground and played mini golf which I most certainly lost. It was a whole heap of fun.
Another day we popped to Boscastle, where we ate Cornish pasties in the sun which was out in full swing. We worked the pasties off with a fantastic afternoon in the waves; Oli hired a surfboard and had a whale of a time out in the water, standing up with ease. It was very impressive indeed. There is something so liberating and fun about being in the sea, and being rushed up the shore by huge, buffeting waves, the water a ravage monster foaming at the mouth; chasing you out of its lair. I absolutely loved it, my hair all matted with sand, my skin coated in a rough layer of salt. That evening we drove to Port Isaac for dinner and ate at the Old School Hotel, where the staff were extremely accommodating. My meal consisted of scallops to start, a giant (and I mean giant) portion of muscles followed by a slice of delicious banoffee pie. It was quite spectacular.
All in all it was a really wonderful, windy, outdoorsy holiday. I think my very favourite moment though, was the simplicity of sitting by Appledore Harbour eating the most delicious and fresh fish and chips, with a wooden fork, watching the sun go down with the people I love. We all felt healthily tired from an exhilarating jaunt in the sea, it was a beautiful warm evening and it just felt like the epitome of Holiday.
In short it was delightful. Roll on next summer!