Monday, June 05, 2006

Day out in Devon

Sorry this has taken so long. I won't bother conveying whiney excuses. I'll just post it instead.

Friday was absolutely lovely. Harry had the whole day planned (more or less). Unfortunately, owing to the fucking 4-hour time limit on the only public carpark in Dartmouth, all our plans went to shit.

We drove down to Dartmouth, took the little teeney car ferry across the Dart, just for shits (all the while I'm 'oohing' and 'ahhing' over the charming little harbor town, see exhibit A: nausiatingly charming harbor town)...

(and yes, I took that photo.)

...and parked in the public carpark. The original plan was to spend the morning in Dartmouth, then take a ferry trip up the river to Totnes and have lunch there, then take the ferry back down to Dartmouth, have a few drinks in one of the ancient local establishments (you know the type- the 17th c. tudor, timber, falling-down, slantways buildings with oil lamps and wibbly glass and crooked shutters and you're afraid to go inside because you know that no matter how sunny it is outside, inside it's dim and smoky and musty and all the patrons are septegenarians with blue wool overcoats and eye patches and more scars than teeth. I give you exhibit B, below), and drive home.

But since we couldn't leave the car all day, that plan went to shit.

Now, if you will bear with me a moment, I must tirade a bit.

What the fuck kind of tourist town doesn't have an all day carpark, I ask you!?!? Dartmouth was established as a deep-water harbor for tall ships way back in the day. When you see the harbor its value as a port is immediately apparent for anyone with two eyes and more than that number of neural synapses. The land slopes down deeply to the mouth of the River Dart, plunges beneath the cobalt blue water, and keeps on going. Besides being deep, the harbor is also well-sheltered. The channel to access the harbor is narrow and easily defended. In fact, there is a fort on the cliff by that channel which was one of the, if not the first, forts ever constructed specifically to accommodate cannons and firearms. It's old and crumbley and cool and sits there, still surveying and dominating the cliff, even as it slowly crumbles into the very channel it was built to protect.

But the harbor is quite small, and when steel container ship replaced tall sailing ships as the principle instruments of hauling crap to and fro, the Dartmouth economy collapsed. Cue tourism. Today the town (and indeed, much of Devon) survives on tourism. And we were there on a fucking hoilday weekend! And we would have spent the whole day. But no, we couldn't because there was no place for us to fucking park the fucking car for more than 4 fucking hours. Moreover, after the 4 hours are up, you're not allowed to renew. You have to move your vehicle. What. The. Fuck.

So anyway...

my god. i've just realized that while i was writing that i managed to eat an entire block of fudge. dear me. that's an extra 200 crunches for me tonight. that oughta learn me to stuff my face with smooth, sticky, dark chocolate, rum-soaked joy...

where was i? Darthmouth. Right.

So we parked, and then just wandered around for a bit. We walked along the harbor enjoying the sunshine, and wandered up to the fort. Hairy felt really bad about not being able to take me on a ferry ride to Totnes, so we took a super-short boat ride from the fort back into town. It cost 3 quid and lasted a total of 6 minutes, but it was fun. By that time it was almost 11:30 am, which meant we were way overdue for our first ice cream of the day.

So we stopped and got ice cream at a place Hairy knows where they make their own on site and serve it with a big blob of clotted cream on top. Oh yeah baby. I got a scoop of maple and scoop of strawberry and i listened to my arteries harden while i licked my stick of creamy happiness in the warm sunshine. (That sounds rather rude, doesn't it? Oh well.)

A bit more wandering, and we hopped in the car and drove up to Totness. Lovely drive, that. We drove down a lot of country lanes and passed a lot of places that looked more or less like this: (this is exhibit C: England's Green and Pleasant Land)

There was a market on in Totnes, which is always fun, and we wandered around the shops and stalls for a bit. Then we started looking for a place to have lunch, and in a textbook example of why I hate taking holidays with other people, we spent over an hour looking for a food venue that suited us both, and eventually wound up back at the first place we checked out. Argh. And when I say "suited us both," i'm being polite. What i really mean is, "suited Hairy." I would have been happy with anything. I didn't veto a single restaurant. It took him an hour to find someplace with a sufficiently boring menu for his taste. Ultimately, he got an egg sandwich. Mumph. (I guess it's a good thing he didn't take me up on my original offer to pack sandwiches for lunch. I would have fixed something considerably more interesting than egg-mayonaise on white bread. At the very least I would have put spinach on it. or something.)

So we left Totnes with slightly bad taste in our mouths. Me because of my slight grumpiness at his pickiness, and him because of his choice of cuisine. If you can call it that.

We perked up in short order, though. Hairy asked me where I wanted to go next. I looked at the map and saw that there was a large national park nearby. Hairy said he'd been there before and it was quite pretty. So off went to tootle through crazily narrow country lanes, across moors, around livestock, between hedgerows, and over creeks. It was a beautiful afternoon feeling the breeze on my face, listening to music, and enjoying the company of a cute, fuzzy, stud.

No, not one of those:

One of those:

Yeah, that's the ticket.

We had dinner at a nice Indian place in Westorn-Super-Mare (we get around), and went home (his place), sunburnt, tired, and happy.

The end.


First Nations said...

QUITE cute!
*sigh* you had a great holiday. i am jealous!
specially about the homemade ice cream with the whip cream on top!!!!

No Shit Sherlock said...

You should go to Cornwall. It is a good thing.
I randomly scrolled down and had two flashes:
1)Which part of England did you go to? I don't remember anything this pictureskew.
2) My god, she took them herself? Must be the South.

For an expat, I rock!
Glad you loved it. I miss ice-cream.

Tim Footman said...

He looks a bit like Jerry Garcia. Before he got old. And fat. And dead, of course.

hendrix said...

def CUTE!! (and I love the sunglasses - wouldn't mind a pair like that for me!)

Cornwall is gorgeous! There's loads of good things to see (like the open air theatre thingy which is somewhere near Lizards point or the other Tate at St Ives) and the ice-cream there is brilliant but if you want proper scenery then have a hol in Northumberland. (got to say that being as that's where I'm from!)

Anonymous said...

I JUST LOVE TTNES AND EVERYTHING AROUND IT, I'm lucky becouse my sister inlaw lives there..have you been to the castle? that's amazing- and also the berry farm (B&B) Each time I comne back, it's like coming home...we are living in Austria, but I'm taking as much as possible of GB and Ireland to my place....the onl< bS THING IA...THE PEOPLE HERE WILL NEVER RALK BRITSH-NEITHER IRISH----FUCK